Cat Scratching Furnature
Scratching is a natural behavior for cats, and declawing is not the way to go, so what can you do to save your furniture from your cat?
The one thing that you want to remember is that you can't keep your cat from scratching, and you can't make your cat do exactly what you want (which is not to scratch), so the best thing that you can do is work around the cat and try to teach him a better habit.
There are several ways that you can train your cat not to scratch the furniture, but the best method will be dependant on you and your cat.
First off, understand why your cat is scratching. There are a number of reasons that your cat has the natural want and need to scratch. They include:
- Marking territory- Cats have scent glands in their paws that leave a scent
- Exercise- Scratching keeps your cat in shape by stretching and pulling the muscles of the cat's front quarters
- Pleasure- Scratching just feels good
- Boredom- When bored, cats may scratch to entertain themselves
Just remember that if you want to save your furniture before it gets too badly scratched and destroyed, it's better to start younger than older, but it is possible to start training your cat to use a proper scratching post at any age.
One thing that you should remember is to keep your cat's claws trimmed. Although, this is not going to be pleasant or easy, it will help cut down some of the scratching, even if you've got the cat trained to only scratch the scratching posts.
Choosing a Scratching Post
When choosing a scratching post for your cat, you want to make sure that there is a good portion of the scratching furniture that is covered in a thick, rough material because cats like to scratch rough things and shred them.
Also, choose a scratching post that is tall enough for your cat to fully stretch the length of his body on. It's good to stick with scratching posts that are at least 28 inches tall.
Sisal scratching posts are also a good choice for your cat, as the material can be frayed and shredded easily, yet at the same time it holds up pretty well. You want to look for sisal material versus the sisal rope.
Make sure that the scratching furniture is stable. If the scratching post wobbles or shakes when the cat touches it, he probably won't use. You want to make sure that there is a wide base, preferably a heavy base that can support the full weight of the cat and the furniture.
Deter the Old Scratching Sites
You can put tin foil or double-sided tape on the usual scratching areas, especially if the cat continues to try to get to those areas after you've added a scratching post or two.Another thing that you may need to do to keep your cat from scratching the usual furniture, is to de-scent them, as he has already left his scent there.
You can use a pet odor remover to clean up the
furniture in hopes to making the new cat furniture more appealing. You
may even want to try using a lemon-scented spray or a citrus potpourri
on the usually scratching sites to make them less appealing.
Lastly, you can consider using a clean spray bottle to spray your cat every time you see him going near the usual spot to scratch. You can also use whistles or other loud noises to startle the cat.
Using the Scratching Post
When actually training your cat to use the scratching post or scratching furniture, you want to start as young as possible, or at least as soon as possible. It is easier to training a younger cat, but with a little extra work, your older cat can learn where you prefer him to scratch, which is not the sofa.
When trying to training your cat to use a scratching post,you want to remember that placement of the scratching furniture is important. Because scratching is partially a territorial issue, you want to put the scratching post in an area that is most used by the people in the house, versus hidden in the back of the house. You can move the furniture, gradually after a while, but when starting out, it is best to have the cat furniture in a busy place.
You want to start the scratching furniture in an area where your cat scratches the most. IE the couch, recliner, etc.
You want to encourage your cat to the furniture by using the cat's favorite toys and treats. You can even try using catnip. Do anything you can to make the new accessory pleasurable and exciting to the cat. Try attaching toys to the cat furniture with rope.
When teaching your cat what are the appropriate places to scratch, you want to make it as pleasurable as possible. When you see your cat scratching the proper cat scratching posts, praise him! Give him a treat, or if he likes to chase toys throw his favorite toy a few times.
You do not want to put any bad memories of the proper scratching furniture into your cat's mind because he will remember that. You do not want to force your cat's paws onto the proper scratching post when you see him scratching your recliner. Cats do go through a defiant stage, so the more you try to force him to do something during this phase, the more he will refuse, and he will remember this later on.
Cats are creatures of habit, so be pleasant and create a new habit to replace the old one that you don't like.
Tip: If you notice your cat scratching an inappropriate object, just go to the cat, pick him up, and place him in front of the appropriate scratching site. While doing this you do not want to yell, spank, etc., as this can cause the bad memories that you don't want to embed.