Scratching is a natural behavior for cats
and a way of fulfilling a cat's strong instinctive need to mark its territory.
Scratching also exercises their shoulders, legs and paws and provides valuable
stretching. The key to protecting your cat's health -and- your furniture is to
get your cat to scratch somewhere else that is more appealing than the
When selecting or building a
scratching post, look for one at least as tall as your cat is when standing
on its hind legs. It also must be very sturdy with a wide base so it doesn't
wobble. The most important feature of any scratching post is that it must be
rough and scratchy like a tree trunk. Posts with sisal fiber rope wound on
them are best. Your cat will love it. To supplement the post you can use
scratchboards in other rooms.
Show your cat how to use it by
"scratching" on it with your own fingernails. You can also use a
fishing-pole-style toy to draw your cat's clawing attention to the surface.
Don't hold your cat's paws and force him to scratch -- this may confuse or
scare him away, back to the furniture.
Sprinkle or rub catnip onto the
scratching post. Pretty soon your cat will prefer the post more than your
furniture. Have patience.
Apply strips of double-sided tape to
your furniture. The cats don't like the sticky feeling. For larger
furniture, just adhere masking tape all over the arms, or back where the cat
usually enjoys playing. It will soon learn that it is more fun to scratch on
If you catch the cat scratching the
furniture, remember it are following its instincts. Do not scold it. Show it
the scratching post immediately and play with it there.
Use a water-bottle spray to surprise
the cat, while s/he is nearing the furniture BEFORE s/he scratches. It will
not hurt, and s/he will run away. Use the spray to train the cat not to
climb on countertops, also.
Keep their claws trimmed
If you are not getting a response from
the other methods, and have lost patience trying, buy vinyl nail caps at the
pet store. SoftPaws is a well-known brand of vinyl nail caps. They won't
hurt the cat and might solve your problem
Never declaw a cat. Even if it is a
house pet only, there is always the chance it might run out of the house
when the door is opened. It will not be able to defend itself, and will get
badly mauled by other animals.
Have patience and love the cat and,
pretty soon, it will learn. Cats love to please their humans and are sweet
Scratching boards and posts come in
different sizes and uses. Some are flat on the floor and some are raised.
Some are made of hemp, cardboard, carpet or sisal. Try different types. It
is better to have too many around, than not enough.
Scratching sharpens their claws. Make
sure you cut them at least once a week, and no less than twice a month.
Have patience with your cat. If you
feel you just cannot stand them anymore, do not mutilate them by surgery,
call an animal behaviorist.
Some cats may not like having their
claws trimmed. Get them used to it by holding them in the pit of your arm,
while you cut with the other hand.
Declawing is actually an amputation
comparable to the removal of human fingertips at the first knuckle.
A cat's remarkable grace, agility, and
sense of balance are in part due to its claws, which allow it to establish
footing for walking, running, springing, climbing or stretching. A cat's
claws are also its best defense in the outdoors. Remember, a declawed,
indoor cat can run out of the house and would be defenseless.
Without claws, cats are more likely to
bite since they have no other defenses.
Without claws as a first defense, cats
can become mean and defensive, always aware they are more vulnerable without