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4. SHREDDING FURNITURE

Why does my cat scratch my furniture & how can i prevent it?

 

To fix problems it is first important to understand their origins

 

Cats scratch for a variety of reasons

 

They like to stretch their muscles limbs & tendons from time to time, just as we might.

Scratching helps to blunten claws & remove old husks which have shed naturally, something like clipping fingernails.

Cats have scent glands in their paws that leave messages, scratching posts can act as feline notice boards. Other cats may come along & add their own scent signature by scratching on the same spot.

Scenting & scent marking also reassures & instills a sense of security, cats are social animals & may wish to contribute their scent to the social environment, to feel a part of it. They will choose somewhere highly visible.

Being told off for what they see as positive behaviour will be very confusing.

Some cats prefer to scratch horizontally along a doormat rather than vertically. Locating a natural doormat such as sisal nearby often does the trick for these cats.

Does your cat scratch a piece of furniture right in front of you?

They are probably adding their scent to the social group, flexing their muscles & showing off to you & any to other personality in the vicinity. They like to demonstrate that they are fine examples of felines & reassure themselves & you that "I'm an important & useful member of the group!"

They may scratch things just for curiosity or play, experiencing the varying sensations coming from digging claws into different textured materials & objects.

 

Solutions to the shredding of furniture

 

Provide an immediately alternative option - strategic location of a scratching post may just solve the problem entirely.

Once they have left a scent, they will want to sink their claws into that same place again. Putting a scratch post in front of that place, or hanging a flat scratching board over the area will encourage them to use that instead. Once they have scented the more appropriate surface, it can be gradually moved away. However it is best to keep it close as possible, they have chosen that spot themselves, to scratch & show off & they may desire to return to it regardless of any scents elsewhere.

Ignore them for incorrect behaviour, they are probably doing it for the attention, positive or otherwise. If they are bored & it gets you up from your seat, they may see it as a game. They will not understand that it irritates you, they may just see it as fun.

You can gently (temporarily) put a flat board or something similar to block their access to the furniture if they continue, providing they have an alternative scratch post immediately to hand.

Warmly praise & reward correct actions, encourage them positively.

Romney house recommends using Sticky Paws as a gentle deterrent

Never scold them, they won't understand.

You can wash the previously scented area with a mild cleaning product, this may help but the cats memory will remain, providing an alternative post is best. Be aware that introducing completely new scents could encourage more serious scent marking, dependent on the character in question.

Cats love a scratching post in the right spot

Cats love a scratching post in the right spot

Flexing & stretching muscles

Flexing & stretching muscles

Give them something to get their claws into

Give them something to get their claws into

Different textures feel good to paws and claws

Different textures feel good to paws and claws

They are showing that they are relaxed and happy

They are showing that they are relaxed and happy

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