From the moment you decided to get a cat, you had to go a long way – this pet accustomed to the litter box, the fight for the rights of the owner of the house, the lapping of characters … It would seem that it is time to enjoy life, sitting in the evenings with a soft purring ball on his lap, but no – there is a new problem! Do not despair – the cat can be weaned from scratching the furniture, albeit it will have to spend a lot of effort and patience. Many owners consider this behavior as destructive and punish it, but for the pets themselves it is quite natural, related to mental and physiological needs. Today we will try to find out together how to teach your cat to scratch the furniture, to look at the best ways of doing it, and to give you a lot of useful advice.
6 reasons why cats scratch furniture
The cat was originally a wild carnivorous animal that is perfectly adapted for hunting. Not for nothing they say that a cat the size of a tiger would (hypothetically) be five times more dangerous than him. And it has the appropriate body structure: the whiskers, which serve as a locator to assess the distance to obstacles, the tail, which provides maneuverability, and claws, which must be in perfect condition, because they perform many functions. Therefore, you should not be surprised if your pet starts to tear furniture or wallpaper.
In general, all the reasons why the cat is engaged in this unpleasant for the owner, can be summarized in a small list:
- manicure (during sharpening, the animal removes the keratinized layer from the claws. In its place, new sharp claws appear);
- relief of nervous tension (angry or frightened cats usually relieve stress in this way);
- warming up (the pet “warms up” the muscles, like an athlete);
- marking the territory (the smell of sweat secreted by the sweat glands on the paws remains on the furniture);
- practicing (releasing claws is a very old hunting skill, hardly used by modern cats, but it is in the genes).
Note! If the cat nibbles on the chair in which you like to spend your free evenings, it shows its sympathy and trust.
Let’s wean the cat from scratching the furniture
There are quite a few ways that can help you wean your pet from scratching the furniture. Let’s start with the most popular ones.
1. Loud noises, voice command
Every time he tries to sharpen his claws on the furniture, say loudly and harshly “No!”, “No!”, “Shhhh!”. Continue in this manner until the pet gives up on its goals.
Notice. Don’t swear at the cat when it has already sharpened its claws. Do it before or in the first seconds of sharpening, so that the activity is associated with punishment. The cat needs to understand exactly what you are scolding him for.
Another effective way to wean him off the “bad” habit is to use ordinary baby rattles. You can buy a rattle or make one yourself – for example, put some coins in a metal jar (you can find it in the kitchen), seal it and always keep it near you. If you notice that the cat wants to make mischief again, take the jar and rattle it strongly. The animal will quickly run away into the next room, because it does not like such strong sounds. Rattle each time to reinforce what you’ve learned!
Balloons – another good “sound” method of education, though not the most convenient for the owner. Inflate and tie several balloons, fix them at the scene. The trap should be designed for one of the balloons to burst in the process of another claw point. The loud sound will scare away the animal, and the next time it will be afraid to approach the ill-fated chair.
2. Sprayer with water
Cats are not known to like water procedures, so why not take advantage of it? Fill a spray bottle with water and spray it on him every time he tries to sharpen his claws in a forbidden place. But remember, this kind of “shower” is only effective before or within five minutes of an incident, otherwise the pet won’t know what he’s being punished for. Unpleasant feelings, as in the previous case, should be associated with the “crime”.
3. We arm ourselves… with smells!
Representatives of the feline family do not tolerate the scent of onions, vinegar and citrus fruit. It is better to give preference to the third option, because vinegar wears off rather quickly and the smell of onions will be unpleasant for you too. Mix lemon (orange, tangerine) aromatic oil with the same amount of eucalyptus oil in a container with a sprayer. Spray the resulting solution on furniture, wallpaper or other necessary items. The advantage of this method is that it will not only discourage the cat from scratching the furniture, but it will also fill the house with pleasant smells.
In addition to citrus fruits, you can use various spices. If the citrus fruit is not the same as the citrus fruit, you can use a variety of spices, such as citrus, citrus, or chili peppers.
4. Sticky Surface
The sensation of stickiness is as unpleasant for cats as water procedures, so you can stick double sided tape on the most attractive places (e.g. armrests, back of furniture).
You can also use a special sticky tape Sticky Paws, which can be glued almost anywhere – on the carpet, furniture upholstery, curtains. These tapes are almost invisible, and therefore will not spoil the interior of the room.
5. Claw trimming
When trimming a sharp part of the claw, you need to act with extreme caution, otherwise you may hurt your pet. This should preferably be performed by a qualified veterinarian. Although you can learn to trim nails by yourself. The only thing to do is to do it to a certain length and at a certain angle, using only special scissors.
6. Closed doors
If you have any expensive items in the room, keep the doors closed as soon as the cat comes in. Prefer a door handle of this type, so that it will not open if the animal paws at it.
Or you can make one of these at the bottom of the door leaf.
7. A scratching post
A great solution to the problem. Characteristically, the scratcher is quite possible to make your own hands, but you need to consider a few important nuances.
- The place should be as comfortable as possible for the pet.
- The height must match its height.
- The scratching post should be fixed securely so that it can withstand the load.
- The top layer should be made of a rough material of medium hardness, reminiscent of tree bark. A great option is sisal rope, although you can use other materials as well.
A cat always thinks he is the master of the house and that is why he will hardly confine himself to one place to show his power. If you have a big apartment or you – the happy owner of several cats, you’d better put 2-3 scratching post where the animals like to be.
Making a scratching post with your own hands. Master class
Consider one simple and inexpensive way of making a cat trainer. For this, prepare in advance:
- wooden plate of round shape (ø35 cm), cut it out before you begin;
- scotch tape (yellow, pink or white);
- a wooden bar (40×40 mm) 0.7 m long;
- an electric drill, a screwdriver, and wood screws of sufficient length;
- adhesive, stapler;
- a white cover (40×40 mm), such as is used for switches;
- white paint;
- nylon rope (50 m);
- fabric dye (yellow or pink).
Step 1. After preparing everything you need, you can start making the scratcher yourself. First, fix the bar in the center of the base. It is important to precisely determine the center of the circle, otherwise the appearance of the whole product may be spoiled. After fixing, paint the circle with white paint.
Step 2: Start painting the rope. By the way, this rope is lighter and therefore better than sisal or jute. Although nylon itself is less durable, but it is not so important – the scratching post does not last very long, their lifespan (both homemade and purchased) is limited.
Step 3: When painting, follow the instructions that come with the fabric dye. The rope should then dry well, which can be done by laying it on a radiator, for example. This can even take all night, so further work is better off postponed to the next morning. Moreover, during this time the smell of the paint, with which you painted the round base, will have time to get rid of.
Step 4: You can start wrapping. First, nail one end of the rope to the bar as shown in the photo below. Also be sure to spread the glue all over the post. If using different colors of rope, join them together with colored tape (pink on the pink section, etc.). Caulk the junction between the pink and yellow with pink duct tape, which will look like an extension of the pink edging. This is why you don’t need to buy tape of all three colors.
Step 5. Secure the other end of the rope on top with the same stapler, and cover the remaining area with a plastic cover. In the absence of the latter, simply paint the area or decorate it to your liking.
Step 6. The foothold is ready to use! If you do not have time/power/desire to make such a variant, you can try to make another one (step by step instructions below).
How to train the cat to the scratching post?
“Aggregate” for claw trimming is usually placed where the pet is used to do it. As mentioned above, if there are several such areas, the scratching post should be as many (ideally).
- If the cat has its own sleeping place, the scratching post should be placed there (cats always stretch out after waking up).
- The cat can be shown how to use the scratching post – first of all, run his paw over the post (this should be repeated several times).
- All distracting objects should better be covered or taken away, so that the pet focuses more often just on the scratching post.
- Put foil, duct tape or slippery plastic on the floor in the place where the cat likes to tear the wallpaper or furniture.
Take note! Every time when the cat will use the scratching post, encourage it, pet it and present it with compliments.
Do not lure the pet to the sharpening “unit” with valerian. The cat will dig its nose into the scratching post, rubbing against it, meowing loudly and performing various circus tricks, without even remembering that it is intended for this purpose.
What you must not do
Most people don’t know that their prohibitions and threats have no effect on cats. The animal will always do what he wants, without regard to your opinion. Therefore, weaning wolf from a bad habit, keep in mind some important points.
- Do not resort to any physical punishment (the pet will harbor a grudge and will definitely take revenge on you).
- Shame the cat only during the “crime” (belated lectures won’t change his mind).
- Do not throw out the old scratching post, the smell of which is familiar to the animal (it will be very hard for it to get used to the new one).
- Finally, do not shout at the cat (use your tone of voice, but not the volume).
Owners of cats, who do the daily motions, are lucky in this respect, because any tree is a big scratching post, and no one will swear for its exploitation.