Cats have a natural instinct that will lead them to climb and scratch. If you are not providing the proper tools for the cat to use, they will use what they can find to scratch. For most cats, this will be furniture, drapes, countertops or anything they can find.
Why Do Cats Scratch?
Why does a cat need to scratch? Scratching is an enjoyable activity that a cat likes to do. By doing so, it helps remove old layers of nails on the cat’s claws. Cats also do scratching to mark their territories in the home, so if there are other animals or cats in the house, it is a way of telling them this is their area.
Correcting Inappropriate Cat Scratching
Let’s take a look at what we can do to help the cat learn good behaviors for scratching. First, do not spray a cat if they are scratching on the counter as they will jump off, run, and think it is a game. Take them off the counter and let them know this is not acceptable for them to do. A firm voice can accomplish this. Alternatively, you can use a soda pop can with coins inside and secured with tape. By shaking the can and making noises with it, it will let them know you do not want them scratching and they should not be up there.
Another thing you can consider to help a cat not scratch at your furniture is to wrap the furniture in aluminum foil. Cats do not like the feel or the touch of aluminum foil. Putting netting or some type of woven fabric over it can help also, as cats do not like to snag their claws.
Alternative Scratching Items
Providing a scratching pole or tree for the cat would be the best solution. With a scratching post, they are able to scratch and not ruin your furniture. There are many different types of scratching posts on the market for your cat. Some are stand-alone with carpeting on them, and some are deluxe posts that the cat can scratch and climb and include cubby holes for them to nest in, nap, or hide. Also, when purchasing a pole or tree for the cat, watch the carpeting on them as the cat may hook their claws on the loop, if that is the type of carpeting used.
Teaching Your Cat How To Use A Scratching Post
Teaching a cat to scratch on a pole or tree does not come easy. You will have to show the cat what the pole is for, and what options they can do on it. You yourself will have to scratch at the pole to show them it is ok for them to scratch on it. Providing good playtime with the cat and the pole will show the cat they are able to use it for scratching. Also, reward the cat with a massage or healthy treat when they do use the pole. This will let the cat know the behavior is acceptable.
Making A Cat-Friendly Environment
Making a cat-friendly environment for when the cat is home by itself is a good idea to do, especially if they are still scratching at furniture, climbing the drapes or jumping on and off the counters and tables. This way, you know the cat is safe and they will learn to use only the items you allow them to play with, both when you are away and when you are at home. The environment should contain only items the cat is able to play with – scratching poles, toys, strings, and balls. A litter box and food dishes can also be included, however, if you have not trained them yet to use the litter box, you may not want to leave food and water out for them. Having access to food and water may make them want to go potty, and if they don’t use the litter box yet, there may be some accidents waiting for you when you return!
Cat Nail Clipping
Cutting your cat’s claws to a proper length is something else that will help. However, cutting them too far down to the pink area will hurt the cat and could cause them to get an infection. There are plenty of trained pet groomers who can clip the cat’s claws at a very reasonable charge. You could even ask the vet for a good groomer in your area. Keeping the cat healthy is another important step to getting your cat trained.