Having the company of our feline friends at home is so nice since they are playful and very loving! But what do you do when you wake up one day or come home from work and you find your expensive sofa scratched by your friend?
I know it will get into your nerves and you will wish that you could punish it but wait… get to understand why scratching is important to your cat. We all know that scratching is a natural behavior for cats and you can’t stop it. Here are some of the reasons why cats scratch.
♣ Exercising – scratching helps the cat to stretch. Stretching helps the cat’s muscles from the legs to the shoulders and the back.
♣ Maintain the claw hygiene – it sharpens the claws and removes the outside nail husk keeping the nails clean.
♣ Marking territory – the cat’s claw has some scent glands which leaves some scent whenever they scratch, that cannot be smelled by human beings but very distinct to other feline animals. They do so to convey a special message to mark their territories even if they are alone. This is why they mark the most visible parts of the house and not hidden places.
♣ To feel good – scratching for cats derives some pleasure to them. It also helps them relieve stress and other discomforts.
Now that you have understood their reasons for scratching and realize that they are unstoppable, what can you do to prevent them from scratching and spoiling your furniture? Here are some of the tips that can help you to divert their scratching elsewhere away from your precious furniture.
1. Provide a cat scratching post
Purchasing a scratching post will allow the cat to continue enjoying scratching without messing up your furniture. Place the scratching post next to that furniture which the cat loves to scratch. Ensure that the post is made of favorable fabric like sisal material which has a rough surface but can shred to pieces. The post should be tall enough to enable it to stretch longer while scratching. It should also be strong and stable enough not to topple or shake, because if it ever topples the cat will be scared and will not come back to that post.
You can encourage the cat to use a scratching post by attaching some cat toys to it or rub some catnip. This will create a good environment for the cat to scratch the post as it’s stretching to reach the toys or the catnip. But never force a cat to scratch the post by placing its paws on the post with your hands because this may have a negative effect on them. You can use your fingernails instead to show them how to scratch. Ensure that you praise them every time it scratches the post. There are also scratching carpets which can be laid horizontally on the floor for the cat to scratch.
2. Make the furniture environment to be unpleasant
So you feline friend still insists on scratching the furniture? This should not make you go mad and yelling at it or beating it. Remember cats will not understand that you are punishing them for scratching the furniture. But instead, it will hold a grudge thinking that you are mistreating them.
You can spray the furniture with some citrus or lemon scents because cats don’t like the smell of citrus hence it will repel it. Another method is to put a double sided sticky tape on its favorite scratching spot. The cat will have to abandon it because it doesn’t like sticky surfaces.
3. Trim the claws
This is an exercise which may not be easy because cats don’t like to be restrained. You can involve your veterinarian so that you don’t injure the cat’s soft tissues. You need to be patient with it and you can trim one or two claws at a time since it can’t be patient enough to allow you to trim all the claws at once. Trimming the nails will reduce the effects of scratching because the nails will be blunt.
Do not declaw! The effects of declawing can be devastating for the cat and it’s also illegal in some countries. Declawing involves amputating the cat’s toes up to the joint. This is a painful procedure for the cat and it will also suffer the aftermath because it will lose balance.
4. Use soft plastic caps on the nails
There are soft paws that can be glued on the cat’s nails to cover the sharp nails and prevent the damages of scratching. They may find it strange for the first time but they will get used to it. This should be done on a cat which is strictly indoors and in situations where there are young kids in the house who love playing with the cat. This will guard the kids and the furniture against scratch. The soft paws normally come off after some time so you need to be checking regularly so that you can replace the missing caps.