Cats scratch. It is completely natural, and they scratch for a number of reasons. Excessive scratching, however, can be a big problem for you and your furniture. There are a couple of methods you can try to discourage your cat from scratching. In some cases, you may be able to easily stop the habit. Severe cases may call for surgical treatment; although, it is not recommended.

So, why do cats scratch? There are a few reasons: it comes natural to them, so often they do it for pleasure. Like dogs urinating, scratching is also a way for cats to mark their territory. Cats also use scratching as a way to sharpen their nails. You must realize early on that you will not be able to stop your cat from scratching things. You can, however, work with your cat on not scratching certain things. You should not expect an entirely obedient cat; they are too strong-willed and independent to pay heed to your obedience training attempts.

Keeping your cat’s nails trimmed is a good way to lessen the effects of scratching. Simply, the cuts in your furniture will not be as deep as they would be from sharpened nails. Unfortunately, trimmed nails will not discourage your cat from partaking in the act. Since your cat scratches to sharpen her nails, trimming them can actually cause her to scratch more.

You can try deviating your cat’s habit to a scratching post instead of your couch. If you start kittens out with posts, then they are more likely to continue to use them throughout their lives. The mistake many people make with this solution is buying the prettiest scratching post that the pet store offers. Your cat will not scratch on a post because of the way it looks. Try to find a post made out of coarse material that she can shred. The Cosmic Alpine Scratcher provides your cat the opportunity to scratch and play. A toy is hidden inside the scratcher, while an insert has been treated with catnip.

If your cat’s body is fully extended, then she should not be able to reach the top of the post. The entire post should be for her to scratch, whether she is extended or sitting on her hind legs. If your kitty likes to scratch around in more than one area of your home, then buy an additional post. If you take her attention away from one spot, then she will just wreak havoc on the other spot. So, in some cases, you may need more than one scratching post.

Once you bring the post home, place it in the area she likes to scratch. If she sharpens her nails on the back on the couch, then put the post in front of that area, limiting her access. When she starts to scratch on the post, reward her for her behavior. If she scratches on the unwanted item, then discourage the behavior. Do not be mean or angry. Instead, “shoo” her away from the area. In some cases, you may need to cover the area and make it unappealing to her. Cats hate sticky objects, so double-sided tape can often do the trick! Unfortunately, this can also be unappealing to you and your guests.

If the posts do not work, then you can try plastic or vinyl coverings that fit over your cat’s nails. The coverings are applied with glue and can last up to six weeks. Many owners prefer the coverings, because they also protect children and guests from being scratched. Your cat may not be too happy at first, but she will adapt to them. If nothing seems to stop your cat from scratching, then declawing is also an option. Many people view declawing as inhumane and unnecessary. Talk to your vet about all other possibilities before you declaw your kitty.

A scratching cat can be detrimental to your furniture. However, a cat that likes to scratch is not exhibiting a bad or destructive behavior. Clawing comes natural to your kitty, and she does it for a variety of reasons. There are methods you can try to calm the scratching, including nail trimming, scratching posts, and nail coverings. Declawing should be your last option. The best thing to do is to talk to your veterinarian about ways to deter excessive scratching.

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