The sound of tearing material is one thing many cat homeowners are all too accustomed to. Maybe you’ve watched because the legs of your favourite arm chair turned shaggy with ripped threads, or spent hours attempting to buff claw marks from a wood flooring.
Scratching comes with the territory of cat possession. But it surely doesn’t imply it’s a must to sacrifice your furnishings to their sharply weaponed whims.
You may’t cease a cat from scratching—nor must you. “It’s an instinctual want. Their claws are a most important type of protection, they usually allow them to catch prey,” Dr. Marci Koski, a feline behavioral advisor and founding father of Feline Habits Options, tells Psychological Floss. “They should maintain that weaponry finely tuned.”
Scratching does extra than simply maintain their claws in tip-top form. It’s a method for cats to mark their territory: Not solely do the scratches present visible proof of their presence, however in addition they depart behind the animal’s scent. It’s why you’ll usually discover your kitty clawing at objects in extremely trafficked areas of your house just like the household room or a doorway.
There are different causes cats scratch, too. It’s an effective way to stretch, and it additionally lets them work out extra power after an thrilling or tense interplay. In case your pet’s in a very playful temper or is tremendous excited to see you after you’ve been away all day, don’t be shocked in the event that they interrupt their zoomies to claw at one thing.
It’s possible you’ll not be capable of cease your cat from scratching, however you may attempt to forestall them from shredding your sofa to bits or gouging the door frames so badly it’s a must to forfeit your condominium’s safety deposit.
Once you’re attempting to persuade your kitty to scratch one thing apart from your furnishings, Koski suggests paying shut consideration to what they like to claw. If, for instance, your cat tends to focus on the leg of a settee, they in all probability wish to scratch vertically; in the event that they usually go for the rug, then search for one thing flat.
It’s sensible to put money into a top quality scratching put up. A scratcher’s materials is essential, too, so attempt to discover in case your pet exhibits a choice for something like wooden, carpet, or sisal.
The scale of your scratcher issues as effectively. “Small, low cost scratchers are for folks, not cats,” Koski says. “They aren’t steady or sufficiently big. I inform folks to get a giant put up on a non-skid floor.” She recommends the SmartCat Final 32-in Sisal Cat Scratching Put up, because it’s made from an interesting sisal materials, and is tall and durable sufficient for cats to truly get pleasure from and really feel safe utilizing.
The place you really put the scratching put up is essential, too. Cats often claw issues in extremely trafficked areas, so tucking your scratching put up into an unused nook of a not often visited room received’t be very interesting to them.
Don’t pressure your pet to make use of the scratching put up in the event that they’re ignoring it. “Cats are impartial,” Koski says. “They do issues on their very own time.” Coercing them into utilizing a scratching put up is more likely to create a detrimental affiliation with the item. As a substitute, use constructive reinforcement. Koski suggests holding a deal with or dangly toy above the put up to encourage your cat to the touch it. As soon as they voluntarily put their paws on it, there’s a superb likelihood the feel will encourage them to start out scratching it on their very own.
If a scratching put up nonetheless isn’t chopping it, you may strive clicker coaching, or flip to a brief answer resembling protecting the sides of your furnishings with double-sided tape. The tape’s texture might dissuade some cats from clawing, however it isn’t a everlasting answer, and it received’t work for each pet. “It’s important to watch out,” Koski cautions. “Some cats will attempt to eat the tape and a few received’t care that it’s there.”
It could go with out saying, however by no means declaw your cat. Irrespective of how irritating the furnishings scratching could also be, it by no means justifies placing your animal via a painful—and in some locations, unlawful—process.