Once upon a time, cat owners kept their pets from clawing furniture by having their front claws removed. We know now that this practice is unnecessary and even harmful. Likewise, there are simple methods to keeping cats from scratching. It’s a lot easier than you think!
Provide Ample Scratching Posts
Scratching posts come in all shapes and sizes. You can find large posts that are attached to towers with ledges for seating and playing. There are smaller posts that have dangling toys attached. Look for ramps, pads, circular scratch toys and even door hangers. Have a variety of scratching posts in your home so your cat never grows bored.
Some scratch pads come with catnip to attract cats. This can be a blessing as well as a curse. You can try this, but it is no guarantee. About 30 to 50 percent of cats are not affected by catnip. In fact, it can even deter some of them. If you find that catnip doesn’t work, consider placing a few treats near the scratching pads or posts. This gives your cat a reward every time he or she is near.
Pay Attention to Cues
Every cat owner knows that cats can be finicky creatures. You could find that your cat only likes a specific type of sensation on its paws. Look at the types of material your cat is scratching. Try to replicate it on your scratching post. Does your cat like to scratch carpet? Cover a post in a rough carpet scrap, which can usually be obtained for free at a flooring store. Just make sure the carpet is very different than that on your floor. Other materials like burlap or strong corduroy can make excellent post covers.
Conversely, if you have a scratching post your cat completely avoids, investigate why. Try moving the post to a different location or covering a portion of it with a different material. Cats love consistency, but they also like a little bit of mystery.
Make Furniture Undesirable
There are multiple ways to make furniture or other surfaces undesirable to cats. Not every method will work for every cat, but try one of these and you are certain to find the one that works for yours:
– Sticky Tape. Cover the base of your furniture with plastic wrap, and then cover that with two-sided tape. Most cats do not like the sticky sensation. After a few days, you should be able to remove the covering but your cat will still stay away.
– Aluminum Foil. Instead of plastic wrap and tape, use foil. This slick surface is unsettling to most cats.
– Essential Oils. Rather than buying a scratch deterrent spray, make your own! In a spray bottle, mix eucalyptus oil with a citrus essential oil (lemon or lime works best) and some water. Spray on whatever surface is the cat’s current favorite scratching spot.
You have to tell cats they shouldn’t be scratching a specific area. They won’t instinctively know. Like children, they will also try multiple times before they finally stop scratching. You have to catch them in the act and be consistent with your discipline. Some pet care professionals suggest using a spray bottle to remind cats when they are breaking rules, but with most cats a simple no will suffice. However, if you relent and allow your cat to break the rules occasionally with no repercussions, you will not have a successfully trained cat.
Fon Jon Pet Care has been in the pet care business for more than 20 years. Serving the San Diego area, Fon Jon offers boarding services for both cats and dogs. Call us today with any questions you have about the services we provide.