Cat Scratching Problems?
Scratching is a very natural instinct and a means of communication for cats. However, it is not always conducive to kitties and humans living together in harmony. The following is an excerpt from Dr. Justine Lee, DVM, DACVECC:
Why Do Cats Scratch My Stuff?
Because cats have scent glands under their paw pads, they like to spread the love around and make sure that other cats know that this part of the house is theirs — in other words, they are marking their territory.
Cats also scratch because it feels good, and it’s their way of naturally wearing down their nails or ripping them off in the process. Scratching also feels great — it stretches their front limbs and is the equivalent of our getting a hand massage.
Curb Your Cat Away From Furniture
There are a few things you can do to prevent your cat from scratching your favorite piece of furniture.
Quality Scratching Posts Make a Difference
Most importantly, train your cat to use the right kind of scratching posts. If your cheap $2 scratching post is hidden in the dark, dank corner of the basement where nobody wants to go, it’s not going to be effective.
If the material doesn’t feel good to scratch (i.e., cheap cardboard), your cat won’t use it. Only the best for your cat! Try twine, coarse rope, carpet, or sisal (a type of material that looks like carpet).
Location is Important!
Make sure the scratching post is well placed and well constructed (if it falls on top of your cat while he’s scratching, I can guarantee you he’ll never use it again).
Although it may affect your feng shui, keep the scratching post in the center of the room or next to the vertical or horizontal surface your cat scratches, as cats always prefer to be the center of attention.
I have one of my scratching posts under the coffee table; it’s not glaringly offensive to those interior decorator friends who visit, but it’s in a central enough location where my cats will use it.
Entice Your Cat to the Scratching Post
Finally, try bribery.
Entice your cat to play around the post by placing treats or toys there. You can always sprinkle catnip on the surface of the scratching posts, as chemical persuasion is OK under certain circumstances, right?
If all else fails, you can consult a veterinary behaviorist or consider declawing (which is best done in kittenhood). Be sure to discuss options with your family veterinarian to determine the best course of treatment for your feline companion.
**A new product called FeliScratch can entice cats to use scratching posts! FeliScratch provides pheromones and a visual cue on acceptable scratching outlets; essentially, training your cat to use the scratching post. Talk to your veterinarian for details!