Help! My Cat is Scratching My Furniture to Death!
I know several people that like cats; however they don't want to become "kitty parents" because they are afraid that their furniture (and other belongings) will be clawed to death. While this is a perfectly understandable…there are ways to deter a cat from using your couch as his or her scratching post.
First of all let's explore the burning question…why do cats scratch in the first place? Well, my fur loving friends, cats scratch for several reasons but the main reason is because it FEELS GOOD…kind of like stretching does to humans. Cats also scratch for several other reasons including…it is a great way to sharpen their weapons (oops, I mean claws), to mark their territory and even to reduce stress! Scratching, believe it or not, is also a form of feline exercise…who knew!? It is important to note that scratching is perfectly normal feline behavior…it just so happens to be a behavior that you are not very fond of (and either is your sofa).
Trying to stop a cat from scratching (whether it be feral or domesticated) is like trying to stop a fish from swimming. In other words, you can't. Even if you declaw a cat (which I am not in favor of) it will still try to scratch. The first thing you should do is buy several cat scratching posts (you know, those odd shaped, carpet covered…um…things) and place them throughout the house. It is important that you place a scratching post next to your cat's favorite napping spot as most (if not all) cat's tend to scratch within minutes of waking up. Once you place the scratching posts…kindly show kitty where they are. One quick side note: remember, your cat is not being "bad" when he scratches your furniture so yelling at him really won't be productive. After all, he is only doing what comes naturally and as previously mentioned…you won't be able to stop him. Yelling at him will only cause kitty resentment and you don't want THAT do you?
Create Cat Scratching Deterrents!
The easiest way to stop your cat from destroying your furniture is to make it as unappealing as possible. How? Well, I'm glad you asked!
- Spray a deterrent around your cat's favorite place to scratch. There are many types of sprays on the market that will actually make your cat run for cover. Ok, your cat might not run for cover, but he will leave the "sprayed" area in a snooty huff. Cat deterrent sprays usually contain a citrus scent…which by the way, cats hate! If you are thinking "great, in order to save my belongings I am going to have to live in a house that smells like a giant orange" stop worrying! Cat deterrent sprays can be smelled by cats…but are not detectable to the human nose. Wonderful! These sprays are available online as well as in most pet supply stores (and they don't cost that much!).
- Stop…or I'll shoot! Ok, that sounds bad…however, one of the oldest and most effective ways of getting a cat to stop doing something is to simply squirt him on the backside with a water pistol. Make sure you squirt from a distance so that he doesn't see that it's YOU pulling the trigger. After all, you don't want your cat to fear you! Giving your cat a quick squirt of water on the backside will most likely startle him and stop him from whatever he happens to be doing at the time. In order for him to get the message…you will probably have to squirt him several times (different occasions). Sooner or later he will eventually put it together that scratching the couch equals a squirt on the butt. Oh…don't squirt your cat in the face…that is just not nice.
- Get out the double sided tape! The most effective anti-clawing product is double-sided tape. There is actually a product on the market called Sticky Paws and it REALLY works (but you can give regular old double-sided tape a try if you wish as it is a bit cheaper). Cats ABSOLUTELY HATE the feel of tape on their paws. The second they reach up to claw your sofa and get a claw full of "sticky" instead…they will learn a valuable lesson.
- Pop that bubble! If all else fails, try bubble wrap. Simply place a few sheets of bubble wrap around the piece of furniture that your cat scratches the most. The second he steps on the wrap…POP! Trust me, he will run...as if a Saint Bernard were chasing him!! Obviously, you don't need to leave the bubble wrap out forever (unless of course you have a modern home and it fits your décor). Once your kitty pops a few bubbles…he should learn his lesson. If not, well, you will have a lot of bubble wrap in your basement storage room.
So what have we learned? We have learned that you will NEVER be able to stop your cat from scratching all together; therefore, it is important that you provide him or her with a variety of (parent approved) scratching options. Your best bet is to invest in a few scratching posts. My black cat, Norman, LOVES his scratching post and uses it several times per day. If your cat continues to use your furniture to sharpen his claws then try deterring him with citrus cat sprays, bubble wrap or even a few squirts from a squirt gun. Good luck my friends and here's to an un-clawed couch! Meow!
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