Friday, August 6, 2010

is your cat scratch happy?

i spent about a half hour this morning covering the back of my couch with double-sided sticky tape. why? it's cleo's favorite spot to scratch.

what - you don't love when your couch looks like this?

there are just as many remedies as there are surfaces to scratch on, but they all follow one basic principle....
make the current scratching surface undesirable, and redirect their attention to an acceptable alternative.

yelling, swatting and squirt bottles won't work, at least not in the long term. your cat will only learn to scratch when you're not around, and scratching is a natural instinct that cannot be un-learned. cats gotta scratch, it feels good. it's an emotional release that helps them shed the dead outer sheath of their nails.

sticky paws is a great way to deter cats from the current favored surface. you can also put it on a place mat or carpet runner if your nervous about sticking it to something, but i've put it on wood trim on my apartment walls with no adverse side effects.

next, you must find an acceptable alternative - otherwise your feline will just move on to the next piece of furniture. figure out if your cat likes vertical or horizontal surfaces. scratching on the carpet? horizontal. walls? vertical. choose a scratching surface that corresponds.

many cats do just fine with a standard carpeted post, just make sure its an appropriate height for your cat. sisal covered posts and all-wood posts provide a rougher texture, and it's great if your post can also double as a prime-birdwatching spot.

for horizontal scratchers, cardboard scratchers are a great option, and many sisal covered posts can be placed horizontally as well. and to attract your kitteh to the new surface, a little bit of catnip persuasion goes a long way.

move the alternative scratching surface near the old favorite couch or carpet. your cat will wake up from a long midday nap with the urge to scratch, find their favorite surface undesirable, and redirect their attention to the new one if its nearby. remember: you have to make them think it was all their idea in the first place. once your cat consistently uses the new post, the deterrent can be removed.

piece of cake, right? makes you wonder why anyone would ever choose to declaw.

and if all else fails - kitten mittons.

1 comment:

sthielmann said...

Our two Abys love to scratch. We provide them with several pieces of cat furniture for scratching. We even travel with one of the smaller posts. When one started to scratch on the back of a new love seat we moved a scratching post into that position. The post got the scratching instead of the love seat. We are cat people so we don't mind having four pieces of cat furniture for in the living room for scratching and playing.