Cats need to scratch for many reasons. If you don’t want your cat to scratch your furniture, drapes or cupboards you must give him/her a viable alternative such as a scratching post and you also need to teach your cat how to use the scratching post. There are many different types of posts available. You can find posts made of corrugated cardboard, sisal, carpeting material, and wood; and such posts come in various styles to accommodate your cat’s needs. Always try to get a post that mimics how your cat likes to scratch. If your cat likes to scratch the floor get him/her a post that can sit on the floor horizontally. If your cat likes to stretch long and tall on his/her back legs to scratch vertically get your cat a tall tower with a vertical post on it. Also if you know your cat likes to scratch the carpet get a post with carpet material on it. If your cat likes to scratch wood get a sisal or cardboard post.
If your cat is unaccustomed to a post you may need to help train your cat to choose the post rather than your furniture. You can do this by using a combination of the following:
- spray catnip spray on the post to attract your cat
- help show your cat how to scratch (Actually go through the scratching motion yourself while your cat is watching. However don’t hold the cat’s paws and make them scratch the post, cats don’t like their paws to be touched so doing as such may actually scare your cat away from the post altogether)
- pick your cat up and showing your cat the post every time he/she scratches in the wrong place
- spray your cat with water every time he/she scratches the wrong place and make sure to reward your cat every time he/she scratches the correct place.
- cover covering your cat’s favorite scratching places with double-sided tape or other items as explained in the aversion techniques section.
If you are thinking about declawing remember that it isn’t just a simple procedure to remove the top part of the claw. It is actually an amputation of the last knuckle to the nail. Such an amputation can be dangerous to the cat (there is always a risk to your cat when he/she undergoes anesthesia). Declawing is also considered cruel by many vets and cat lovers for many other reasons (note that you should NEVER declaw an outside cat):
- It takes away the cat’s main defense mechanism
- It takes away a cat’s ability to escape from a situation quickly
- It can make it more difficult to impossible for a cat to jump and climb
- It can throw a cat’s balance off
- Cats can become depressed as they have lost their defenses and are no longer as good at jumping and running
- Cats can have litterbox problems following declawing as the feeling of litter on their paws can be uncomfortable
- It can put the cat at risk health-wise as the cat does need to undergo anesthesia and the cat can be at risk for infection as the paws heal