Before deciding to declaw your cat, please download and watch “The Paw Project.” $10 is donated for each purchase so that veterinarians around the world can help to reverse as best they can what other veterinarians have done during a declaw by repairing the tendon that was severed during declawing so that cats can regain some of the functions of their paws (http://www.pawprojectmovie.com/). I watched it with my cats by my side. As someone who is so passionate about behavior and studying the raw animal, I CANNOT condone declawing which is an amputation-cutting through bone, tendons, skin and nerves. In a person, it is equivalent to amputating each finger or toe at the last joint. Accommodate the ‘raw’ cat and maintain a beautiful relationship with him/her.
Scratching is natural for a cat-they scratch to use and strengthen particular muscles in their arms as well as use it to mark their territory. If you are experiencing issues with your cats scratching furniture (beds and couches) you can clip the nails, use double sided tape on the area your cat scratched, place a stick-on corner scratcher on the area, and place a scratching post right next to the furniture they like to scratch so they can still imprint their scent with your scent without ruining your furniture. Worst case scenario, you can always use “Soft Paws” which are vinyl nail covers that come in all different colors to prevent your cat from piercing anything while still keeping all of his body parts.
The majority of cats relinquished to shelters are declawed because 1 in 3 cats will develop behavioral problems post-declaw like refusing to use the litter box after due to the pain it causes or not being able to play with toys properly. When you declaw a cat, you remove their second line of defense-first being the paw slap, second the claw, and third, the jaw. Without claws, cats are more likely to bite you when you do something they don’t like. Cats are digitigrade which means that they are naturally inclined to walk on their tippy toes and when you declaw them, their “new” walk is very uncomfortable and unnatural which will make them more susceptible to arthritis. And on top of everything else, declawing is excruciatingly painful for cats. This level of pain is used by the pharmaceutical industry to design new pain medications. There is a reason why declawing is already banned in so many countries. Remember the reason why you brought your cat home-for companionship. Cats are not nearly as domesticated as dogs so maintaining as “natural” of an environment for them will make them a happier cat. I have 5 cats with their claws and we all live happily together.