*Information adapted from Best Friends Animal Society*

Considering declawing your cat? You may think it's necessary in order to protect your furniture or prevent injury to yourself and family members.

But did you know that declawing is painful for cats? It involves amputating each toe at the first joint — similar to cutting off the tips of your fingers. Ouch!

Declawing leaves cats without a primary defense mechanism, and impairs their balance and climbing ability. Many declawed cats also suffer from joint stiffness. This surgery could even lead to behavioral problems, such as avoiding the litter box. Because their paws are sensitive, they may not want to scratch in the litter.

Humane alternatives

• Provide a variety of scratch posts in different shapes and sizes. Rubbing the posts with catnip may further encourage your cat to use them.

• Apply clear, sticky strips to your furniture or spray it with a scent cats don't enjoy, such as citrus. You can find these products at many pet supply stores.

• Keep your cat's nails trimmed.

• Apply soft plastic caps to your cat's claws. You can also find these at pet supply stores.

• If nothing else works, a spray from a water bottle may deter your cat from unwanted scratching.