As much as I dote my cat, I still feel upsad when I catch her leaving scratch marks on my furniture. Initially, my natural reaction was to shout at her – “STOP SCRATCHING”. By shouting, it indeed stop her from scratching, but only for that moment. Once I have my eyes off her, she will continue to scratch. This then leads me to try to think from her shoes and understand what could be the root cause of such behavior. Also, what are the things that I could do to save my furniture from been further destroyed.
How To Prevent Cat From Scratching
Just like most problem solving process, in order to find a solution to a problem, we need to understand the root cause. So I went to do some research via reading up on various online materials and talking to various cat lover owners. What I have learn is that cat scratches for various reasons.
Understanding the reasons why cat scratches
Firstly, cat scratches to clean the exterior sheath of her nails and to sharpen her claws.
Secondly, cat treat scratching as a form of exercise. Just like practicing yoga, scratching stretches the muscles of a cat, working out the muscles and keeping your cat in shape.
Thirdly, the act of scratching can also be seen as a means of marking one’s territory. Through scratching, cat mark their turf not only with visible signs of claw marks. Cats’ paws also have scent glands that leave their message on their territory. Such scent glands are usually indistinguishable to humans, but very distinct to other animals.
Lastly, cat may also scratch due to sheer pleasure. After understanding the rational of their scratching behavior, I knew that it is impossible to stop her from scratching. What I could do instead is to guide her into scratching in areas where she is allowed to.
Diverting Scratching Behavior
Invest in at least one scratch post – Purchase a scratch post that is at least as tall as your cat when she stands on her hind legs so that she can stretch to her fullest comfortably. Do also ensure that the scratch post is sturdy enough to withhold the entire body weight of your cat when she leans on it. The most basic need of your cat is a scratch post that won’t shift or collapse when in use.
Some cats prefer to scratch on horizontal post, while some favor vertical or slanted post. Usually cats who like scratching chairs legs may prefer a vertical scratch pose while cats that scratches rugs may prefer a horizontal scratch post. Consider the preference of your cat and orientate the scratch post to match their preference. Choose a scratching post that is similar to the material your cat most likes to scratch,” said Meghan Herron, DVM and clinical assistant professor of behavioral medicine at Ohio State University. This would help to encourage them to use the scratch post and leave your furniture alone.
Locate Scratch Post Strategically – If possible, it would be preferred if you could provide your cat with a variety of scratch post with different qualities and surfaces. Locate these scratch posts near the furniture where your cat have scratched or is likely to scratch. The most important place is the area of the house in which you and your cat spend the most time. A tip I got from a cat lover is to place the scratch post near her bed to make it more enticing her scratch. Cats love to scratch when they wakes up and in the middle of the night.
Train Your Cat To Use The Scratch Post – Some may be fortunate that their cat uses the scratch post without any guidance needed while some may face the frustration that their cats still scratches their furniture despite investing in a scratch post. In case you happen to be the unlucky ones, do not lost hope or start the “screaming” episode all over again.
There are various means which you can try to condition your cat to use the scratch pose.
- Dangle a toy or rope over the scratch post. This should draw her attention to the pole and adds on to the joy of using the scratch post.
- Rub some catnip onto the post. Do note that this may work for most cats, but not all cats.
- Gently place your cat in front of the scratch post. Gently stroke her while waiting for her to respond to the post in front of her.
- Practice positive reinforcement. Every time she uses the scratch pose, praise her and reward her with a treat.
Have fun with your cat – Sometimes when I am at home, I will carry my cat away from the spot that she is scratching and have a good one-to-one session with her. This will physically stop her from scratching and also allows me to spend some quality time with her – deepening our bond.
Ways To Deter Cat From Scratching Your Furniture
Just like bad habit takes time to be corrected, you cannot expect your cat to stop scratching your furniture overnight. Hence some preventive measures could be used to discourage her to from scratching your furniture.
- Cover the area with double-sided tape. Cats dislike the sticky feeling hence this would be a good deterrent. A better alternative to double-sided tape is a product called “Sticky Paws”. Double-sided tape can leave residue on furniture, while Sticky Paws, a water-soluble adhesive tape does not. Additionally, you might want to try placing blown-up balloons underneath a sheet covering the furniture. When your cat walks over it causing the balloon to burst, the unexpected loud pop sound will scare hence deterring her from scratching this furniture.
- Use motion detector attached to a spray or ultrasonic noise. There is a mixed review pertaining to this solution. Some owners have successfully deterred their cat from scratching in a particular furniture while others find that it scares the cat off initially but the cat got used to it afterwards.
- Usage of pet odor cleaners to reduce the attractiveness of a particular scratching spot. As mentioned in the section “Understanding the reasons why cat scratches”, cats leave behind scent glands when they scratch. By removing their scent, it will reduce the attractiveness of the scratching spot.