Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Why Cats Have Claws and How to Live with Them

Why Cats Have Claws...

  • Claws help provide balance and agility when a cat jumps and walks.
  • Claws help cats grip and enjoy stretches that tone their backs and shoulders.
  • Without claws, a cat can feel defenseless and can be more prone to biting.
  • Cats scratch to release happiness or frustration…which is why your cat may joyfully scratch the scratching post when you come home!
  • Declawing is a painful procedure that removes part of a cat’s toes, cutting bones and nerves.
  • Declawing frequently causes an aversion to kitty litter…which can lead to inappropriate soiling.
  • Animal Friends and the ASPCA discourage declawing, and it is illegal in many countries where declawing is considered inhumane.

...and How to Live with Them

  • First, give your cat a pleasurable and approved surface to scratch.
  • Cardboard, carpet, rope or fabric scratchers are available. You can find a scratching surface that your cat will like more than your sofa!
  • Trimming a cat’s claws every few weeks can curb damage from scratching. Make trimming a pleasurable activity for your cat by using treats as a reward.
  • Professional groomers will also trim your cat’s claws.


  1. I have 2 cats indoor cats who have their claws. I agree with declawing being inhumane. We have multiple scratching post which have done the trick over the last 2 years by keeping them from scratching furniture. But over the last 6 months or so they have begun scratching the carpet. We currently rent and do not want the cats destroying the carpet. I find this odd since it just started and since in the past I've purchased a carpet door hanging scratcher that they never use. They have always prefered the free standing rope and sea grass scratchers. Any advice to crub them from scratching the indoor carpet?

  2. Hi Elizabeth!

    Sorry to hear your kitties have decided to take their scratching to your carpets. We've passed your question along to our cat behavior specialist and should have an answer for you soon.

    -Animal Friends

  3. Hi Elizabeth,

    We've heard back from our Cat behavior specialist and her answer was too good not to share with everyone. We've posted it here:

    Please take a look. We hope this info helps!