Why Your Cat Scratches
Scratching is one many natural instincts your cat has and is one of the most important behaviors for owners to understand so that we can be proactive in the areas they choose to use. Scratching is much more than a means for your cat to keep their nails in tip top shape - it also helps to relieve stress / frustration, mark territory and stretch muscles in their neck and back. Because this behavior is essential to your cat, it is important that we remember to redirect the behavior instead of trying to eliminate it.
Finding the Right Scratching Post
Many cat's reach to furniture because of their textures, placements and because they are very sturdy when they pull back on them. If you are hoping to save your furniture, the first step is to make sure your cat has another appropriate outlet to scratch on.
You should begin offering scratching options for your cat at an early age ( between 8-12 weeks) so they can begin to learn which surface and areas to scratch moving forward. There are so many types of scratchers on the market - so it may take time to experiment to see which one suits your cat.
TIP: DO NOT force your cats paws on a scratching post, this is very uncomfortable and actually can cause them to avoid using it.
What To Do When Your Cat Wont Use The Scratching Post
If your cat would still prefer your couch instead of the scratcher, you may need to work on transitioning your cat to using "this" vs "that". Here are some tips:
Make sure the scratcher is your cat's preferred texture type and height
Place scratcher where it is easily accessible & where your cat prefers to scratch
Make sure the scratcher is sturdy and doesn't fall when kitty goes to use it
Use a small amount of catnip to bring your cats attention the scratcher or toys
Avoid placing scratchers in heavily scented areas where you may use air fresheners, plug ins, wax warmers etc
Temporarily cover furniture that is being scratched with a blanket, making it a surface that is challenging to sink nails into.
Skip the scold! Spraying your cat, yelling and other forms of punishment DO NOT teach your cat where to scratch. Additionally, when you are not around the behavior is likely going to continue making this an unsuccessful method of training.
Keep your cat's nails trimmed with a routine nail schedule. Cant clip your cat's nails by yourself? Seek the help of your veterinarian, groomer or in home pet service. Many options to suit even the most nervous feline!
Still need help? Call us to schedule a consultation!