HOW TO STOP YOUR CAT FROM SCRATCHING FURNITURE?
It is a well-known fact that all cats love to scratch, but stopping them from scratching your treasured possessions is not always easy. Cats actually have scent glands in their paws, and by scratching they are able to mark their territory by leaving their scent behind. They also scratch regularly to exercise their bodies and keep their claws in good condition. As scratching is such a natural instinct, the only way to stop your cat from damaging your belongings is to try and channel his/her energy into something more suitable.
Take your Cat’s Attention
One of the best ways to take your cat’s attention away from your furnishings is to provide it with a scratching post. Scratching posts provide your cat with a variety of alternative scratching material, such as bark, sisal rope, cardboard, and corded carpet, which should help to satisfy your pet’s constant urge to scratch. Scratching posts come in a variety of different sizes too, and some of them even include a number of additional features, like ledges, tunnels, sleeping areas, and toys. A good scratching post should be strong and robust and allow your cat to fully stretch its body.
Results From your Scratching Post
To get the best results from your scratching post, you will need to position the post where your cat goes to scratch – you may even find that you will need to purchase more than one post to cover the main problem areas. You must then make sure that your post is well secured to ensure that your cat feels comfortable when using it. The next thing to do is to try and encourage your cat to use the post by playing with him/her next to it. You can also try to steer your pet towards the post by offering some tasty treats, or you could even try rubbing some catnip into the post. It may also be a good idea to place a scratching post next to your cat’s bed, as cats often enjoy a good scratch as soon as they wake up. Try and ensure that all your cat’s experiences with the post are positive ones, and whenever he/she does use the post you should always offer some type of reward.
It is obviously easier to train your cat to use a scratching post when it is still a kitten, rather than waiting until it has grown up and adopted some rather bad habits. Kittens will learn faster too and are likely to be far more receptive to games and new experiences than older cats. Despite their age and vitality, however, kittens will still refuse to do anything they don’t want to do.
If the scratching post fails to prevent your cat from scratching in undesirable places, there are a number of other things you can try. You could try placing double-sided tape or aluminum foil over the offending areas, as these surfaces don’t make good scratching material. It may even be a good idea to purchase some pet odor remover to remove your pet’s scent from their favorite areas. Cats are not keen on citrus scented preparations either, and spraying around the offending areas with a lemon scented spray may also act as a deterrent. You could also resort to trimming the sharp tips of your cat’s claws, or covering them with a special product called “Soft Paws.” These claw covers have rounded edges and are the perfect way to protect people and furnishings from scratches. They are non-toxic and easy to apply and are apparently so comfortable that cats don’t even know they’re wearing them. The covers are brightly colored and can last for three to six months, but are only suitable for indoor cats.
One thing that you should never do to prevent your cat from scratching is to declaw it. Declawing is a very painful and irreversible surgical procedure that involves removing part of the cat’s toes and can end up leaving a cat with severe mobility and emotional problems.
Whilst trying to discourage your cat from scratching in undesirable areas of the house, you will need to exercise extreme patience at all times. You should never attempt to punish your cat in any way either, as he/she will not associate the punishment with scratching and may end up feeling rather confused. It is also worth remembering that cats have got very good memories and, once offended, can sulk for a very long time!