Category: “Learn”

Introducing Kitty to Your Home

Introducing Kitty to Your Home

Introducing Kitty to Your Home

You are excited to bring home your new furry friend. The carrier is opened, and kitty races for the nearest place to hide, often under a bed where you cannot reach them.

Patience! Some cats adapt quickly to their new home but it is far more common for the cat or kitten to hide initially. As great as your new home is, this is a major adjustment for kitty, who may have had a not-so-good experience in a previous home.

Initially, even if your cat is the only pet in the house, it will help to confine it to a pet-safe, smaller area like a bathroom or laundry room. A bedroom also works well, especially if kitty has a window where he/she can look out. Take a look around the location for areas that might not be a good. Cats are excellent climbers and like heights. At the shelter, a kitten once managed to leap up, dislodge a suspended ceiling tile, and get into the duct work above. If there are no hiding spaces, provide a box (or even your carrier) for kitty to retreat to. Water, food, a litter box should all be nearby.

What can you do to settle kitty and let him/her know she is safe?

– Give your new cat or kitten time to adjust. How much time will vary but two weeks is an average, during which time you will see slow but steady progress. Make sure kitty can reach water, food and the litter box. Probably when it is quiet at night they will venture out.

– Spend short periods of quiet time with your new kitty, talking to them or simply being near, but do not attempt to pull them out of their hiding spot. Kitty must decide when it is safe. Kitty might find classical music calming. Keep direct eye contact to a minimum.

– When you feel kitty has calmed somewhat, try luring them out with treats, a wand toy or piece of string but, as always, let kitty decide if he/she is ready.

– Try to limit loud noises that might scare kitty and wait until kitty is comfortable before introducing him/her to others.

– Feliway is a calming spray that can be obtained from your vet, Amazon, or some stores carry it as well. It is also available as a diffuser. You spray the area, not the cat!

If you are worried, call the shelter where you adopted and speak to a volunteer, especially if you believe kitty is not eating and drinking after the first day.

Before you know it, kitty will be comfortable and truly at home.


Article written by: Grace Robertson
Photography by: Darren Rutherford
– Ninth Life Cat Rescue Volunteers

Rescue cats featured: Lena and Mystic



Canned Food versus Kibble: The Great Debate

Canned Food versus Kibble: The Great Debate

“Won’t canned food make my cat fat?”
“Isn’t dry food higher in protein?”
“My cat drinks plenty of water so why should I give canned food?
“Isn’t kibble the best for keeping my cat’s teeth clean?”

These are just some of the questions that cat owners ask when trying to decide what to feed their beloved feline. These questions come from both novice adopters as well as experienced cat owners. There are many misconceptions about canned food and its importance in a cat’s everyday diet. Let’s look at some of the myths about canned food.

Myth: Canned food will make my cat fat.

Reality: Canned food has high moisture content, around 78% is water. This not only helps keep your cat hydrated but as we all know, water does not contain calories. Therefore canned cat food is lower in calories than kibble. According to the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, dry cat food contains between six and ten percent of water.

Of course, not all canned foods are created equal and those with gravies have more carbohydrates, upping the calorie count.

Myth: Canned food has less protein than kibble.

Reality: Because cats are obligate carnivores, it is important for them to have a high meat-based diet. By looking at the cat food labels, you would think that kibble has a higher protein level than canned food and would be the best source of protein. However, labels are complicated and the actual amount of protein in canned food can be higher. Typically kibble will contain 30-40% carbohydrates and some of their protein is plant-based instead of meat-based. Even the grain-free dry foods use starchy vegetables such as peas and corn which adds carbohydrates but no additional meat-based protein.

According to the Feline Nutrition Awareness Effort, the amount of true protein is assessed by something called a Dry Matter Basis (please see for more information and link to a DMB calculator to determine protein).

Myth: My cat drinks plenty of water so there is no need for canned food

Reality: Cats originated in desert locations and have been designed to adapt to this environment. Therefore cats have a naturally low thirst drive and rely on their food source for the majority of their moisture content. Out in the wild, their prey would provide them with a perfect package of nutrients “… rodents, rabbits, lizards, insects, and birds… consist primarily of water, protein and fat, with less than 10% carbohydrate (starch, sugar and fiber) content… Their ultra-efficient kidneys are able to extract most of their moisture needs from their prey.” ( With kibble providing between only six and ten percent moisture, this is not enough to keep your kitty fully hydrated. Canned food helps keep your cat healthy with higher water content. According to Dr. Lisa A. Pierson, a California veterinarian and creator of, “When cats present with urinary tract problems, the recommendation is to get them on a water-rich diet…Why not practice preventive nutrition by feeding them [moisture-rich] canned food before they end up with urinary tract problems?” ( Good hydration also reducing the possibility of kidney disease and helps with diabetic cats and those with IBD.

Myth: Kibble is the best for keeping my cat’s teeth clean

Reality: Cats’ teeth are designed to tear and shred their prey. Small kibble pieces are often just swallowed and therefore do nothing to help with dental hygiene. Out in the wild, cats of all sizes and subspecies rip and gnaw on the bones and flesh of their prey which keeps their teeth ‘brushed’. Unfortunately a diet of high carbohydrate kibble can interact with a cat’s saliva and create plaque which can cause dental disease. Canned food has much lower carbohydrate levels and does not adhere to the teeth to create the plaque.

Canned versus Kibble

Let’s face the reality of the situation. Kibble is less expensive and easier to feed and store. It is not going to disappear from our cats’ diets. There are advocates for kibble diets, raw diets, and canned food diets. As author of this article, I just want to suggest that canned food has an important role in your cat’s diet and I want to offer you some tools to do your own research into feline nutrition.



Article Written by: Patti Altridge
Photos: Grace Robertson
-Ninth Life Cat Rescue Volunteers

Rescue cats:  Muffy, Amber & Ronny


The Two Kitten Rule

The Two Kitten Rule

The Two Kitten Rule

Visitors to our shelters are immediately drawn to kittens and their antics, and who can blame them! There’s no doubt kittens are adorable—they’re playful, lovable and oh-so-much fun. However, what people sometimes tend to forget is that kittens are also come with quite a bit more ‘work’ than an older cat.

At Ninth Life Cat Rescue, we insist that kittens be adopted in pairs, or to a home with another (not too senior*) cat or dog. We do this not only for the kitten’s benefit but also for yours.

Despite what most people often believe, cats really aren’t solitary creatures. In fact, most cats favour a playmate around to keep them company. Cats who prefer to be a ‘one and only’ usually have had a tough life in some way or other.

Before being placed in our shelter, mama cat and her kittens are fostered in a home environment where they can be socialized and learn to behave. Kittens grow up best with their siblings and mother, and sometimes other cats in their home, but it is an ongoing process that does not suddenly stop when they are weaned from mom. They need more time to learn from their siblings and also appreciate the wonderful bond that can form with humans. Getting two kittens together is much easier than introducing a second cat later on.

The shelter is at first a frightening place and kittens rely on one another even more. Strong sibling bonds form. Newly arrived kittens have never been alone and are terrified without a sibling or young partner. As much as they might like humans, they still need another of their kind.

Leaving a kitten alone while you work is asking for trouble, and the lone kitten will find it. They get bored and look for entertainment, often in the wrong places. Kittens learn from each other and burn off energy playing. They are calmer, happier kittens for having one another. Do not worry, however, your kitten(s) will still want to snuggle and play with you too.

We often hear from our adopters and seeing a photo of two kittens or cats asleep with their paws wrapped around one another is heartwarming. Two kittens are twice the fun.

* When we say ‘not too old’, we mean that your senior pet will not appreciate an energy filled kitten play fighting with them all the time. Before long, the grumpy senior cat will be hissing and batting at the kitten. They need to enjoy their senior years in peace and quiet.

Written by: Shelby Andrews and Grace Robertson
Photo images: Melissa Sue Visentin and Grace Robertson
-Ninth Life Cat Rescue Volunteers

Featured rescue cats: Bonnie, Abby, Sawyer and Maverick



Cats and The Holidays: What You Need to Know

Cats and The Holidays: What You Need to Know

Cats and The Holidays:
What You Need to Know

The holidays are fast approaching – decorations are going up, treats are being baked and gifts are being bought. In all the hustle and bustle, it’s easy to forget that some of this holiday cheer can actually be hazardous to our furry friends.

If you’ve got a kitten or cat at home, or are considering making an adoption this holiday season, don’t fret! We’ve listed everything you need to know about your cat and the holidays.

#1. Your Christmas tree could become a jungle gym

If you’ve had cats before, you’ve probably seen their heads poking out of your Christmas tree at least once. While it might be a very cute and “photo-worthy” moment, remember that it’s all fun and games until your tree tips and knocks over your favourite heirloom.

#2. Beware of tinsel

Tinsel is attractive to cats and, ingested, it can create havoc in their stomach, or they could choke on it. We suggest avoiding tinsel all together when decorating.

Bonus tip: Cats are also known to chew pine needles – so if you’ve got a cat who can turn anything into a snack or toy, a fake tree might be the best way to go.

#3. Research before buying holiday plants

In many homes, holiday plants are a staple item when it comes to decorating. But did you know that many holiday plants – poinsettias, for example—are toxic to cats? Before buying your plants this year, make sure you do your research.

#4. Cats are not a “surprise” gift

While we love to see our cats being adopted, they are not a gift you should surprise your loved ones with. There are a few different reasons for this:

. . . Holidays are a hectic time, people are stressed and there is just so much happening at once. In the overall confusion and with guests coming and going, it is all too easy for your new kitty to streak out the door unnoticed.

. . . Cats take time to settle into a new home. The hustle and bustle of the holidays could cause your new friend to become ill from all the stress. It’s best to adopt when the cat can have some quiet time to adjust

. . . As cute as a cat or kitten may be, every member of the family really should spend some time with it prior to adopting, to ensure the animal is a good fit for your home

If you want to adopt for the holidays, do it early, or preferably, after the holidays when life is calm again.

The holidays are busy. It can be easy to get carried away, but it’s important to remember your cat’s safety, even through all the excitement.

Happy Holidays from the Ninth Life team!

Written by: Grace Robertson and Shelby Andrews
Original photo by Jo Anne Estacion
–Ninth Life Cat Rescue Volunteers
Rescue kitten pictured: Wednesday


Why Adopt From Ninth Life Cat Rescue?

Why Adopt From Ninth Life Cat Rescue?

Why Adopt from Ninth Life Cat Rescue?

First of all, you are giving a cat a home and a new chance at life. As an animal lover, what can be better than that?

Ninth Life Cat Rescue shelters cats of all ages and colours, including, occasionally, purebreds. Mixed parentage kitties come from tough stock and are every bit as beautiful and lovable.

The volunteers at our shelters and those who foster in their homes love these cats and wish they could keep them all. Happiness is seeing a rescue cat and new owner head home together.

Of necessity, the cats are kept in large condos but three daily shifts of volunteers feed, clean cages, and socialize the cats during free play time. They get to know the cats intimately and are accurate and honest in evaluating their personalities, helping you find a perfect match. What information we do have on the cat’s history is posted on a card attached to each condo.

Here’s what you get when you purchase a cat from Ninth Life Cat Rescue:

♥ A cat or kitten who will love you for the rest of its life.

A cat or kitten that has been vet checked and is up to date on all vaccinations. A veterinary record is supplied.

♥ A cat that has been neutered. Young kittens under 6 months are returned for one day for their procedure, at no additional charge.

♥ A cat or kitten who is microchipped. Even an indoor kitty can escape.

♥ Four weeks of free pet insurance. You can extend the service if you wish.

♥ A PetSmart coupon book with lots of savings on pet needs.

Choosing a cat, or having a cat choose you, is personal. We want the right match for both you and the cat. Our shelters are always full and there is no pressure to purchase. Stop by anytime. We hope to see you soon!


Article and Photo by: Grace Robertson
 – Ninth Life Cat Rescue Volunteer

Rescue Cat Pictured: Buttercup


The Invisible Ones: In Praise of Older Cats

The Invisible Ones: In Praise of Older Cats

The Invisible Ones: In Praise of Older Cats

Kitten season arrives in early spring and often continues late into the year if the weather stays nice.This year it seems that we may even have an extended summer and that could mean more and more kittens. It is an exciting time to see all the little fur babies scampering around and entertaining everyone who drops by the adoption centres. Children squeal with delight as the fluffy fur-balls go flying by and parents chuckle at their silly feline antics.

Kittens, Kittens, Kittens

So why do volunteers at the rescue feel sad when kitten season is here? It is because once the kittens arrive, the older cats (i.e. 1 year and up) become invisible. How can sweet 8-year Maestro with the damaged ear due to a mite infestation compete with the frolicking cuteness of a small kitten? What about cute Aunt May, only 2 years old who has been looking for her new home for months now; how can she show off her loving quality when little fur- balls are bouncing around? Who will notice that Blackjack is the sweetest boy despite his rugged appearance? Or that poor Albert and Victoria have as much play and love in them as the little ones?

As volunteers, we smile at the kittens and know they will be adopted soon after arrival. Even the black ones have a good chance when they are tiny and frisky. However, many of us feel that our hearts will always belong with the cats that are older. You can see how grateful they are for attention and the smallest indication of love. They give so much and ask so little. They are content to sit and listen to you telling them about your day. They snuggle in and give comfort when you need a little hug. They become true, life-long friends.

Advantages of an Older Cat

When meeting an older cat, you can tell what their personality is like: a snuggle-bunny, a player, a listener, a talker. Even the shy ones show you what they are going to be like in their permanent home. Finding a personality to match what you are looking for in a feline is so much easier with an older cat. And what can be better than that?

Many things in life improve with age. As adults we are wiser and understand and appreciate more so why should we not apply the same logic to our cat friends? A mature cat offers gratitude and loyalty. They are lovable and loving and should not be invisible.

Remove the Cloak of Invisibility

So the next time you pass by an adoption area, take a look at those gentle soulful eyes that are pleading for another chance. The older cats are deserving of love and make wonderful companions.Consider adopting a mature cat and help remove their cloak of invisibility.

Written by: Patti Jean Altridge
Photo by: Grace Robertson
–Ninth Life Cat Rescue Volunteers
Rescue Cat pictured: Slick


How to Maintain a Healthy Weight for Your Cat

How to Maintain a Healthy Weight for Your Cat

How to Maintain a Healthy Weight for Your Cat

As pet lovers, it’s tough to resist spoiling our cats with that extra treat or two every night before bed. But would you be able to tell if your cat became overweight? And if they did, would you know what to do about it?

An overweight cat can have health issues like arthritis, heart problems and diabetes. A healthy domestic cat should weigh around 10 pounds, although this can vary based on size and frame. While you should always bring your furry friend to the vet for an accurate analysis, there are a few telltale signs you can look for on your own, too. When you look at your cat, they should have an hourglass figure and no saggy belly hanging down. You should also be able to feel their ribs (but not too much).

Here are a few tips to maintain a healthy weight for your cat:

Replace dry food with wet
Wet food has more protein, less carbohydrates, and is an all around healthier option for your cat.

Cut out grazing
Rather than leaving a bowl of food out for your cats to snack on all day, try setting designated meal times.This will help ensure your cat isn’t over eating out of habit or boredom.

Read the bag
Every cat food is different. If you switch your cat’s food, make sure you’re re-reading the serving size, as it has probably changed!

Designate more time for play
Like humans, the more active your cats are, the easier it will be to maintain a slim waistline. It’s important to make sure your furry friends are getting the proper amount of exercise every day.

Adopt a friend
If you don’t have enough time to keep your cat active every day, it might be a good idea to consider adopting a companion cat. Companion cats keep each other happy, healthy and most importantly… active!

Find a new reward
If you reward your cat’s good behavior (and overall cuteness) with treats, it might be time to find a new system. Your cat would be just as happy to earn some extra play or snuggle time—and it would help cut back on calories.

While we all love having some lazy snuggle time with our cats, or watching them light up over a full dish or an extra treat, we must also remember the importance of keeping them healthy and active!

Article Written by: Shelby Andrews
Photo by: Grace Robertson
–Ninth Life Cat Rescue Volunteers
Rescue Cat Pictured: Lavender


Why Your Cat Needs a Companion

Why Your Cat Needs a Companion

Does My Cat Need a Companion (The Answer is Probably YES!)

For most animal lovers, once you’ve adopted your first cat, adopting a second seems almost irresistible! Many potential adopters come into our shelter who desire a second cat, but have hesitations as to whether it’s the right decision.

Usually, their main concern boils down to a simple case of cohabitation anxiety (whether or not the current cat will be able to get along with the new one).

While there are a few cases where your furry friend may be happier alone, it’s very unlikely that this is the case! Here are a few reasons why adopting a companion cat is a great move for your pets:

#1. Companion cats keep each other company

While cats are much more independent than dogs and other pets, they still need socialization! If your household is always on the go—whether it be with work, school or other obligations—a companion cat is a great way to ensure your pets are still getting the attention they need. While you’re away, they can help to keep each other busy (but don’t worry, they’ll still be thrilled when you come home again).

#2. Companion cats keep each other active

Whether you have a young kitten who needs someone to jump around with, or an older cat who could use some encouragement when it comes to keeping active, a companion cat is an excellent solution.

Having a friend to entertain them will ensure your current cat is getting all the exercise they need, and at all times of the day. For example, cats can spend up to 16 hours sleeping each day, but most of these are done during the morning and afternoon. That means when you’re ready to go to bed, your cat is probably gearing up for its most active hours.That’s where a companion comes in!

#3. Companion cats keep each other mentally stimulated

We know what you’re thinking—double the cats means double the trouble, right? Wrong!

Did you know that a lonely cat is much more likely to cause trouble, and without even realizing it? Having another cat to keep it occupied can reduce (almost) any mischievous behaviour you may currently be experiencing in your home.

#4. Companion cats allow each other to BE cats

As much as you might understand and relate to your furry friend, there’s no one that can do it quite as well as another cat. Interaction with its own species will allow your pet to embrace its full feline!

It’s important to note that although companion cats have many benefits, introducing two cats takes time. Multiple cats probably won’t be best friends right away, but with a proper introduction, a companion cat will be the best decision you’ve ever made!

Article written by: Shelby Andrews
Photo by: Melissa Sue Visentin
–Ninth Life Cat Rescue Volunteers
Rescue Cat Pictured: Bonnie


Cat Introductions: How NOT to Make the Fur Fly

Cat Introductions: How NOT to Make the Fur Fly

Miss Kitty seems lonely and you want her to have a furry friend to play with when you aren’t there. You adopt a new cat who seems like a perfect match for Miss Kitty and take him home. Arriving home, you promptly open the carrier and say “Miss Kitty, meet Master Tom” and expect a harmonious reception. Instead of the anticipated friendly curiosity, Master Tom and Miss Kitty turn into a blur of flying fur, slashing nails, and high-pitched screaming (possibly yours’).

So what went wrong?

So many people believe that cats “will work it out” when introducing a new cat to a home. They may “work it out” but rarely is it in the positive way you had hoped. Improper introductions between cats can trigger problematic behaviours such as not using the litter box. Health issues can arise from stress and injuries occur from fighting. Many times Master Tom will be returned to the rescue after a couple of days because he did not get along with the other cat and Miss Kitty has been traumatized unnecessarily. So what can you do?


Cats are territorial and do not appreciate change so introductions need to be slow and extra attention should always be given to the resident cat, i.e. Miss Kitty. You do not want your cat to feel threatened by the new arrival as if he is going to replace her.

STEP 1: When bringing home a new cat have a separate room set up and take the new cat directly there, not stopping along the way to let your resident cat sniff the other. 

STEP 2: Prepare to keep cats separated for at least 2 weeks. Cats have their own timetables and it could be longer or shorter.

STEP 3: Let the cats sniff on either side of the closed door to get used to each other’s scent. Placing their food bowls or treats here will make the experience a positive association.

STEP 4: Exchange scents by taking a favourite blanket or toy from each cat and giving it to the other. Watch their reactions and provide positive responses possibly with treats or soothing words.

STEP 5: When the new cat seems comfortable with his room and you (perhaps after a week or so), allow him to explore the rest of the house accompanied by you while your resident cat explores the new cat’s room. Always follow up with positive reinforcement.

STEP 6: If you have a baby gate or something similar, the next step is to open the door to the new cat’s room and allow them to see each other. Treats or food on either side of the gate will make them associate the introduction as a positive thing. The timing on this varies.

If step 6 goes well after repeated several times:

STEP 7: You can move on to controlled play in the same room. At different ends of a room each cat can engage with a person in play (if there are at least two of you). Watch for any aggressive moves. If play goes well, it can be repeated at a closer distance next time. 

After step 7 is successful, you can try allowing the cats to interact in a room but only while under supervision. Sometimes having the new cat in the carrier is the safest way to carry this out and gradually over time allow the new cat out.

Always supervise interaction between the cats until you feel comfortable that they can be left on their own for a short period and then extend the length of time until they are out enjoying each other’s company for good.

Doing it right means you only have to do it once

A proper introduction means less stress and less behavioural problems in the future. Cats may be happy enough to skip a few steps but always follow their lead and watch their reactions to each other. We want a loving and happy relationship for Miss Kitty and Master Tom.

For expert advice please check out these famous cat behaviourists:

Pamela Johnson-Bennett

Jackson Galaxy


Article written by: Patti Jean Altridge
Photo by: Grace Robertson
–Ninth Life Cat Rescue Volunteers


What Your New Cat Needs

What Your New Cat Needs

You are no doubt anxious to get your new cat home, but it will be easier if you have the necessities in place before hand, litter box and food/water bowls. Staff in pet stores are knowledgeable and will be happy to help you choose what you need.

Cat Carrier
Lightweight and sturdy plastic carriers are available in different sizes and are a ‘must have’. You will need your carrier to transport your new kitty home and, later on, for veterinary checks. If you also choose a collar for your cat, make sure it is a break-away version.

A Litter Box, Litter and a Scoop
This does not have to be fancy but select a box that is roomy enough for the size of your cat. A litter box with a removable top will help contain the litter. Consider where you will locate the litter box because the cat may or may not like you moving it later. Sometimes litter sticks to kitty’s feet so consider putting a mat underneath the litter box. Options are clay litter (good for kittens) and clumping litter which, as the name suggests, clumps the urine and feces, making it easier to remove. Plan on using the slotted scoop to clean the lumps at once a day and monthly do a more thorough cleaning.

Cat Food
Ask the volunteer what your cat was being fed and initially stick to that brand to ease the transition to your home. If you want to try a different brand, do it gradually. Cats can be fed both wet cat food and dry kibble. Treats are always a hit but they are high calorie so should be used sparingly. Leaving cat kibble out all day also leads to cats eating too much.

Food & Water Bowls
The water bowl should be on the heavy side so the cat does not tip it over. Food bowls with rims (stainless steel or ceramic) are better as the cat will otherwise lick the food over the side of a plate. If you have a kitten, however, don’t get too tall a bowl. Avoid plastic as it will be harder to clean and retains smells. Put something like an easily cleaned vinyl placemat under the food and water. Change the water daily and keep the bowls clean.

A Cat Bed and/or Cat Tree, Scratching Post
Cats love to climb and enjoy being higher up so a cat tree is usually much appreciated, although optional. Many cat towers have a scratching post included or consider buying one separately. The corrugated cardboard ones are smaller in size and cats like them. Cats need somewhere to scratch. There are many cat beds or you could use a blanket of some sort or even make your own cat bed.

Even grocery stores have toys for cats and there are lots of do-it-yourself options too. A paper bag or cardboard box is always a hit. Be careful with items like string/wool that the cat does not eat it. Adult cats love catnip.

Grooming Tools
There are many types of combs and brushes for cats, taking into account the length of the coat. Ask as store representative to help you choose if you are unsure. Daily brushing promotes a healthy coat and keeps your cat from ingesting too much hair when they clean themselves. Most cats love being brushed and it is a nice way to bond. Also get a pair of nail clippers. If you are unsure of how to clip your cat’s nails or if the cat is initially resistant, your vet can do it for you.

Choose a Veterinarian
Your cat will be up to date with inoculations and have been vet checked but it is wise to early on form an association with a local veterinarian. Plan on yearly checkups.

Licensing & Microchip Updating
Some municipalities require you to annually license your pet. Your cat will be microchipped but you must update the information (usually done online). If you move or change your phone or email, don’t forget to update your microchip information too.


Article Written by: Grace Robertson
Photo: Grace Robertson
–Ninth Life Cat Rescue Volunteer
Rescue Cat Pictured: Chops


Here’s Why You Should NEVER Declaw Your Cats!

Here’s Why You Should NEVER Declaw Your Cats!

While it’s becoming increasingly uncommon, one question we’re often asked by pet owners and potential adopters is “should I declaw my cat?”

The short answer is NO – you should never declaw a cat or kitten!

The surgery is extremely invasive, painful, and has many long-term repercussions for both you and your pet.

Here are just a few of the many reasons why you should never declaw your furry friend.

#1. It’s an extremely painful surgery

While you may think declawing a cat is like trimming your nails, the surgery is equivalent to a human having their fingers removed up to the first knuckle.

#2. Claws are a cat’s main defence mechanism

If your cat ever finds itself in trouble with another human or animal, claws are their first line of defence. Without them, your cat will feel clumsy and helpless, and may not be able to take care of itself should a problem arise when you aren’t there to protect them.

#3. Declawing cats can change their behaviour for the worse

When a cat’s claws are taken away, it’s common for them to become nastier, and more aggressive as a way to compensate.

Often, cats who come to the shelter without their claws tend to bite or hiss more, and are much less social than those with their claws.

#4. Clawing is an important behaviour for cats

Not only are claws important for cats in terms of defence, but clawing is also a huge part of their daily lives! Cats and kittens claw to exercise, maintain their nails, and stretch their muscles. It can also be a main form of comfort for cats in stressful situations.

Claws are an integral part of a cat or kitten’s lifestyle. Taking them away is not only painful and intrusive, but it could have long-term effects to your pet’s behaviour.

What can you do instead?

#1. Provide scratching posts

Cats need to be able to stretch and scratch on a rough, stable surface. Choose a scratching post or surface that is 3 feet or higher and made of rough material. Make sure the post has a stable base so it doesn’t fall onto your cat while it’s being used. Soft carpeting won’t necessarily fulfill a cat’s need to scratch. Sprinkle catnip on the scratching post periodically to encourage them to use it.

#2. Keep their nails trimmed

Build trust with your cat so they allow you to trim their nails regularly. When your cat is relaxed, use nail trimmers to trim the hooked part of their nail. Gently press the pad of their paw until the claws extend and you can see them clearly. Be careful to only cut the tip of the nail while avoiding the ‘quick’, which is the part that can bleed if trimmed too short.

Looking for more information about declawing your cat and strategies to manage this behaviour? Learn more on

Are you interested in adopting a cat or kitten? If so, see our adoptable animals here!


Written by: Shelby Andrews & Danielle Kramer, Ninth Life Cat Rescue Volunteers


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