Dealing with pets after moving in together

My girlfriend and I got a new place together a few months ago. I have some very nice leather furniture, and she has two cats. It’s been less than a month, and they’ve already scratched up an ottoman.

She tried spraying this cat repellant stuff on the furniture, but it doesn’t look like it’s helping at all. She even tried putting these plastic claw covers on them, but they just pull them off within a few days. We’ve also bought them several scratching posts, but they apparently prefer leather.

At this point, we’re out of ideas. Personally, I think we should just have them declawed. The way I see it, these are indoor cats. They NEVER go outside, so I don’t see the problem there. I’ll even pay for the procedure. I’m open to any suggestions, but I’m pretty sick of getting my furniture ruined.

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8 thoughts on “Dealing with pets after moving in together

  1. Matt Sanchelli says:

    [Here’s one way to look at it, and this is more directly a question stated to Rachel rather than Gary, “If it were your furniture would you still be this against declawing your cats; even if it meant having to potentially replace said furniture every few years?”

    Let’s get right down to the two extreme options I can see here Keep in mind these are answers that cater heavily to each side of the ‘Tiff’. One, the cats get declawed (which Gary has even said he’s willing to pay for). Or two, Rachel help buy new furniture; hopefully of the variety that doesn’t get easily damaged from cat claws.

    Hate to say it but the options seem limited at this point.

  2. Solstice says:

    [As a cat lover, I do feel that declawing is inhumane. It involves amputation of the ends of their toes in order to remove the entire claw. In some other countries, declawing is outlawed. Rachel should try to check on or replace the claw caps daily. If that doesn’t minimize scratching, read up on other things that might prevent cats from scratching. Do as much research as possible, since declawing isn’t something you are willing to compromise on. If all else fails, confine them to a bedroom when you’re not home/won’t be around to stop them from scratching the second they start. It isn’t fair for Gary’s furniture to get ruined, but it also wouldn’t be fair to the cats to be declawed.

  3. Dennis Hong says:

    [Okay, I respect that declawing isn’t a very nice thing to do. If any of you have any other alternatives you could suggest, that would be helpful, though.

  4. MargieCharles says:

    [Say you guys get married and have kids. You talk about how to discipline the children. Rachel strongly believes that spanking is the best way to discipline unruly children. Gary believes spanking is tantamount to child abuse. It doesn’t solve the spanking dilemma if Rachel says, “That’s okay. We’ll spank the children, but I’ll be the one to deliver the blows. You won’t have to do anything.”

    The declawing debate isn’t a matter of convenience, it’s a moral dilemma. People are often divided between it, but if someone believes that declawing their cat is a horrible form of animal cruelty, trying to convince them that it’s not inhumane isn’t really the way to go. Sometimes declawing is a simple procedure. But Rachel is right that they would literally have no means to defend themselves if they were to get outside. And they’ve gone their entire life with claws, so it would be pretty shocking to wake up one day and not have them anymore and could even alter their behavior. Many times a proper job is not done when declawing, and the pets live with the pain their entire lives. My ex had a cat with a botched declawing job, and it was SO PICKY about it’s litter. It had to be the softest, tiniest granules of clay, and even then sometimes it would still hurt his paws and so he’d solve the problem by peeing in other parts of the house (do you want to trade your current problem with the smell of cat pee?). Basically, Rachel is not being unreasonable by putting her foot down on the no declawing. I would just forget that as an option altogether.

    Do you guys have a den? Maybe you could make a man cave with the leather furniture that no cat is allowed to step foot in, and Rachel replace the furniture in the living area? (Assuming that is financially possible). My cats love tightly woven fabrics and carpet. I just had to do away with the tightly woven fabric, and getting them a fabric cat scratcher (in addition to their cardboard one) really helped. I know they don’t typically make leather cat scratchers, but maybe if you stapled some leather onto a regular pole-like cat scratcher it would help them get their fill? Then when you see them going near your leather furniture, get the spray bottle out and tell them no.

    Basically, I think this is just something that you two need to realize there isn’t an easy solution to. Since they’re Rachel’s cats I think she should be responsible for fixing any damage that they do, but essentially what you’ll be doing is damage control. And if you two are serious about each other and see a possible union in your future, you might have to think about at want point these cats transition from being JUST Rachel’s cats to the family pets? My boyfriend used to be annoyed by my cats and think of them as just MY cats. We moved in together, and my smile was huge the day that he referred to them as our cats and offered to clean their cat puke off the carpet because he saw them as his responsibility too.

    • Missy says:

      [Thanks for the responses. Margaret Charles, I really appreciate your insight – maybe a “man cave” is the way to go along with checking and replacing their claw caps daily. I really love Gary and am willing to make compromises up to the point of de-clawing them (and, of course, I take responsibility for whatever damage my cats do to the furniture).

  5. resullins says:

    [Wow… this is a toughie. I voted for Gary, because I personally don’t believe de-clawing is any more inhumane than a lot of things done to pets, up to and including spraying nasty chemicals all over where they live to get them to stop scratching.

    However, I can see Margaret Charles’ point in that if it is seen as inhumane, there’s not really a good way around that little dilemma. There needs to be a serious conversation here about how to raise the “fur babies.” In the mean time, Rachel, you’re going to have to acquiesce and put the kitties in “prison” while you’re away until you figure a better solution. It doesn’t sound like you’re giving up much ground here. You’re looking for a solution that has no impact on you or your cats, while the furniture is busy getting torn up.

    You guys need to find the middle ground if de-clawing is really out. I suggest kitty prison while you’re away, and watch them like a HAWK when you’re home… and spray them in the face with water as soon as they start scratching anything. You have to make them associate scratching the furniture with negativity. However, this method only works if you catch them EVERY time, so confining them when you can’t watch them is essential.

    Good luck!

  6. Kitte Lishuss says:

    [I have a lot of cats and what works for me is to provide them with different textures of scratching posts all over the house, but mostly in the room the humans hang out in. Get the kind of cat furniture that are wrapped in rope, some cardboard scratchers, even cover one with padding and leather so it feels like the couch they want to scratch. Then rub them all with dried catnip to make them more attractive to the cats. Combine that with the repellent spray on the things you don’t want them to scratch and to not even let them near the taboo furniture for a while until they are retrained. It can take a few weeks, but once they get it that they have stuff that is OK for them to scratch that won’t make the humans upset, they will use it instead. If you read up about what is actually involved with declawing, you might see it as less of an option if you put it into the perspective of “Is lopping off fingertips something I would to a loved one?”

    • Dennis Hong says:

      [Thanks. We did buy two scratching posts, which we put in the living room, but the problem was that they know that they’re not supposed to scratch the furniture. So, if I’m in another room, and I hear them scratching, and I run over to the living room where they are, they immediately stop and sometimes even run away.

      So, the problem becomes that we can’t tell if they’re scratching something they’re supposed to be scratching or if they’re scratching the furniture. And that makes it impossible for us to reinforce the “good scratching” and get them to stop the “bad scratching.”

      I dunno, maybe we just have to get more stuff to distract them….

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