By Shelly Allen
Cat scratch fever is a very serious condition and one that can make your head spin, your nerves frazzled, and make your furniture look like you picked it up from the side of the road on garbage day. By now you must realize that I’m not talking about some nasty little disease you get from being scratched by a cat, no, I’m talking about the mental state that comes from having a cat that likes to scratch everywhere you don’t want her to!
Take a deep breath as there are many solutions to stop a cat from scratching your furniture, none of which entail declawing your favorite little furry friend!
Yes, there are some great tips to stop your cat from destroying your furniture and whether your cats are kittens or older, we’ve got real solutions! The first step is to understand why your cat scratches in the first place.
Scratching is a natural behavior for cats. CATS SCRATCH! Can you stop your cat from scratching? No, and there happen to be some very good reasons for that. First and foremost, cats find extreme pleasure in scratching!
Think about the one thing that you love to do more than anything, now think about someone coming along and trying to get you to stop. Not gonna happen, is it?
Okay, so now we know cats find pleasure in scratching, but why? Scratching is a territorial instinct by which cats place their mark and establish their turf. Through scratching cats mark their domains with more than visible signs of claw marks. Cat’s paws also have scent glands that leave their own special scent on their territory. But wait, there’s more, scratching also serves to keep your cat in shape. The act of scratching stretches and pulls and works the muscles of a cat’s front quarters, an act that a cat that has been declawed can no longer enjoy.
Follow these steps to keep your cat from scratching your furniture
You need to learn how to re-direct where your cat likes to scratch.
First, you need to provide an appropriate place for her to scratch. So what is appropriate? Cats like rough surfaces that they can shred to pieces. There are many scratching posts on the market and many different scratching products to choose from, but bear in mind that whatever post you choose must be tall enough for her to fully extend her body and most importantly, it must be secure. If it topples over even once she won’t go back to it.
If you can’t afford a large scratching post the reverse side of a piece of carpeting will also provide a good satisfyingly resistant texture for clawing. Since cats prefer scratching in a vertical position you can staple pieces of carpeting to a wall or post. Make certain the scratching surface will remain stationary whether it’s adhered to the floor or a wall.
So now you’ve got her scratching surface prepared, how do you get your cat to use it’s scratching post? Remember that an important part of scratching is the cat’s desire to mark her territory. A a scratching post should be in an area that’s used by the family not hidden in a back corner. After a time you can move the post away to the periphery of the room. Initially, put the post where your cat goes to scratch, this may entail using more than one post as your cat may scratch in more than one place.
Second, encourage your cat to use her post with clever enticements like feeding her and playing with her by the post. Rub dried catnip leaves or powder into it and make all the associations with the scratching post pleasurable. Reward her with her favorite treat when she uses it, or have her chase a string or a toy around the post or attach toys to it which will result in her digging her claws into it. It’s also a good idea to put a post where kitty sleeps because cats love to scratch in the morning and the middle of the night. If space permits, a post in every room is a cat’s delight but most importantly is the space in which you and your cat spend the most amount of time!
If your cat is reluctant to give up her old scratching areas at first you can cover the area with aluminum foil or double-sided tape as these surfaces don’t have a texture that feels good to scratch. You may also need to remove her scent from her old scratching grounds with a pet odor remover found at most pet supply stores. Cats do not like citrus odors so use lemon-scented sprays or essential oils to make her former scratching sites less agreeable to her.
That’s pretty much it folks. If all this seems a little too time consuming just think of all the money you’ll save not replacing torn up furniture! If that’s not motivating, I don’t know what is.