Stop Cats Scratching and Clawing, Sofas, Furniture and Carpets
Cats that scratch your furniture can be very annoying, and can cause a lot of damage. Scolding your cat doesn't work. Why doesn't your cat use the fabulous and expensive scratching post you bought? Why do cats have to scratch things in the house anyway? What can you do about it?
Cats are generally such clean and tidy creatures, so why scratch and make a mess.
If you are frustrated with this, then you have a lot of company out there, as it can be of the worst features of owning a cat.
This article shows you why catch scratch, how to stop them ruining your furniture, how to encourage them to use their scratching posts and how to restore sanity back into your relationship.
Why Do Cat Scratch Where You Don't Want Them to?
Scratching and clawing natural for cats - It is just part of their natural behavior for a variety of reasons:
Marking their territory - Cats scratch to leave physical claw marks, and cat claws have scent glands.
Exercise - Scratching is great stretching exercise for cats and limbers up the muscles of the front legs and shoulders.
Pleasure - Let's face it cats love to scratch some more than others
Habits - Cats scratch, and claw where they do out of habit. You may not be able to stop the cat from scratching, but you can change their habits so they scratch where you want them to - 'the scratching post'.
You Can't Stop your Cat from Scratching!
Cats are particularly stubborn and hard to train and they seem to have attitude.
To twist Mark Twain's famous quote:
'Never try to teach a cat to sing. It wastes time and annoys the cat'.
Cats can be very frustrating as you can not make the cat do anything, anytime, the does not want to do.
Cats simply don't understand physical punishment (though dogs do and are much more compliant).
Cats never seem to get the message that you're punishing it for scratching the sofa. The cat will simply think you are being nasty to it, and this may make the situation worse.
Similarly pick up the cat when it starts scratching the sofa and transferring it to the scratching post seldom works either. The cat simply does not get it! Great game that!
Provide Appropriate Scratching Post
Buying a scratching post can be a frustrating experience as well. You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink. Don't think that you can show your cat how to scratch away at the new expensive toy that you have brought. But make sure you provide an appropriate scratching post that your cat will like. Here are some tips for good choices:
Cats like rough surfaces that they are able to claw away at and shred to tiny pieces. They prefer to mark their territory with long vertical marks
It must be high enough for the cat to fully reach up and stretch (at least 28 inches (70 cm high for the average size cat).
It must be secure. If it's wobbly, or falls over, the cat won't go back to it.
Sisal textile material is probably better than sisal rope (to hard). Sisal and the underside of carpet are ideal materials with perfect texture and grain for cats to shred. Don't replace it when it becomes threadbare as cats like it that way. Simply clean up the mess.
A good scratching post is one similar to the 'Purrfect Post'. Contact other cat owners with your species of cat and see what has worked for them.
Sorry, the scratching post has to be in the living area because that is where your cat wants to mark its territory. Placing the post in a back room or a distant out of the way corner won't work. It is probably best, to place it quite close to your sofa or furniture that is currently being scratched. You may be able to gradually move it further away as you change your cat's behavior. The only thing you can do it to make the sofa less appealing in some way. You want your cat to think: " Ah I feel like a scratch. Yuck the sofa now smells yucky. That post looks good I'll give it a try"
Tricks to get your cat to use the post:
Feed your cat near the post
Play games by dragging things such as a ball of wool around the post to the cat grabs onto the post.
Reward your cat with treats when it uses the post.
Attach dangling toys to the post so the cat climbs up the post and starts to dig claws into the post.
You may need several posts in various rooms if the cat scratches there.
The next step to make the switch is to make the sofa and furniture LESS attractive for scratching and clawing. Here are some suggestions:
Covering the area with strips of aluminum foil or double-sided tape often works. These can be removed after the cat has changed its habits.
Use various cat repellent odors on your sofas and furniture. Cats don't like citrus smells. So you can use various lemon-scented sprays or orange and lemon peels in a plat or bowl near the surface that they usually scratch.
Don't use commercial cat repellent chemicals as these are mostly too strong and may leave an unpleasant smell in the house.
Other things to try are lavender, rosemary. Cats also dislike pungent perfumes and most air fresheners. You can male a citrus spray by mixing up 1 cup water to 1/3 cup citrus juice. Add a few drops or rosemary or peppermint oil.
Cats also dislike eucalyptus and tea tree oil.
Alternate More Desperate 'Last Resort' Remedies
Trim your the cat's nails regularly. BUT, never declaw a cat as this maims them and is cruel.
Cat claws can be trimmed regularly and there are various claw covers available. This depends on the cat! It my take a long period of time and careful preparation before your cat gets use to it.