Your new living room furniture is in tatters. Your nerves are frayed. Your cat thinks you have morphed into someone he doesn't know and you need a solution to his inappropriate scratching behavior now! Sound familiar? Well, this was our situation a few months ago until we got a handle on a strategy that works.
Cats need to scratch! It helps them excercise their front leg muscles and tendons. It helps to shed old outer layers of the nail sheath. It helps alleviate frustration and boredom and it marks their ‘territory’ in your home.
Once you realize this it is much easier to arrive at an equitable solution. Rather than concentrating on eliminating the problem ( which isn't going to happen ) you need to find a way to redirect the behavior to an appropriate area in your home.
There are many products on the market which offer a solution. We found a combination of a good quality scratching post wrapped in sisal rope and a set of clear, acrylic shields which fasten to the corner areas of your couch and chair work best. If you need to learn where to purchase these products, visit our website listed below.
The shields are used to cover up areas your cat has already been scratching, in order to redirect him to the post. The scratching post should be tall and heavy enough so your cat can extend his full torso up high enough to offer a good stretch. Most cats are vertical scratchers. They reach up, extend the front arms, claw the scratcher and pull downwards towards the ground. If the post moves around too much they will likely not use it again so make sure it is stable.
If your cat likes catnip, rub some into the sisal rope on the post. Hanging his favorite toy on the top of the post will help get his attention also.
The first time he uses the post you need to heap lots of praise on him, pet him, give him a treat and let him know that he is a ‘good boy. ’ Cats do not relate punishment to the behavior they are engaged in but they do understand very well when they have done something that pleases you if you communicate that effectively. It shouldn't take long for your cat to figure things out if you use this strategy.
Our cat Milo is hillarious! Now when he needs to scratch he sits in front of the post, reaches up to scratch, stops and turns to make sure we are watching him and then does his business. Then he turns to us as if to say, ‘hey, aren't I a good boy?'
Brad Knell is the webmaster at http://www.stopcatscratching.com which is one of a series of websites created to help people with their pet problems.