No Choice But To Declaw?

by Steven

"If she can not be taught to use her claws on her cat tree and not the couch, I will have no choice."

I have asked multiple times for advice about teaching my Maine Coon not to scratch furniture. There has been no reply.

She is to be spayed in two weeks. If I have heard nothing before then, I will have no choice but to have her claws removed.

It is from you that I heard this is not the best option. If you do not care enough to give a little advice, I must assume that the matter is of no importance.

I am trying to avoid having to declaw our Maine Coon kitten. She sharpens her claws on expensive furniture.

People have said that it is possible to train kittens away from furniture. Every request I have made about this has met with silence.

If no answer is coming soon, I will have no choice but to have her declawed. I would hate to declaw her, but if she can not be taught to use her claws on her cat tree and not the couch, I will have no choice.


Hi Steven,
I can hear your frustration. I see that you replied to a PAWSitive Passages email newsletter and expect an email answer. You might have seen the following note at the end of the newsletter you replied to:

"PS: For folks who reply to these emails, I do love to hear from you! I enjoy your greetings, and hearing about your cats and their quirks. Thank you for these nice messages!

Please Read Before Emailing a Question: For those who ask cat care questions or "Is my cat a Coon?" questions, please know that I may not be able to answer every cat care/behavior question. Look for Q & A's in future PAWSitive Passages. And please check out our Cat Care Questions page; you may find your exact problem has already been discussed there!

Upon visiting the Cat Questions link, you'll see hundreds of cat care questions and answers, along with this quote: "Over time, this section on Maine Coon Cat Nation has grown so much! Almost every conceivable cat question, problem, or subject has been asked.

Now, since we are receiving variations on the same themes almost daily, we are closing the submission form. Please take some time to browse the questions above. I'm sure you will find similar cat questions to your own, and helpful advice."

As you might have noticed, this is a community website happily managed by just one person, not a corporation with staff. After answering hundreds of individual questions personally, I had to realize I've written about almost every Maine Coon subject!

Folks often post questions on our FaceBook page or in the comments section of other pages. This is a great way to get the fast feedback you are looking for.

Simply by browsing the site, you can find most of the advice you are waiting for. Here are some examples:

Cats Scratching Furniture

Here is a quote from the above article:
"First, decide where you'd like your cat to scratch. Provide him with a well-made cat scratching post.

Make sure it's accessible to him, and in a good location. Put it where he likes to "hang out" and preferably where you can see it, too.

Whenever you catch your cat scratching furniture, make sure to distract him immediately. Give him a startle by clapping, or saying "No!" or "Psst!" Don't scare him. Then get up and physically take him to the cat post.

Help him by revealing his claws and showing him how to scratch. He will make the connection. It will take time, persistence, and as with any type of pet behavior training, consistency is key!

When You Can't Be There
If your cat has run of the house when no one is home, consider covering his favorite "cat scratching furniture" with a sheet or blanket. Or try some double-sided tape on his favorite spot. Also, there are sprays and other products designed to deter cats from an area."

Visitor pages:
Cat Declawing - What's Your Opinion?
No Maine Coon For Me
Both of these above pages are good choices for asking and answering questions.

As you can see, I care about the subject so much that I have written everything I can think of about it, and dedicated several pages strictly to the subject! So much so that I cannot think of anything more to add!

Cats scratch, it's natural. Use your connection to your kitten to work with her. Read and research cat behavior training. Contact your family vet, contact your breeder. Every animal has a unique personality. My girl only requires a soft tap on her paw and she settles in purring and happily not scratching. My boy needs regular, firm reminders. As mentioned many throughout the site, clipping the claws is a perfect compromise. Soft Paws work wonders. Please explore your options. You may even find an online cat behavior personal consultation service!

Lastly, I must add, please do not hold me or any other person responsible for whether or not you declaw your beautiful kitten. She is fully your responsibility, and my answer would be no more than common sense. I would merely imagine myself in your shoes, in your house, and give common sense suggestions such as clipping her claws, using soft paws, covering furniture, or keeping a spray bottle handy. Coming up with a training plan is something you can do, easier than I can, since she is your kitten and you know her best.

Steven, I've posted this for you, so you can get the community advice that makes Maine Coon Cat Nation so special. Hopefully our friends here will add their advice and experiences soon.

Comments for No Choice But To Declaw?

Click here to add your own comments

Mar 30, 2018
Kitty claw covers
by: Wendy

They have little plastic tips that you can put over your kitty's claws, NEVER DECLAW YOUR CAT EVER! you are better off taking it to a shelter if you cannot work with your kitty.

Feb 27, 2017
Maine Coon Products!
by: Anonymous

Hi, we sell a wide variety of products made specifically for Maine Coons that might be of interest to your readers.. Please feel free to share this link ( and take a look at our products! Let me know what you think :) Kind Regards, Jon

Jun 28, 2016
vertical or horizontal
by: muddypaw

Some cats like to scratch vertically, some horizontally, some like natty carpet, some like smooth carpet, some like sisal, some like cardboard ... My point is, find a post that is the same or similar fabric/material as the furniture and place it near the furniture to begin with. Redirect the behavior instead to the post instead. Use "enticing" pheromones or catnip on the post to encourage interest.

Amputating toes at the first knuckle creates more anxiety and behavior problems, as well as tendon problems later in lift. Cats release stress by clawing and stretching. Deprived of claws, they use their teeth more frequently. The situation usually goes from bad to worse.

Apr 18, 2016
do not declaw!
by: Elizabeth

I have ALWAYS kept my indoor cats' sharp parts of their claws trimmed. Cats will always claw what ever is handy. As soon as you decide on getting a cat, if he's to stay indoors, get or make a scratching post. It's easy to make. A log cut for a fire place or a 2 ft post wrapped with sisal or hemp rope, attached to a 2 ft square piece of plywood. A finished one for $9.00 is at Walmart or a pet shop. Show it to your cat/kitten as soon as he's in the house and don't move it! Where you spend most of your time is the best place for the scratching post. Or get more than one.
When you get your cat make him used to having its feet played with. When he is used to it. start by clipping one foot's claws. if he accepts that, go for the next. If he is antsy, wait a while for the rest of his feet. If he won't tolerate his feet touched, ask another person to cut while you hold him, purring sweet nothings in his ear. JUST CUT THE SHARP PARTS every other week or so.
Most of my cats, indoor and outdoor, have been/are, lap cats. Imagine getting your thighs full of punctures! They can still climb, jump on things and scratch to stretch their back and limbs, they MUST do that to keep their joints healthy and limber. How will they do that without claws!?

Sep 17, 2015
by: Anonymous

I have two Maine Coons and my male scratches everywhere, including my two month old leather sofa...carpets....bed....but I would never ever put any cat through such a barbaric, cruel operation...obviously you should not have a cat at all...cats scratch, it's their nature, and if you didn't know that before you got your cat then you did not do any research...Like others I suggest you give up your poor cat and go to the toys hop and buy one that will sit on your 'beautiful sofa' without moving....see no trouble, no scratching...problem solved!

Aug 21, 2015
Do we know Mr Steve's decision, please?
by: Anonymous

I'm guessing you review these before posting. I'm wondering if you have heard back from Steve in regards to his decision please. Thank you for what you do here ;) you're awesome to take the time to help people like Steve whom have great questions that may help educate others in the same situation. Have a Blessed day 💛.

Aug 20, 2015
Please, do NOT declaw your cat!!!
by: Suzana

What a horrible attitude, Steven. Would you buy yourself a fish and expect of it to live on a shelf instead of putting it in a fish tank?
Please, if you cannot devote some time and a few bucks to "catproof" your home and furnish it so that it becomes more cat-friendly, then it is even less likely that you would be willing or capable of training your cat and playing with him/her for a few minutes every day.
Please re-home that poor kitty and get yourself a plush toy instead. Your furniture and your cat will be grateful to you, and you, on the other hand, will never have to worry about such troublesome issues any more.

Aug 19, 2015
Rugs is a good idea
by: Anonymous

Hello, our maine coon scratches on door rugs and never on anything else. We have several made of different materials but the thicker the better. Even a small ikea rug makes her happy! They're a bit straw like so maybe that's what attracts her. Also I would be tempted to say that she will grow out of it. In a year our kitten has really calmed down and stopped eating our plants for example! Good luck.

Aug 19, 2015
Another Option
by: BillC

Steven, you do have another option. Give your little girl to someone who will love her and treat her like the special individual she is. That would be much more humane than sentencing her to the miserable life she would have thanks to declawing.

THIS IS FOR CARRIE. Carrie, if you see this, a membership program would be great. Count us in. Andy's ready to sign up. Hope you, Alice & Leo are all doing well.

Bill & Marilyn

Aug 19, 2015
by: Anonymous

Steven, I understand where you are coming from. I adopted an older kitty who liked to scratch my best chair. I put a sheet over it and she stopped scratching it the same day,it didn't have the same attraction for her. I also showed her how to use the scratching post and also put catnip on it. She really liked that,and now she only scratches it. Please take the time to train her. She does not want to destroy your furniture and does not understand your frustration. Best of luck with her,and I hope things work out for you both.

Aug 19, 2015
Poor innocent cat
by: Kim

Poor cat! It has no idea about how miserable a life its about to live through due to its thoughtless and immature owner. Try reading answers to your problem on "Google" when you are mature enough!

Aug 19, 2015
I learned from past declaw mistake
by: Shelly

Years ago, I had my cats declawed without a thought. When my ginger cat turned around age 9-10, he started walking on his "wrists". I then decided to educate myself, and watched how declaws are done on youtube. It was disturbing.
Now, I feel guilty I had ever done that. I adopted a maine coon mix at my local shelter knowing I would never declaw again. I have a leather couch, and I had to put scratching posts right by the area he liked to scratch. I also got cat furniture with several posts and he likes that. Eventually, I ended up covering the leather with a pet type cover, since he would jump up on the back and claws would puncture. I had to except that this could happen with cats, and my next couch will probably be microfiber. Now, I keep his claws short (I take him to a groomer for nail clipping, since he doesn't like me touching his feet). That helps a lot and he will hop on things, instead of crawling with claws.
I look at these tasks as my responsibility for cat ownership and in turn, my maine coon mix Baxter is the most fun, rewarding cat I have ever had.

Aug 19, 2015
To declaw or not to declaw
by: Bonnie

please do not declaw an innocent animal who is just
Using his natural instincts . It's cruel and painful and not
All but some cars never get over it ! Plus if they should acvidently get out doors - they are defenseless . One of my neighbors cats got out and was mauled by a dog - yes he died thru no fault of his own - declawing takes his only defense mechanisms away -
Now having said that - I have had only indoor cats all my life and must cats did adapt to indoor climbing scratching posts or
Houses - but mine never went after leather and when my current kitty tried to destroy our micro fiber couch - we put a slip cover over the tempting material . They do not like cotton or lots of other materials - trust me this 12 yr old cat has even the mostiving of them all - many out grew the need to claw furniture but most you can find a solution - Please reconsider declawing as an option - or read what is actually dine and do unto others as
You would have them do unto you " a mancoon cat us a wonderful gift - please love
Him as he/ she deserves . No - Iam not a single crazy cat lady - one at a time and a
Lifetime office and joy - I wish
You well and all the Love your kitty had to guve💜👼💜

Aug 19, 2015
Declaw is not an option!! never !!
by: Anonymous

Please do not declaw your cat. Either re-home or put soft claw on your cat

Aug 18, 2015
Think twice.
by: Anonymous

An inanimate object that you'll have for a few years versus a living being who will suffer for 16-20 years after a declaw?

Please give me your cat and buy yourself a dog.

Or are you just going to get that disgusting procedure done that stops dogs from barking?

Aug 18, 2015
Please don't declaw
by: Anonymous

My boys have a scratch post, a cardboard scratching box, also plenty of toys and play time at the same time every day. I also keep their nails trimmed. Indoor cats are unable to naturally wear down their claws like an outdoor cat does. I was able to verbally train them in a year to basic things and more advanced things over time. It sounds like your kitten is board tho to be honest. Play time is essential to them as indoor cats. Also, lots of love of course:). If all else fails they have that sticky tape for furniture. I also scratch new posts or cardboard scratcher with my own fingers showing my boys (one Maine Coon whom I got at about 8 years old) what they are for. Please trust me when I say this, both my boys are trained to different sounds not just words. They know the sound of scratching on their own. This was an easy one. Make it a game in sorts to get the scratch post then it will become what it'll want to attract in frustration and as a natural thing.

Aug 18, 2015
Playtime with scratching post
by: Anonymous

The other thing I have found to be really helpful is to get a toy on a stick/string that the kitten enjoys and put it on/next to the scratching post. The kitten should start to get the idea and from there, use lots of positive reinforcement when he/she scratches appropriately and negative when inappropriate.

Aug 18, 2015
Don't declaw!
by: Anonymous

Put scratch posts in front of where she scratches the furniture. Determine if she likes th scratch vertically or horizontally and use the appropriate type. Get several different types of material, cardboard, sisal, carpet, small ones, larger ones. Spray them with catnip to attract her. Keep the claws clipped, have your vet show you how. You can also get covers for her claws. Soft paws I think they're called. They are glued in place.
One further solution is to slipcover the furniture. Sometimes the fabric is irresistible. We had a "boucle"couch that the cats tore apart the arms of, covered with canvas they weren't interested, though the upholsterer made extra side pieces that could be velcroed on, we never needed them.

Aug 18, 2015
You have a choice, soft paws
by: Anonymous

All else fails train your cat with soft paws. You can easily take these with you to the vet. Have the vet trim the claws then hold kitty while you glue.

Declawing is illegal in 28 countries for a reason. Please watch the paw project. Be very aware that declawing increases behavioral issues, litter box issues, and kitties learn to bite without claws. As they get older they arthritis and pain they do not show except in behaviour.

If you truly love your kitty you will not amputate it's little claws. Poor kitty will never be the same.

As for scratching, you can train while it wears soft paws. Not all cats like sistal scratching posts. Try cardboard scratchers.

Aug 18, 2015
What do you value more?
by: Anonymous

Hey Steven, if you feel this way, give up the cat and keep your couch claw free! Just like kids throw up on expensive carpets and scratch or paint cherished furniture... kittens may claw your stuff. Most parents would still rather have the kid. Have some compassion and allow someone to love the kitty who appreciates an animal more than a couch.

Aug 18, 2015
by: Anonymous

If you truly love animals accept that declawingis inhumane and horrific torture. It would be like cutting all of your fingers 1/4 off. If you truly love cats you would never ever consider doing this horrific thing to a loving, trusting feline. Just don't have cats if they are not your priority. Please choose love and tolerance over inflicting horrific cruelty to save your furniture. Revolting. Peace and love to your feline and please NEVER consider declawing Ever. I hope you and your heart find insight and compassion for your animal.

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