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Help! My Cat Keeps Scratching my Furniture

Help! My Cat Keeps Scratching my Furniture

We hear about it a lot from cat owners, their cats is lovable and fun, but……he won’t stop scratching the couch, climbing the curtains and generally making a mess!

The first thing we want you to do is take a deep breath, and step into your cat’s shoes, or, if you will, toes. For cats, scratching and climbing are deeply instinctive traits which serve important purposes for them. In addition to providing exercise, climbing is essential for cats’ survival if they are outdoors. Although to a mouse, they may be a fierce predator, a cat is still a fairly small animal and would be prey to many larger carnivores. Even if your cat is strictly indoors, this instinct to stay safe and ready does not disappear. Likewise, scratching serves numerous adaptive purposes for your furry friend. Scratching stretches and strengthens the muscles in a cats’ front legs which is both healthy for their muscles and feels good to them. It can be a way for them to dispel stress. Scratching is also a marking behavior. Cats have scent glands in their paws and they use scratching to mark their territory both visually (the damage) and olfactorily (the scent). Scratching is also a grooming behavior as it helps cats to shed the outer layer of their nails.

So what do you do about it? The number one thing we recommend is moving beyond the notion that you can just teach them not to scratch or climb at all. Again these are important, instinctive traits for them which provide them enrichment and comfort. Instead, invest in a large piece of cat furniture (or three) and teach them to use them to fulfill their climbing and scratching needs. Sometimes customers tell us they have tried a scratcher and it “didn’t work.” Often what they tried was a tiny floor scratcher tucked away in an unused corner of the house. Larger is better here, and that’s not just a sales pitch. Cats like to be up high, so the height and sturdiness of a scratcher can impact their likelihood that the cat will use it. The act of climbing it encourages them to stick their claws in which encourages them to scratch. Keep the piece of kitty furniture in the room that the cats hang out in the most. You can use catnip sprinkled on it to attract them to it at first. If you see them using it, tell them what a good kitty they are and give them one of their favorite treats!

If there are still spots where your cat is scratching undesirable places, consider limiting their access to those places temporarily or using a deterrent. There is a product called Sticky Paws which is a water-soluble, double-sided tape that you can put on your furniture to keep cats from scratching it. When they put their paws on it it’s sticky which cats find unpleasant. There are also deterrent sprays that you can use to keep the cat away from your belongings. Just remember, if you don’t give them appropriate alternatives, they may create their own alternatives and scratch new places in your home that you wish they wouldn’t.

If you need help getting set up to deter your kitty’s inappropriate scratching and climbing, come in and see us today. We have a variety of sturdy, dependable cat furniture, including new modern designs to better fit the décor of your home. We can also walk you through additional enrichment items to help your cat stay busy and active without driving you crazy. Exercise with interactive toys can really go a long way to help with this problem too! Come on in and see us we are here to help.

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