Scratching (You or the Furniture)

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Filed in Cats, Behavior and Training

Cats have a natural desire to scratch, whether it is on trees, walls or furniture, which is bad news for your furniture. This necessary function not only sharpens their nails, but also marks their territory. Marking territory is important for them to do both indoors and outdoors because it gives them a sense of location and tells other animals to back off. Whereas outdoors they might have plenty of trees or banister railings, inside their choices are limited. That's where you come in.

It's your job to train and provide an alternative-scratching arena other than the living room furniture. How much you want to spend to protect your goods depends on you. The choice is limitless. As a general rule when buying a cat tree, bigger is better. The more height and scratching surfaces you provide your cat, the less likely she will be to use your furniture and carpets.

Training your Kitty to Scratch

Take a sprinkling of catnip and spread it over the area of the post you want the cat to scratch, or use some catnip spray, which covers the whole post. This will entice your cat to not only dig her claws into the preferred area, but she'll rub up against it (another way of marking her territory). You can attach a toy to the post, which will coax your cat to play with the post.

It's also a good idea to have a couple of scratching options available for your cat -- especially if she's an indoor cat or if you have more than one cat. Offer your cat different shapes and sizes of both standing posts and floor models, as well as different areas around the house in which she is free to scratch. A good rule of thumb is to place the post near the area you've already caught them tearing up.

But even with all this equipment, your cat might still want to tear up the furniture. If you catch your cat doing this, distract him or simply pick him up and carry him to one of the proper places to scratch. There are products, such as No Scratch for Cats or transparent adhesive strips, which you can spray or put on most pieces of furniture, to help in this territory battle. The scent of this spray will repel your cat and basically dissuade her from scratching, whereas the texture of the strips will dissuade your cat from clawing. The sooner your train your cat to scratch on the proper objects, the sooner your furniture will be safe.

If Your Cat Scratches You

If you have a cat, eventually you'll receive some cat scratches - just bet on it. The key is to not let the scratching, whether from play or just sharp claws, get out of hand. Trimming your cat's nails might solve this problem as will training her not scratch you during playtime. Simply remove your hand if her scratching gets out of hand.

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