It is a common painted picture for every new cat owner. You come home from a long days work, to find your favorite rug, carpet or couch torn to shreds! UGH NOT AGAIN! Enough if enough, it's time to start training your cat so that your salary stops going to replacement furniture. So let's dive into just what the heck is going on inside your cats brain and set a plan to stop furniture scratching.
You may think to yourself "no claws, no problems, right?". WRONG! Cats need their claws to live their everyday lives. Declawing will affect the way your cat walks, balances, instincts and generally interacts with the world around. Remember that declawing is actually an amputation up to the first joint of the paw, so it would be like us cutting off the last portion of our fingertips and toes. That sounds awful and very painful, and it is, following a high risk of complications post-surgery. Declawing has absolutely no benefit on the cats behalf, its strictly done for our convenience. Sounds a little selfish doesn't it? There is much more humane products and training methods to keep your cat from scratching, so let's take a peek, shall we?
Why Is My Cat Scratching?
Before anything else, you must understand the why. WHY IS MY CAT DESTROYING MY CARPET DOES SHE HATE ME!? No, your cat doesn't hate you, she is destroying your rug for another reason. Cats scratch to maintain healthy claws by shedding the outside nail husk periodically as needed! They also need to scratch to stretch/exercise their muscles and joints. Above all, it just plain feels good! Scratching and playing with fibrous materials helps relieves stress. So don't fret, your cat scratching your couch or rug is normal cat behavior. What we need to do is transfer that energy on to designated scratching areas, and avoid the new IKEA rug!
Form a Scratch Perimeter
If your cat is scratching furniture, that means there is not enough scratch toys or posts in the house, or at least undiscovered. Examine what type of material your cat is scratching. If it is shag carpet, go out and purchase a shag carpet scratch post. If you do not choose the right type of material, your cat may have no interest in it. Some scratch posts have gimmicks like dangling bird toys, different materials or other play things (Pisces recommends: Urban Cat Angle Scratcher). These types of posts are good at grabbing your cats attention. Next place the scratchers around the home, do not place all in a bunch! They not have to be large towers, but some variety in orientation is always good.
Change in Appeal
After you have some new toys and scratchers placed in the home, your next objective is to make the furniture she likes to scratch seem less appealing. Cats are very particular about texture, and they don't want anything to do with textures they don't like. Most cats avoid tin foil like the plague do to the sound and feel of it, so wrapping the damaged area in some tin foil should keep your cat away. It may be a little hard on the eyes at first, but don't worry, its only temporary (hopefully). Double-sided tape is also effective at keeping your cat away from scratching surfaces. If you really do not want to have tape or foil around your house, try spraying your couch or rug with a citrus spray. Cats have a natural aversion to citric odors!
Enticing Your Cat
Now that you have made her old habits unappealing, its time to hype up the new stuff! If your cat is anything like my cat, it will already be very curious about the new additions around the house. If not, you can simply pick your cat up and bring her to the new scratch post or bring a new toy to her so they know that they exists. Spray the new scratchers with some catnip spray to REALLY get them interested! Pisces recommends: Caitit 2.0 Senses Catnip Spray. If your cat is indifferent or has a bad reaction to catnip, try honeysuckle! If you catch her scratching the furniture, do not yell. Instead, simply pick her up and move her to the appropriate scratching area. Offer your cat a treat as a reward when using the appropriate scratchers. Praising good behavior is more effective than punishing bad behavior!
Nothing Has Worked!
By now, your cat should be acclimated to the new scratchers. If your cat is still scratching on the furniture, your cat may be acting out due to stress. Pisces recommends Bach Rescue Remedy! RESCUE Pet is a combination remedy that supports emotional balance and healthy behavior in pets. If you have any questions about how you can hep your cats behavior, please visit Pisces Pet Emporium and talk to one of our staff! You can also ask us online on our Facebook page!