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How to Get Your Cat to Stop Clawing

By PetcoBlogger on Jun. 29, 2016

Cats like to scratch. It’s normal behavior that allows them to mark their territory with their scent. When they scratch, the outer layers of their claws are sometimes removed; this conditions their claws and allows them to stretch the muscles in their paws. Scratching feels good to a cat. 

The art of scratching isn’t bad, until your cat applies this habit to your furniture. Wooden tables, upholstered sofas, and wicker chairs are all fair game—until you teach your cat that it is not okay to scratch the furniture. 

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To deter your cat from scratching the furniture, buy them a few scratching posts or other cat furniture. These range from simple cardboard boxes that come with catnip to more elaborate ones covered in carpet. There are also sisal models and wooden ones. Start out with something simple like the cardboard boxes or the sisal ones. It makes sense to purchase more than one, so you can place them in different rooms in your house. To encourage your cats to use them, you can sprinkle or spray catnip on them. 

You can also purchase sprays that work to deter cats from scratching the furniture. Tape is available, too. Double-sided tape is a deterrent because cats don’t like sticky surfaces. Bubble wrap also works because cats don’t like the popping sound it makes. You can wrap the arms of your sofa—prime scratching territory—with bubble wrap. Not all methods will work on every cat, so experiment a little bit to see which work best for yours.

Combat boredom

Cats can get bored, and they often scratch the furniture to get attention. While it’s not positive attention, they are getting you to notice them. If your cat is bored, take out a toy and play with them. A few minutes a few times a day, playing with a ball they can chase, a laser (that you never shine in their eyes), or another cat toy will break their boredom, and may well save your furniture.

Teach your cat positive behavior
Yes, you can train a cat. The real issue here is to be consistent with your training. Each time you see your cat scratching on their scratching post, reward them with praise. You can give him a scratch behind the ear or a treat once in a while. (You don’t want to overdo the treats, though, because eating too many is unhealthy.)
                                      
If you do see them clawing the furniture, give them a gentle but firm “no,” and redirect their attention by playing with them. Praise them for their good behavior. Do this a few times, and they will get the message.

Don’t declaw

Declawing involves the amputation of the last bone of each toe. It is a painful operation, and many veterinarians won’t do it. Plus, if your cat goes outdoors, they will be defenseless. Instead, clip your cat’s nails every two weeks with a good nail clipper. Talk to your veterinarian on how to do this correctly. You should have the right tools, too, such as styptic powder. Your veterinarian will be able to advise you on what you will need. 

You can also purchase plastic claws that you can slip over your cat’s claws for when you are out of the house. After trimming their nails, use the adhesive that comes with the kit and gently slip them on over your cat’s nails. Some cats will resist, so you may need a partner to gently hold your kitty. You can remove the claws when you are home watching them. Each time your cat shows positive behaviors, let them know by telling them that they are great kitties. When you are home, practice praising your cat each time they use the scratching post.

 

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