If you’ve been thinking of getting a Bengal cat, you might be worried about its claws and whether it will scratch you or your furniture. These cats are a mix between an Asian leopard cat and a domestic house cat, so their instinct to scratch and claw things is quite strong, and they have powerful leg muscles.
Can You Get Bengal Cats Declawed?
You shouldn’t declaw your Bengal cat. Declawing is quickly being made illegal in many places as a cruel practice that harms the cat both physically and psychologically. It could be even worse for a Bengal than a domestic cat. You need to find other solutions to prevent your Bengal from destroying things in your home.
Why Shouldn’t I Declaw My Bengal?
Cats use their claws for a lot of things. They use them as part of their grooming routine, and they hunt and play, and climb with them. Bengals, in particular, are athletic and enjoy climbing, and they use their claws a lot for this.
Fortunately, Bengals are very careful about not using their claws when playing with their humans. They are gentle creatures and do not play aggressively; they seem to instinctively know to keep their nails retracted when chasing strings or fingers. Even young kittens seem to understand how to play gently.
Declawing is also an excruciating process for cats, even when given the correct pain medication, and it can continue to be painful and troublesome for years.
According to NewportHarborAnimalHospital, while declawing may occasionally be the choice owners make, it is not generally considered the right option for the cat.
Some people have likened declawing to removing part of a human’s finger, and there is no doubt that many declawed cats are miserable as a result.
They cannot play and climb properly anymore, and it may damage their paws and ability to run.
It’s also worth noting that declawing can lead to significant behavior issues, possibly as a result of frustration and pain. Taking your Bengal’s claws away may make it more inclined to be aggressive and destructive.
Why Do Bengals Claw Things?
You might be wondering why your Bengal insists on scratching furniture. Cats have scent pads on their feet, so when they scratch your furniture, they are often marking it as their own.
They are also sharpening their claws and removing the sheaths from them. As their claws grow, these sheaths need pulling off, and the cats do this by scratching.
FAQCats describes how Bengals are often keen to channel their instincts by scratching and how they are particularly eager to climb because they are descended from a wildcat that lives in trees. Climbing – unsurprisingly – usually involves using claws for grip and traction.
All cats scratch, but Bengals are particularly dependent on their claws and will be miserable if they don’t have them.
What Are The Alternatives?
However, if you’re having problems with your cat wrecking your furnishings or scratching, you may need to think of other solutions – especially if you have expensive furniture!
Fortunately, there are many alternatives that may help you control your cat’s need to scratch the furnishings.
The most obvious way to get your cat to stop scratching your furniture is to provide scratching posts. These are designed to simulate tree bark and encourage cats to scratch at them, and they will also help pull off sheaths and keep the claws sharp and healthy.
Most cats will instinctively claw scratching posts, but if you’re struggling to get your cat to transfer its attention from your furniture to its new post, here are a few suggestions.
First, cover your furniture with something slippery and tough. Your cat will have no interest in scratching something that it can’t get its claws into.
Next, put the post close to the furniture that is being scratched, so the cat’s attention swaps over. This should help to establish the initial idea of scratching it.
Once your kitty is using it, gradually move it away from the furniture and into a separate part of the room. Your cat will move with it and, hopefully, when you remove the covers from your furniture, won’t return to its previous scratching point.
Adding things that smell unpleasant can also help to deter your cat from scratching furniture.
For example, kitties dislike the smell of citrus, so putting a little essential oil on your sofa may help to cover up their previous scent marking and discourage them from marking it again.
Also, make sure that the scratching post is made from the right materials. Not all scratching posts are the same and your cat will know this.
Claw guards are a great alternative to declawing your Bengal. These can be stuck to the claws and prevent them from damaging or snagging in furniture. They are applied to each individual claw and will last for about a month to six weeks.
If your Bengal is easy to handle and patient, you may be able to apply the claw guards yourself. If not, a reputable grooming salon or vet should be able to do this for you.
The claw guards may not prove an efficient long-term solution since they wear off after about a month and can be tricky to apply, but wearing these may discourage your cat from scratching and help it to get out of any bad habits it has got into.
Your cat can’t scratch if its claws are short, so clipping claws is a great alternative to declawing, and if you get used to handling your Bengal, you may be able to do it at home.
However, you should bear in mind that these cats are strong, and if you aren’t confident handling your kitty, it may be difficult to cut their claws safely.
Your vet or groomer might help you learn, or you may be able to coax your Bengal to tolerate it using treats and training. They are highly intelligent felines, so they can often be trained.
Claw clipping will need to be done regularly to be effective, but it’s a good way to prevent scratching without depriving your cat of its claws.
Make sure that you are familiar with the correct clipping method before you do this. You need to recognize where the quick is and not damage it; your kitty will not appreciate having its claws cut if the process is painful.
Get someone to show you a few times before you attempt it yourself, and always use proper clippers designed for use on cats.
As Bengals like to climb, they are more likely to take to vertical scratching posts and enjoy high-up scratching posts. If you can install some shelves and then put scratching posts (screwed down!) up high, they will probably use these readily. This can help keep their claws in good shape and decrease their need to scratch the furniture.
It can be frustrating when Bengal cats scratch and ruin your furniture, but declawing is rarely a good solution.
It is extremely traumatic for your little cat and may have a permanent effect on their behavior. Their natural instincts will be dampened, and they could feel long-term pain as a result of it.
Instead of declawing your cat, look into other alternatives and teach your Bengal not to scratch the furniture.
These felines are very intelligent, and you should be able to teach them that their scratching post is okay to use, but your furniture is not.