Does your cat have an epic case of cat scratch fever? That is, she sharpens her claws on everything, including your furniture and climbs like a maniac up your curtains or plays with everything until it’s shredded.
Even if your cat just accidentally gets her claws stuck in your favorite sweater from time to time, you have to accept your kitty for who she is, including her claws. In fact, scratching is normal and part of your cat’s nature. Understanding your cat’s scratching habits can help you better understand your cat and how to prevent your furniture from becoming a shredded mess.
Why Do Cats Scratch?
Cats don’t just scratch for the fun of it. They need to scratch. And scratching is part of how they communicate and more!
Cat claws naturally grow in layers. As new layers grow beneath their old nails, cats sharpen their claws to remove or shed the old nail layer.
While you may not smell your cat’s distinct scent on your furniture after she’s done clawing up the arm, other cats can and will know that sofa belongs to your kitty. Scratching helps your cat mark her territory to warn invaders that her home is her home.
Scratching also helps your cat relax and burn away excess stress while allowing her to get some valuable stretching in.
The bottom line is, cats need to scratch to feel their best. So, if you can direct your cat to sharpen her claws in a positive and appropriate way, you can save your furniture and maintain your sanity.
How to Encourage Your Cat to Scratch Appropriately
Options, Options, Options
Providing your kitty with plenty of options that she wants to scratch is the best way to encourage positive scratching. When your cat scratches, notice what objects she’s choosing and find scratching posts, boards, and mats that mimic those objects. Pay attention to:
- Location of the objects
- The texture of the objects
- The shape and orientation of the objects
- And the height of your cat’s scratching
Protect Your Possessions from Scratching and Re-train Your Cat
To prevent your cat from claiming your furniture as her next victim, you need to discourage her from wanting to scratch on it.
Try covering your prized possession in aluminum foil, sandpaper, or double stick tape. You can also deter your kitty from scratching by placing a few cotton balls or a rag with a scent she naturally despises like perfume or cologne. Don’t place theses scents too close to her new scratching toys or mats, though.
Praise your cat for using the positive scratching options you’re providing her. Place a bit of catnip on them to encourage playfulness and positive vibes.
As your cat warms up to the objects that she should scratch, you can slowly move them out of the way and remove the scratch deterrents.
Remember to never punish your kitty for expressing her natural desire to sharpen her claws or scratch.
Other ways to Making Your Cat’s Scratching Habits More Bearable
Trim Your Kitty’s Nails
Your cat’s nails will naturally be sharp, but you can make them a bit less pointy by trimming them. Check out our article that can help you learn a cat-friendly trimming technique.
Try Claw Caps
You can find colorful rubber claw caps that will prevent your cat from shredding your furniture. These can be a little difficult to secure to the nail, so follow the directions or have your vet apply them for you.
ViviPet Angel Cat Mug
— Meow for now —