Clawing furniture and draperies will help your cat keep its claws razor sharp and in tip-top condition, but it will ruin your furniture. Since cats are determined animals, and often ignore deterrents, the key to stopping this unwanted behaviour is to give them a more attractive option. Cat trees or scratching posts are designed to be used for scratching. A good quality one should prove so attractive that your cat will stay away from the furniture, drapes and carpets.
Cats are fiercely territorial, both inside the house and out, so while they scratch at the furniture to sharpen their claws, they mainly do it to mark out territory. Cats sweat from their paws so wherever they scratch they leave a faint scent. Clawing is part of their behaviour, they simply can’t see what’s wrong with it. People, on the other hand, like their furniture to be free of claw marks. What’s the solution?
Yelling at or hitting your cat when you catch her clawing won’t work. She will not connect her action with your reaction. She will just fear you. To prevent her clawing furniture, provide your cat with a place to claw, erase any traces of marking she has left, and discourage clawing when you see it.
REMOVING THE TRACES
A cat tree or scratching post is the perfect place for a cat to claw. They can be bought, improvised or made. Erasing marks is the next step. Claw marks tell your cat that she should keep marking that spot. Be sure to replace damaged fabric and repair clawed wood. Then cover the area with aluminium foil or a rug until your cat gets used to using her scratching post. If you still catch your cat clawing, spray her with water while she is doing it. This is a gentle deterrent and one she will respond to.
- A cat will claw wherever the opportunity presents itself, outside as well as in. Unless checked, it will cause noticeable damage.
- The sight of her marks on furniture will encourage your cat to claw in the same spot again and again. That’s why you should nip clawing in the bud.
- Where you put your cat’s scratching post is important. Try placing it somewhere at the edge of the territory so that the cat can use it to leave marks to keep intruders at bay.
- Cats claw outside too. They leave their marks on trees and fences to keep other cats away.
Your cat is marking his territory. His claw marks tell other cats, ‘This is my home, stay away!’ The legs on my pine kitchen table seems to be my cat’s favourite place to scratch. Why? The kitchen is your cat’s favourite place since it is probably where you feed her. She wants to mark her territory by leaving scratches. The soft pine seems to her the ideal place to leave her sign.
Declawing cats is cruel. Even house cats need their claws for grooming or for climbing up on to window sills. Outdoor cats need claws to protect themselves from danger. Without claws, cats would be dirty, accident-prone and unhappy.