The “3 D’s” to prevent your cat from scratching the furniture
by Maggie Sharp
(Hobart, Tasmania, Australia)
A great alternative - the dispacement method mentioned below - photo by aJ GAZMEN ツ GucciBeaR (Flickr)
To those people who think it's okay to have your cat declawed just because it scratches the furniture, I have 2 things to say to you. 1) Keep reading. 2) You're insane.
I was looking around and came across an article written by Drs. Foster & Smith Educational Staff so I thought I'd share it. This posting is based directly on the recommendations of that article.
1. DETER scratching by using sprays and tape. The most common place to scratch is the corners of upholstered sofas and chairs. Tape such as Sticky Paws Strips makes it very irritating for a cat to scratch where the tap is and they will avoid it. This is because their paws are extremely sensitive to help detect prey through vibrations. Another deterrent is a herbal spray that replaces the territorial marker that is left behind on the scratched area. Cats tend to return the same area to reinforce the scent left behind and this deters that process. Both these deterrent are almost invisible but highly effective.
2. DISPLACE the area where your cat scratches. Providing alternatives to upholstered furniture such as well designed scratching posts will encourage your cat to scratch elsewhere. Note: from Michael (Admin): Certain kinds of furniture is much less attractive as an area to scratch. I use leather furniture which although is not guaranteed to prevent scratching is much less interesting which encourages the use of a better alternative such as a scratching post.
Certain types of scratching post or device can be selected to replace the area that is being scratched:
-- If the problem area is around door frames and/or the wooden legs of desks, you might consider a piece of cat furniture or a post made of cedar.
-- Alternatively, if your cat uses the upholstered sides of your couch or your best rug, you might select a carpeted cat tree or perch.
-- Sisal, a marine-grade rope that scratches back, is a feline favorite for many cats. There are many types. You might try a vertical post or tree.
A pinch or spray of catnip on the new scratching area encourages use of the scratching device.
This is a post I made 2 years ago! on preventing damage to furniture. I have learnt more since but it is still useful, I feel.
3. DULL your cat's claws to minimise/eliminate damage. Trimming a cat's claws is a very effective way of achieving this. A good quality (veterinary-quality) clipper is recomended and perhaps your vet might show you how he or she does it. There are other devices that are safe to use (i.e. which prevent the risk of trimming too deep). One device is like a file, which abrades the claw rather than cuts it.
The paw should be gently squeezed to expose the claw. Cats who resist can sometimes be more accepting if wrapped in a soft towel or a product called a Klaw Kontrol Bag for safe restraint.
An alternative to trimming is sheathing the claws with, for example, Soft Claws Nail Caps which glue on easily. They last about 4-6 weeks and don't interfere with normal claw retraction/extension. Note from Michael (Admin): some people think that claw covers are not much better than declawing (Finn is one of those people and he says so here: Claw caps not really any better than declawing). The bottom line, though is that if they prevent a declaw they are successful. They are a kind of poor compromise, I think. The better technique is deter and displace, I feel.
Please remember the 3 D's to curb this problem. It might take a bit of training (reward based training is the only type) but it is the best, indeed only, way. Or like me you can just accept some damage and chill out about it.
4. DECLAWING IS NOT AN OPTION! (No, that wasn't in the article.). This is the fourth D and it is the bad one.
I hope those whom are considering declawing their cat, read this and know that declawing is cruel and there are alternatives.
Hi Maggie... thanks very much for picking up these good tips. I modified the article to avoid any possibility of copyright issues. Thanks for being copyright aware by the way....Michael