To stop a cat scratching furniture, may either save the life of the cat or at least its claws, in the United States . Under their rules (declawing policy), American veterinarians who are members of the American Veterinarian Medical Association can remove claws if the owner cannot successful train their cat to stop damage. The veterinarian has an obligation to educate cat owners with regard to declawing cats (feline onychectomy).
The policy is crazy from the point of view of the cat and is very unreasonable. The AVMA openly admits in this policy that declawing can take place for non-therapeutic reasons. It could be strongly argued that it is a crime under the criminal code of most states of the USA to do this. It is a crime in the UK. Also we are told by the Cat Fanciers Association that veterinarians routinely suggest declawing. This would seem to fly in the face of veterinarians “to provide cat owners with complete education with regard to feline onychectomy”.
Well, that said, if cat owners could more successfully train their cats to use a scratching post it should prevent some declawing of cats. I don’t bother because my cat doesn’t do much “damage” and in any case I don’t care that much because I accepted that it would happen 40 years ago.
An acceptance of some scratching damage is a great release. It solves the problem of your cat scratching furniture at a stroke. No more worry about precious furniture that some cat owners value over the interests and claws of their cat companion. As a cat, I am not sure I would like to be the companion of a person who values their furniture over my life or my health! I’d run!
The following are some tips on how to stop a cat scratching furniture. T
In support of the above, which encourage use of the scratching post, preventative measures can be taken to stop or discourage a cat scratching furniture. Here are some ideas from Cats International (new window):
A cat scratching furniture should be within our grasp to manage and certainly in preference to amputating the tips of its paws! The former is a longer harder route to prevent a cat scratching furniture but much more humane, ethical, decent, caring and proper. Oh, and cheaper.
A cat scratching furniture is an all too common “problem”. A lot of people would call this poor behavior or unacceptable behavior etc. etc.
But to whom is this behavior unacceptable? My cat Binnie nearly always scratches the “wrong thing”. I’ll put a nice post down and she’ll ignore it. I’ll try something else, such as putting an old sweater over a scratching post and she’ll ignore that too and go back to being a cat scratching furniture again.
In fact she’ll just do what she wants to do whether its scratching something or sleeping somewhere.
Why is she so intent on scratching my favorite furniture, the chair I always sit in?
Well for a cat, of course, everything that she does is not a problem to her as it is natural to her. It helps if we consider that often “cat problems” are, in fact, our problems in not being able to accept cat behavior.
We have an unwritten agreement with our cat companions and our human companions. We accept each other for what we are. Your cat accepts your behavior remember.
There are three reasons why a cat scratches furniture.
She is is not sharpening her claws in the manner of sharpening a kitten knife, but forcing off the top layer of her claws (the outer sheath, which is worn out). This is a bit like a snake shedding skin.
I often see my cat’s claw sheaths lying about the place. They could be anywhere. Sometimes she’ll pull then off with her teeth while grooming at the bottom of the bed. She leave behind, her claw sheaths, mud, hair and wet mess
The sheaths that are left behind on the bed that she pulled of with her teeth will be from her hind feet. I guess this is common sense as it is not possible to scratch in the same way with hind legs.
My cat also needs to exercise her claws (she exercises nothing else by the way, unless I push her hard). Claws come out and go back in before and after scratching and this mechanism needs to be used from time to time to keep it in good working order.
Thirdly, and this is why she loves wrecking your best chair, she deposits scent on the object that she is scratching. The scent comes from the pads on her feet. The scratching action squeezes it out and rubs it in.
She deposits scent to make the place more friendly for her. She rub against you for the same reason, depositing her scent from glands on the side of her face for example. This is a form of greeting.
It can be a bit tricky stopping a cat scratching furniture. The answer, of course, is not declawing . I have discussed that on other pages of this site. Declawing takes away a part of your cat’s psyche as well as her body and it hurts like hell.
You can try putting some double sided tape on the bit she likes and at the same time encourage use of another object. For me the best answer is to have an old piece of furniture that you have used a lot (plenty of you on it) and don’t mind being scratched.
So the next time you’re thinking of buying some new furniture keep a piece of the old and make it “cat scratching furniture”.
One last thing. If your cat scratches you as in the picture, that is almost certainly your fault.
It is probably because in playing with her you went a bit to far and she converted play to practicing hunting.
It’s best to always be sensitive to your cat’s behavioral traits and fit around them rather than your cat fitting in with your behavior. Why?
Because she will act instinctively (reactively). We can act proactively.
Cat Scratching Furniture – The lower image is copyright alexanderthegreatest, reproduced under creative commons Flickr
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