How to Teach Your Cat Proper Scratching Habits

Is your cat scratching up your carpeting or furniture? Kitties are cute and lovable, and make wonderful pets, but they aren’t perfect. Fluffy’s habit of using couches and rugs as manicure stations can be quite frustrating! In this article, a Mt. Pleasant, SC veterinarian offers tips on how to deal with your cat’s scratching habit.

Offer A Manicure Station

Making sure that cats have a suitable place to scratch is very important. Kitties depend on their claws for survival in the wild, so they learned long ago to take good care of them. Therefore, the urge to keep those little claws sharp is a very deeply-rooted instinct in our feline friends. You probably won’t have much luck in getting your cat to stop scratching: you’re better off redirecting her to a scratching post or tower. When choosing Fluffy’s manicure station, make sure it’s sturdy, as if it wobbles, your cat may become leery of it.

Bribery… Not Punishment

Don’t punish Fluffy for scratching where she shouldn’t. Cats don’t think like we do, and don’t understand punishment. Fluffy may not even understand that she’s being reprimanded. Instead, focus on the positive … or, in other words, bribe your cat. Put toys, treats and catnip around your kitty’s scratching post, and praise her for using it.

Advanced Tactics

If your pet is tearing up your sofa or the corner of a wall, try putting clear two-sided tape along the edge where she’s scratching. The tape won’t show, but your kitty won’t like that sticky feeling. You can also startle your cat when she scratches improperly. Try squirting her with water, or sounding a bike horn. Fluffy won’t be hurt, but she’ll probably make a beeline for a quiet spot to think things over a bit.

Other Options

Still no luck? Don’t worry: there are a few more things to try. Consider clipping your kitty’s claws. Just like a human manicure, Fluffy’s nail trims are painless and temporary. If you’re nervous about doing it yourself, just call us to schedule a quick appointment. You can also get Fluffy some fake nails with rounded tips. These are called claw caps, and they even come in fun colors like pink and red!

Do you have questions about your cat’s health? Call us, your local Mt. Pleasant, SC animal clinic, anytime. We are here to help!