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By Jacky Sapphire
Strings hanging from the couch. The wooden frame is exposed on the upholstered furniture. It is obvious there are cats in our household. Do we just have to live with it?? Is there anything you can do to STOP us from sharpening our claws on your best furniture? Let’s explore the possibilities.
NO DECLAWING ALLOWED…AND WE DON’T HAVE TO FIND NEW HOMES!
Let me make it clear – declawing is NOT the answer to this problem. It is cruel and inhumane. How would you like to have your fingernails removed because you were seen picking your nose or scratching inappropriate places in public? You would have problems picking up some tiny things that only your nails will grab or adding to your beauty with fancy painted nails.
WHY DO CATS SCRATCH ON FURNITURE?
We need to keep our claws sharp for protection. There are many places we could do this especially if we go outside. Inside we just choose the most interesting place and if it has already been used it is even more appealing. The corners of our couch look ragged I will admit. We also have a carpeted tower that works great, too. AND it gets used. I will admit that it is a way to scent various places in the house so the other cats know I’ve been there before them and maybe they need to find another piece of furniture to call their own! On the tower you can see the shredding is up a little higher. When I use this I get a good stretch for my body. Scratching helps us get rid of the outer layer of our claws, too.
HOW CAN YOU TRAIN US TO USE APPROPRIATE PLACES FOR SCRATCHING?
Around our cat home a spray bottle is an effective way to encourage us to stop our bad behavior. I think everyone has experienced a chilly shower when in the midst of blissful enjoyment. It isn’t so bad really, but a shock to the system at first. Nearly everyone just has to see the bottle now and they stop what they are doing. Bug hasn’t learned it yet, but she will!
“No” is effective at our house, too. A stern look included helps drive the point home. It may take a few times but we eventually realize we shouldn’t do what we are doing. Generally that “NO” is accompanied with being gently picked up and removed from that particular spot.
Dedicated Scratching Post
We have the carpeted tower that shows evidence it has been used for a scratching post. There are many options available. Take a look at Amazon for all of the products available there. This would be perfect for our cat family!
You can even create your own with some carpet squares.
Various Scented Sprays and Double Sided Tape
Give us some positive reinforcement to encourage us to use an appropriate place to scratch. I would suggest a catnip spray. That would be heaven! I suppose you can find many sprays that would discourage us to use the furniture. You know we really aren’t too crazy about any citrus smelling sprays. I’ve heard that some humans have used double stick tape or even purchased “Sticky Paws” and put it on an area we have been known to use for scratching. I know I don’t like any sticky stuff on MY paws. So, if that had been used here I wouldn’t have helped make a mess of the corner of our couch. “Sorry Mom!”
WHEN ALL ELSE FAILS
There are really nice furniture slipcovers available at Amazon and elsewhere to cover up those shredded furniture corners. This slip cover would look great in our home and with a print the cat hair may not show up so clearly!
It is interesting in our cat household that not all of our members spend time scratching the furniture or the scratching post. I like to use the carpeted tower. I don’t notice Joe Boo Boo scratching much, but he spends so much time outside he can take care of it there. Oscar has been disciplined a few times. Rusty uses my tower. Suzy Scamper hasn’t been in trouble for quite awhile. And Bug has not discovered scratching yet. I imagine she will get the water bottle a few times. She is a Very Busy Girl!!
So, remember that declawing is NOT the answer to this problem. Neither is finding new homes for us. You humans do not need to live with ragged furniture if you implement a few changes to encourage us in new directions.