how to stop a cat scratching at home

How To Stop Your Cat From Scratching at Home

If you’re a cat owner, you know how destructive cat scratching can be. From ruined furniture to scratched floors and walls, it can feel like an endless battle to keep your cat from scratching everything in sight.

However, it’s important to remember that scratching is a natural behavior for cats and serves multiple purposes, including stretching, marking their territory, and sharpening their claws.

So, how can you keep your cat from scratching up your home? In this article, we’ll explore some simple and effective ways to prevent your cat from scratching and redirect their natural scratching behavior to more appropriate surfaces.

Why do cats scratch furniture ?

Scratching or clawing things in their environment is natural behavior for cats for a number of reasons:

  • To get rid of the dead layer on the outside of their claws.
  • The scent glands on their paws allow them to leave both a visual mark and a scent to mark their territory.
  • To move their legs and claws and stretch their bodies.
  • To burn off energy.

It is impossible to expect a cat to stop scratching, as this is a natural habit that they are highly motivated to exhibit. Instead, the goal in treating issues related to scratching is to refocus the scratching behavior onto more appropriate items.

How to stop cats from scratching furniture

You are obligated to supply your cat with scratching objects that are enticing, appealing, and convenient from the feline’s point of view. This is how you will save your furniture and other objects at home.

First things first, let’s have a look at the components that make up the things that your cat is scratching. The preferences of your cat when it comes to scratching might be better understood if you find the answers to the following questions:

  • Where can I find them? It is common practice to select prominent items, objects located near sleeping places, and portions of a room that are adjacent to the room’s entrance.
  • What kind of consistency do they have – are they smooth or gritty?
  • What kind of shape do they have, and do they stand horizontally or vertically?
  • What is their height like? What kind of height is your cat’s scratching post?

Now, taking into consideration the preferences that your cat has shown, find other items that are comparable for her to scratch (rope-wrapped posts, corrugated cardboard or even a log). Put the right object or objects in close proximity to the improper object or objects that she is already using. Make sure the items are steady so that she won’t have to worry about them toppling over or moving around when she touches them.

Cover the potentially hazardous items with something that your cat will find unpleasant, such as double-sided tape, aluminum foil, sheets of sandpaper, or a plastic carpet runner with the pointed side facing up.

You might also give the items offensive smell by affixing cotton balls that are soaked in perfume, a muscle rub, or some other substance that has a pungent stench. But be wary of scents; you wouldn’t want the neighboring acceptable items to pick up a bad stench, too. Here are 7 smells that cats really hate.

When you notice that your cat is using the appropriate object on a regular basis, you should start moving it very gently (no more than three inches each day) to a spot that is more convenient for you. It is however in your best interest to keep the suitable scratching objects as close to your cat’s preferred scratching areas as is physically possible.

Wait until your cat has been using the suitable objects in their permanent locations for a few weeks or perhaps a month before removing any unpleasant coverings or odors from the inappropriate objects. After that, they should be eliminated little by bit, rather than all at once.

Should I punish my cat for scratching ?

No. You must catch your cat in the act of scratching undesirable objects in order for the punishment to be effective. At the same time, you must also present her with appropriate objects for her to scratch.

In addition to not having any effect on the behavior at hand, punishment after the fact can make her fearful of you or her surroundings and even provoke aggressive behavior on her part as a kind of defense. When used on its own, punishment will not fix the problem of your cat scratching furniture because it does not teach your cat where it should scratch instead.

If you do manage to catch her in the process of scratching inappropriate objects, a punishment in which you do not directly interact with her is preferable.

You could make a loud noise by blowing into a whistle, rattling a pop can full of rocks, or slapping the wall; you could also throw a pillow or use a water-filled squirt bottle to punish the cat remotely. If the punishment is interactive, she will learn to stop scratching when you are nearby but will continue to do so while you are not present.

You might be interested : How to train your cat to behave ?

How do I trim my cat’s claws?

Cats always retain their claws in a retracted position, unless they absolutely need to use them. This helps them stay as sharp as possible. As the claws get too long and start to curve, they lose their ability to be entirely retracted into the animal’s body.

Every week or so, you should take a pair of scissors and trim the points off the claws on all four of your cat’s feet. If you keep your cat’s claws trimmed, you won’t have to worry about them becoming caught in carpets, fabrics, or even on your own skin.

It is important to get your cat used to having her paws touched and massaged before you attempt to clip her claws. You can accomplish this by offering her a treat and softly caressing her legs and paws at the same time. This will contribute to making it a more enjoyable experience overall.

While you continue to pet the animal, gradually increase the pressure until you are gently squeezing it. In order to lengthen the claw, you will need to do this. You should keep giving your cat goodies until it is able to accept this form of contact and being restrained. If she isn’t used to having her legs or paws touched, it could take a little bit longer for her to become used to it.

Put a slight amount of pressure to her paw by placing your thumb on top of her paw and your index finger underneath it. Continue doing this until one of her claws extends. It should be possible for you to see the pink, also known as the “quick,” which is a little blood artery.

Do not make any cuts in this pink area because it will cause your cat to bleed and be in a lot of pain. You can make the claw less dangerous by cutting off just the pointy tip, sometimes known as the “hook.” This will dull the claw and prevent serious harm to both your skin and the objects in your home.

There are a few distinct styles of nail clippers and claw clippers on the market now that are made specifically for pets. They are superior to your own nail clippers since the claw will not be crushed when it is trimmed. One foot per day is a sufficient amount of a challenge to meet until both you and your cat have become acclimated to the routine. If you try to finish all four at once, you and your cat will only have bad memories associated with the claw clippers.

Should I declaw my cat?

No. The practice of declawing one’s cat is one that we highly advise against for cat owners. Scratching is a natural behavior for cats, and it can be encouraged by providing them with suitable objects to scratch.

We’d much like your cat to be with you for the rest of her life without having to choose between declawing or finding a new home for her. If you do make the decision to have your cat’s claws removed, we recommend that you perform the procedure at the same time as her spay (or neuter, if your cat is a male), that you declaw only the front paws, and that you never allow your cat to go outside. If you do decide to have your cat’s claws removed, you should also never allow your cat to go outside.

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