Scratching The Surface Of A Common Feline Habit

Cat ClawsWe know cats scratch. Whether it’s during play, while stretching, to mark territory or to threaten their rivals, you can’t stop it. Although some people try.

Scratching is necessary. Cats’ claws need regular sharpening and they scratch on things to remove frayed, worn outer claws to expose new, sharper claws. Unfortunately, their scratching can cause a lot of material pain; damage to furniture, curtains and carpets to name a few.

So what can you do about the scratching?

Whatever you do, don’t try to stop your cat from scratching – it’s natural. Instead teach her where and what to scratch.

Give your cat appropriate, cat-attractive surfaces and objects to scratch. Ever heard of a scratching post?

But how do you get her to scratch where you want her to?

First up, give her a choice. Give her posts made of cardboard, carpeting, wood, sisal, upholstery or whatever material she liked to scratch before.

Once you’ve got a variety of material, now provide a variety of shapes and areas. Find out what she likes. Some cats prefer horizontal posts, others vertical or slanted. Some prefer a vertical grain for raking, while others love a horizontal grain for picking. Figure out your cat’s preference for scratching and then give her what she wants.

Keep in mind your cat needs a sturdy post, whatever shape or material, that won’t shift or collapse when used. And, most cats prefer a post that’s tall enough that they can fully stretch. Maybe that’s why cats seem to like curtains so much!

So the posts are ready, now you need to encourage her to investigate them. Scent them with catnip, entice her in with hanging toys and put them in areas where she’ll be inclined to climb on them.

Stop her from scratching the good stuff

Remove or cover the objects your cat goes for. Place posts next to these items as the alternative. And to reduce her tendency to scratch altogether, trim her claws regularly.

However whatever you do, do not declaw your cat. People do this to resolve a scratching problem, but in reality it doesn’t just remove your cat’s claws. Declawing actually involves amputating the end of a cat’s toes. And cats suffer significant pain recovering from declawing – it’s not fair and it’s not worth it.