About two weeks ago I wrote a posting about scratchy cats needing cat insurance. Well here is a guest blog post on the similar topic by Caren Gittleman from Cat Chat!
A cat scratching your cherished furniture, carpet, sweater, etc can be frustrating and send you into a “cat scratch fever”- frenzy, but before you take your frustrations out on your beloved kitty there are a few points that should be understood:
1) DO NOT DECLAW!!! Ask any vet and they will tell you about a myriad of physical and emotional behaviors that can arise as a result of declawing. If you have an indoor cat and think that it will not affect it, think again. You are setting your cat up for disaster should it ever escape and venture into the great outdoors, it will be completely defenseless from natural predators.
2) You CANNOT STOP A CAT FROM DOING ANYTHING- cats are fiercely independent, get real folks, we are not talking about the drooling, jumping, attention hogging, family dog who cannot exist without approval from their “pack”. Cats don’t have “packs” they are free agents, lone wolves, they could frankly care less if you disapprove of them or not, they are going to do what they want, when they want, thank you very much and it is up to you to try and redirect their behavior and provide an acceptable outlet for the behavior.
3) You CANNOT STOP your cat from scratching, it is part of its genetics. A cat scratches for a variety of reasons: exercise, to mark its’ territory, and because it is FUN!!! You cannot stop it but you CAN provide something suitable for your cat to scratch.
I have owned 2 cats and have never, ever experienced significant scratching issues from either one of them. The key is to be observant and to try and re-direct them to an APPROVED scratching object when you first see the cat scratching something that it is not permitted to scratch. I provided scratching posts for both of my cats (all pet stores and pet websites have them, you can also make them yourself). A scratching post should have some type of rough surface (think emery board here!!)
Even the reverse side of a carpet remnant would serve well as an alternate scratching surface. To encourage your cat to use the scratching post you can rub catnip on it, (I have even put a few treats at the base of the post) Your cat is smart, it WILL get the idea.
When you observe the cat scratching an object or area that it is not permitted to scratch, DO NOT SCOLD IT. Gently pick it up and bring it to the scratching post and even if you have to, gently work its’ paws up and down on the post to show the cat the behavior IS permitted in this DO SCRATCH ZONE. You may have to repeat this behavior a few times but trust me, your cat is quite intelligent and it WILL get the idea.
Understanding your cat and accepting the quirks that are part of their evolution and genetics, and providing a safe and accepted outlet for your cat to be just that…..A CAT…..will enhance both of your lives and save alot of chairs in the process!!!!
The author of this blog is Caren Gittleman of the Oakland Press and writes for Cat Chat.