Cats scratch for a variety of reasons, such as scent marking, excitement, boredom or simply stretching. However, this natural behavior can turn destructive if another outlet for scratching behavior is not provided. The following are 5 tips for help stop cat scratching at your house.
1. Buy a scratching post
There are many types of scratching posts on the market. Some are upright and others are on the ground. There are also a variety of materials, such cardboard and twine. Try different options to see what your cat likes to try and stop cat scratching on your furniture.
2. Make your scratching post interesting
Cats have scent glands in their claws, which is why scratching is used to mark territory. Often times cats will be attracted to scratch something that smells like their pheromones. Catnip mimics the pheromone cats release, so it attracts your cat to the scratching post. Rubbing some into the part your cat scratches can help get your cat started. There are also some artificial pheromone sprays that work very well, such as Feliway. With the spays follow the same procedure as the cat nip.
3. Provide entertainment
Scratching can be related to boredom or anxiety, so providing other outlets can minimize scratching. Provide a cat window (see our article on cat enrichment), or give interactive toys.
4. Discourage scratching
Scratching can be discouraged on certain things (like your $1000 dollar couch), but it still needs to be redirected. There are some common and simple methods for discouraging scratching. One of the more popular methods is putting tin foil on the surface being scratched. If your cat likes to scratch the couch arms, tape tin foil on the couch arm to stop cat scratching. The cats generally don’t like the feel and sound scratching the foil makes, so they will find something better to scratch. Double sided tape can also be used to discourage scratching.These methods are good at discouraging scratching but be sure to provide a scratching post to redirect your cat to.
5. Give your cat a paw-decure
Cats often turn to scratching to shorten their nails, like using a nail file. Often this can be solved by simply trimming your cat’s nails. Chat with your vet about the proper length for your cat’s nails and how to trim them. If you do not want to do frequent nail trims check out soft claws. These are plastic tips you place on your cat’s nails.With the tips on your cat cannot destructively scratch. These tips are glued on, and last about 3-6 weeks. Many people have their vet put the soft claws on, but they are fairly easy to apply at home.
If scratching has become a problem you can’t solve, talk to your vet. There may be a medical condition underlying this behavior. Declawing is never a good option to deal with scratching. Declawing is an invasive and painful procedure for your cat, and causes medical issues later in life.
While scratching can become a problem behavior, with these tips you should be able to solve most destructive scratching behaviors.