Scratching can be a problem for you when kitty sets upon your brand new sofa with its claws but through some simple training you can train your cat to use a scratching pole instead.
Why Do Cats Scratch?
Cats scratch for a number of reasons: - First and foremost, when a cat scratches an object it is marking its territory. The combination of visible claw marks coupled with the scent left behind from scent glands in your cat’s paws marks the territory as their own.
- Its a way to sharpen their claws since it removes the dead outer layer… Its similar to you filing your nails!
- It is a form of exercise because it stretches their muscles.
- Pleasure… Cats scratch because it feels good!
How Do I Stop My Cat From Scratching?
Or the more important question… How do I stop my cat from ruining the furniture?!
First you need to offer an alternative so buy a scratching post. Cats love the carpet-like texture and will enjoy using it therefore you are not removing the pleasure of scratching for your cat.
How Do I Get My Cat To Use the Scratching Post?
Since cats scratch to mark their territory it is important to place the post in an area the cat would want to mark so don’t hide it away in a corner. Next to the sofa or next to the back door are good locations. Cats like to scratch first thing in the morning so you could try putting it next to where your cat sleeps.
Next you need to encourage your cat to actually use the post. You can hang its favourite toys around and on the post and try leaving a few cat treats around the post. Play with your cat near the post, try dragging something for them to chase up the post to encourage them to dig their claws in to it.
It is important to reward your cat when they use the post.
My Cat is Still Scratching the Sofa?
Changes obviously aren’t going to come overnight but if simply providing a post and offering encouragement and rewards don’t seem to be working it may be time to take further steps to discourage your cat from scratching in unwanted places.
Try covering the area with tin foil since cats don’t like the feel of this.
Remove the odour with a pet odour removers or you could use citrus scented sprays around the area as cats don't like the smell.
As a last resort try squirting them with a water spray or clapping your hands loudly and saying 'NO' in a firm voice when you catch them in the act.
Studies have shown most cats prefer to mark their territory with vertical shredding marks. Don't throw the scratching pole away when it's shredded. That's when it has been broken in to your cat's satisfaction and will be covered with their scent. Replacing the scratching post with a new one at this point is like throwing away one of its favourite toys or cushions and could mean that you might have to start the training all over again as you cat looks for something else to scratch… maybe even your nice new sofa again!!