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How to Stop Your Cat from Scratching Your Furniture
Why do cats scratch furniture?
It is completely natural for a cat to sharpen it's claws.
In the wild a cat needs it's claws to hunt and catch food and for climbing
and protecting themselves. Scratching also helps keep the claws in top
condition and helps remove the
sheath that grows over the claws. It is also a territorial instinct. Many
wild cats mark trees with their claws.
Cats have scent glands in their paws and use this to mark
their territory. Scratching also makes your cat feel good, as they scratch
they also stretch (improving muscle tone) and they love to do this
especially just after they wake up.
How do I stop my cat scratching the furniture?
One thing is absolutely certain. You will never stop a
cat from scratching but you can divert his claws from your sofa,
furnishings or carpet to something more appropriate. It is relatively easy
to stop your cat scratching your furniture. First you must buy or make him
a scratching post.
What kind of scratching post to I need?
If you are handy you can make your own scratching post. If not
there are many scratching posts available that can be purchased in a price
range of $10 up to over $500
Another choice is a Scratch Box. They are catnip
impregnated, strong corrugated cardboard boxes which can sit on the
floor or be attached to the wall if you want to save room. Because of
the enticement of catnip once the cats begin to use the box they will
not scratch anywhere else. A scratch box will last around five or more
months, depending on how much an individual cat scratches
How do I train my cat to scratch the scratching post
or scratch box?
To train your cat to use a scratching post instead of
scratching your furniture is a lot easier than you think.
Don't assume that all you need to do is place the
scratching post in the room and the cat will automatically use it
(although some cats may do this) First, place the scratching post as close
to the area where the inappropriate scratching is taking place. Then wait
Whenever you see your cat scratching the furniture tell him
NO... or AH-AH in a firm voice, then gently pick him up and take him to
the scratching post. Do this is a very gentle way so as not to scare him.
Place his paws on the scratching post and simulate scratching. Praise him
and tell him 'Good Kitty' and stroke him to make it an enjoyable pleasant
experience. You will have to be diligent at first and try to catch him in
the act of scratching your furniture.
Never punish him for scratching
inappropriately but praise him well when he does the right thing.
It's all about reward and pleasant experiences.
Over the coming weeks reinforce this acceptable behavior
with praise whenever he uses the scratching post on his own and keep up
the NO or AH-AH when he scratches the furniture.
Cats are smart. Most cats will learn to use the cat
scratching post within a few days.
IMPORTANT - Remember... no punishment for
inappropriate scratching other than a verbal reprimand and lots of praise
and stroking for scratching at the post.