Cats are habitual scratchers. They scratch while playing, they scratch while stretching, they scratch as a threatening signal to other nearby cats or sometimes to mark their territory.
Cats' claws also need regular sharpening. It's natural for them to scratch on surfaces to replace the worn-out outer layer of their claws and expose new, sharper claws. All this scratching can result in furniture, drapes, and carpeting getting damaged!
How to Deal with Your Cat's Scratching Habits
The best tactic for dealing with your cats scratching isn't to yell at them or physically move your cat away from the furniture. Instead, we should show them where and what to scratch. A fantastic approach is to supply them with appropriate, cat-attractive surfaces and objects to scratch, like scratching posts. The subsequent steps will guide you to redirect your cat to scratch where you would like them to:
- Provide different scratching posts with various qualities and surfaces. Try giving your cat posts made from cardboard, carpeting, wood, sisal, and fabric. Some cats prefer horizontal posts, while others might like vertical or slanted ones. Once you work out your cat's preference for scratching, provide additional posts of that sort in different house locations. Remember that cats need a sturdy post that won't shift or collapse when used. Most cats also love the kinds of tall enough posts to make them stretch their bodies adequately.
- Putting catnip on the posts will encourage them to hang toys on them and place them in areas where they'll be inclined to hop on them.
- Remove or cover other desirable objects to discourage them. You can try and turn your speakers toward the wall, wrap in plastic, place some double-sided sticky tape, sandpaper, or upside-down vinyl carpet runner on whatever furniture your cat likes to scratch. This Sisal Mat couch and furniture cover are perfect for this! It would also be wise to place scratching posts next to those objects as preferable alternatives.
- Clip your cat's nails regularly.
- Whenever you do catch your cat scratching objects which you prefer them not to, try startling them gently by clapping your hands or even squirting him with water with a small water gun or squirt bottle. However, only use this procedure as a last resort, as your cat may begin to form an association between you with the startling event and slowly become wary of you.
What To Avoid
- Don't teach your cat that hands are toys. Discouraging such behavior is something you must develop and adequately teach them as early as possible. Once your cat gets used to having your hands as playthings, those tiny claws and teeth will soon grow into razor-sharp, and you will bear the scars. It should be established early that any biting is painful to you, even though at that stage, it is mostly manageable. Once established, you can direct them to proper toys.
- Please do not hold your cat by the scratching post and force her claw on the post. This behavior might frighten your cat into avoiding the scratching post altogether. She might even learn to avoid you as well.
- Please do not throw away a favorite scratching post when it becomes an eyesore. Cats love shredded and torn objects because they will be able to get their claws into the fabric. Used posts also will appeal to your cat because the smell and appearance are familiar to her.
Whatever tricks you opt for, remember that as pet parents, we should always observe our cat's behavior and learn proper handling techniques to make them both happy and healthy!