The Pet Tree House - Where Pets Are Family Too : Is Your Cat Clawing Up Your Beautiful Furniture?

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Is Your Cat Clawing Up Your Beautiful Furniture?

New furniture already destroyed by your cat? If this scenario sounds familiar, there are things you can do to limit the damage.

Consistent Training

First, even if your cat is an adult when it joins your home, you can still train it not to destroy your best furniture. The key is to start training from day one and be consistent. Discouraging the cat sometimes and turning a blind eye at other times only teaches the cat to keep clawing until you cause a fuss.

Understand that cats need to scratch to keep their claws from growing too long. You cannot discourage this impulse completely, but keeping claws trimmed will reduce the need. Buy a claw clipper at the pet shop and make sure you don’t cut close to the quick.

Your cat may not let you do a whole paw at once, so keep the clippers in your pocket and get a nail or two at a time, and be sure to reward your cat with praise and petting afterwards. If your cat likes to be brushed, follow claw clipping with a good brushing as a reward.

They need to do it

Cats also claw furniture because the stretching, flexing and resistance involved feel good. Since most of our homes don’t have mice to chase, domesticated cats have few opportunities to get natural exercise. Playing with your cat is the only way to ensure it gets the activity it needs. A daily play session or two will keep it from clawing out of boredom.

Because the need to scratch cannot be completely suppressed, you must provide the cat with something it enjoys scratching. This, as most cat owners learn, is seldom the expensive three-tiered gym that takes up most of a room. It is your job to keep trying items until you find something to the cat’s liking.

The inexpensive scratching box of corrugated cardboard is appealing to most cats, but preferred items also include a split log with the bark on and facing up, an old wicker basket, a coir doormat, a discarded leather purse or an old running shoe. Rubbing catnip on the item increases its appeal.

Chairs & Such

For living room chairs, opt for upholstered swivel rockers. Cats don’t like sharpening their claws on things that don’t provide resistance for them to pull against.

To safeguard the couch and other good furniture, invest in attractive, good quality throws and drape them over favorite scratching spots. The cat won’t scratch the throw because it isn’t anchored down, and throws can be quickly whisked aside when company comes.

Make sure your cat has a comfortable place to sleep. Cats often take over furniture because they have no spot of their own. Once a cat adds a piece of furniture to its territory, clawing is likely to follow.

Finally, don’t overlook the power of scent. Cats have a keen sense of smell, and mark furniture with their scent to let others know it’s theirs. You can win the battle for territory by misting your furniture with a fabric-freshening spray or buying a cat-repelling product at a pet store. Smells cats particularly dislike include citrus, mint and pine.


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