If you are considering declawing a kitten, please discuss other management options with your veterinarian before making your decision. Declawing may solve one problem, such as the destruction of furniture, but it may produce other concerns that were not present before, including aggressive behaviors and house soiling.
Declawing is no longer recommended for kittens or cats, and many states and cities are banning the procedure. Declawing is a surgical procedure that removes the first knuckle of the cat’s paw. It would be like removing the tip of your own finger past the nail to the first joint. It is extremely painful, but equally important, cats walk on the tips of their toes. Declawing forces them to change their gait, which can change the way the cat walks and may cause life-long back pain.
When your kitten is very young, begin training it to accept nail trims, which can initially be accomplished with human nail clippers until your kitty grows bigger. Use lots of treats and gentle handling to develop a routine that you can use throughout the cat’s life. Here’s a Guide to Cat Nail Clipping.
Successful cat owners provide plenty of places for cats to scratch. It is a natural behavior that must be acknowledged, but you can train your pet to scratch only on approved surfaces. There are many types of scratching posts and pads, made of a variety of materials. One cat may prefer cardboard, which another may prefer a carpet-covered surface or post. Experiment to see what your kitten enjoys and station several of these around your home. It may be helpful at first to place one in front of any place your cat goes to scratch (such as the corner of a sofa).
Cat’s claws also can be covered with “Soft Paws,” which are plastic coverings that can be glued onto a cat’s nails to prevent your pet from causing damage when scratching.
For more about declawing, read Declawing Cats: Far Worse Than a Manicure.