How Can I Stop My Cat From Ruining My Home?
Many humans will refuse to adopt cats simply for the fact that they have claws and could scratch up their furniture, carpet or other household items. Some people (especially in rented spaces) can’t afford to have their cats scratching the furniture, carpet or walls. In this guide we will help you understand the importance of ‘the act of scratching’ for cats – and teach you how to correct this behavior without harming your kitty.
Why Cats Use Their Claws To Scratch Things
Scratching is in the DNA of our cats. It’s in their instinctive nature to use their claws in this way. This is one of many reasons that declawing cats is now considered inhumane worldwide and banned in many countries and cities. Here’s why cats need to scratch:
- To build muscle strength in their legs
- To reduce their stress
- To sharpen their claws
- To shed the sheath off their nails
- To mark their territory
Depriving our cats of these basic needs is not wise or kind. However, there are many ways we can redirect our cats to still have the ability to scratch – without ruining our home.
How To Redirect Cats From Scratching Furniture & Carpet
- Provide sturdy, alternative scratching posts. One of the biggest mistakes cat parents make is purchasing a tiny, flimsy, stand alone scratching post and expect their cats to use this instead of the furniture. The reason they prefer the furniture is because it is strong and sturdy. Make or purchase a sturdy scratching post – or horizontal scratch pad – and place it in front of or on the areas they like to scratch.
- Provide the type of scratching pad or post preferred. If your cat is scratching your carpet, giving them a vertical scratching post likely won’t help. Try purchasing or making a horizontal scratching pad out of wood and carpet or sisal rope, so your kitty can scratch happily.
- Provide enough scratching areas. One scratching post probably won’t cut it. If you want your kitty to steer clear of all the furniture in the house, be sure to offer several options for scratching in different areas of the house.
- Deter the unwanted scratching with double sided tape. Once cats have a negative experience with something, they tend to not try it again. Placing double-sided sticky tape on the area of the furniture or carpet that they scratch will help deter them from this area. They don’t like the feel of it on their paws, so they’ll be more likely to use the wonderful alternative post or pad you’ve provided.
- Deter the unwanted scratching with organic citrus spray. Scent is so important and powerful to our cats. Just as with the tape, certain citrus smells will deter cats. Organic orange extract mixed with water and sprayed on the furniture can make your cat want to scratch elsewhere.
- Train your cat with positive reinforcement. Cats, just like dogs, can be trained to do (and not do) certain things. Scratching furniture is one of them. Go online and learn how to clicker train your cat. This not only helps to stop the unwanted behavior, it will also build the bond between you and your kitty – while providing extra mental and emotional enrichment!
If you’re an aspiring crazy cat lady, you may instead consider purchasing used furniture and allow your kitties to scratch where they wish. We never purchase something that is more important to us than our cats needs. 🙂
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