When we adopted our very first indoor cat several years ago, we didn't understand the full extent of what declawing included. Fortunately, we adopted from a no-kill cat-only shelter, which was very well informed. They required us to sign documents stating that we agreed against declawing. Their documentation included information such as, "I agree not to declaw because it is inhumane and will render the animal defenseless if it should get outdoors." Although our cats remain indoors with us and only go outside occasionally with us, we followed the shelter's advice and chose not to declaw.
Fast forward a bit of time, we ended up learning more about declawing. Feeling traumatized after reading about cats being in pain immediately and potentially long-term, we were relieved we hadn't declawed any of our five cats.
Fortunately, many locations are now moving towards making declawing illegal. We live in the US, so we'll focus on this country. Cities such as West Hollywood started the approach many years ago. According to PetMD, many states are now following suit. New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, West Virginia, and Florida have passed, or are currently passing, anti-declaw legislation.
On July 22, 2019, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signed the legislation, stating,
“Declawing is a cruel and painful procedure that can create physical and behavioral problems for helpless animals, and today it stops. By banning this archaic practice, we will ensure that animals are no longer subjected to these inhumane and unnecessary procedures."
I do not have the stomach to discuss declawing in more detail. However, if you are interested, you can read more here: http://citythekitty.org/painful-truth-declawing/ This article is written by a veterinarian, Dr. Jean Hofve, DVM, who has twenty-two years of experience.
I know there are examples where adoptions occur with cats that have already been declawed. I also understand that in some instances, it could be necessary for the well-being of the cats. However, if you are wanting to protect your furniture, please do not consider declawing. There are so many alternatives to declawing cats that will keep everyone happy.
I write this post, with many years of experience stemming from having no idea how to handle furniture getting scratched. We've lost a couple of sofas, an ottoman, countless other fabric and leather pieces of furniture. Honestly, we never really cared. Obviously it wasn't ideal, but it also wasn't the end of the world, or I wouldn't be here typing this. Fortunately, we have learned tips along the way to prevent such instances in the future. These tips are from our personal experiences; please consult your vet as necessary.
Find these tips outlined below:
Just stay calm. Take a deep breath, walk away, whatever you can do to remain relaxed. Try not to focus on what's wrong, only focus on what's preferred.
Sometimes, we will also scoop our cats up and stop them from scratching something not desired and instead place them on one of their actual cat scratchers. If you can't stand something getting destroyed, try this.
Then, when your cat does what it's supposed to do (like use a scratcher), reward the cat heavily with treats, baby talk, toys, etc. Anytime our cats use their scratchers they get a rampage of, "Good job, good baby!"
We have our scratchers placed in high-traffic areas, such as our living room and Meowmy's office, as the cats tend to go wherever we go.
Invest in furniture tape. We have resorted to using furniture tape on our more cherished, high traffic items. We have used it on our living room sofa, bed, and storage benches. This is what we have bought on many occasions, but note it also comes in a roll:
Purchase numerous scratchers/trees. Our best recommendation is to buy a little bit of everything and see what your cats favor. For instance, our cats are presently all about wave scratchers and step-in cat scratchers. Our oldest boy, Felix, is hooked on a tiny cat scratcher that he's had since he was a baby.
Trim their nails! For everyone's happiness, schedule to trim your cats' nails every two-three weeks. By trimming nails more frequently, it'll be a habit/routine. With a routine in place, it's likely your cat(s) will have less anxiety. This is also a bonus, as you will be able to keep their nails a tiny bit longer and not cut their nails too short.
Stick with non-fabric or non-leather furniture as much as possible! However, if you adore something (like an upholstered bed), we advise using furniture tape. For the most part, we've been leaning towards wood storage benches, wood coffee tables, etc. of which our cats have zero interest in scratching.
Use toys with long string etc. so you can protect yourself from getting scratched. Try to also play with your cat at least fifteen-thirty minutes a day, so they aren't bursting with energy. Most likely, your cat will get very into playing and may show its nails. Here's a safe for pawrents toy we especially enjoy!
You can even opt for small mice, but be mindful of how your hands are placed. Watch this video of Nina having a blast with her (current) favorite pink mouse!
Overall, I hope this information helps! Although we can't guarantee your furniture will never be scratched, we hope that this allows you to reconsider declawing. Of course, a few furniture scratches here and there is nothing in comparison to the trauma of declawing.