Here is the bad news…. cats like to scratch. It’s an entirely normal and natural activity. Scratching helps your kitty keep her nails clean and sharp, alleviates stress, exercises her shoulders and neck. Plus, your feline’s paws contain scent glands, so scratching releases her unique smell to mark your home. All of these benefits make scratching standard behavior, even if you don’t want it to be.
If your cat is using your sofa or favorite chair as their personal scratching post, it’s time to remind your feline that scratching the furniture is a bad idea. The good news is…. if you’re consistent, you’ll be able to convince your cat that scratching your furniture is a bad idea.
Here are a few tips to help:
Supply your cat with a variety of scratching posts and toys. They should be made of different materials (sisal, rope, and cardboard are popular with many cats). This will help you identify what your cat prefers in the way of a scratching post. In addition to considering different materials, you should try different styles. Some are upright, and some are meant to be scratched when your cat is on all fours; try both types. Put them in a variety of locations, so there is always a scratching toy handy. The best sites are places that your cat likes already – by their favorite snoozing spot, near their window, or near the piece of furniture that your cat is scratching.
Make the scratching posts attractive to your cat by using catnip on them or honeysuckle spray.
Get a wand toy and play with it near one of the scratching posts. Sweep it back and forth near (or on) the post. Hopefully, your cat will get excited enough to try the scratching post. Reward her with praise and a yummy treat when she scratches the right object!
Spray the furniture you don’t want the cat to scratch with a citrus scent, which most cats don’t like. You can put double-sided tape or aluminum foil on your sofa arm (or where ever your cat is scratching). Admonish gently when she scratches the wrong thing – maybe push them away or make a hissing noise. Then move her over to the post.
Trim your cat’s claws every 2-3 weeks as this discourages scratching.
Lastly, you may have noticed that we didn’t recommend declawing your cat. Declawing surgery essentially amputates 1/3 of your cat’s “toes.” Declawed cats often have ongoing problems with sore paws, they could stop using their litter box, and some cats may develop aggression issues. Plus it can change your cat’s balance too. Many vets won’t even do this surgery anymore, so we can not recommend it.
If you are consistent and patient, you’ll help your cat use the scratching post in no time.