If you own a cat, then you would be aware by now how your feline loves to scratch stuff up. And there is no better target than the household furniture! Now, that is a huge problem if you don’t know how to go about getting your cat’s attention off the furniture unto another worthy target.
But this challenge can be overcome only if you learn how to train your feline friend to use a scratching post for her antics.
First of all, why do cats scratch their paws? Is it a “thing” for all cats to scratch things up? Well, the truth is that cats scratch their paws for one reason only: to spread their scent or in other words, to mark their territory. This helps them to not only feel secure but to also readily identify their territory.
Another reason why cats scratch their paws is they do so to shed their claws. The act of scratching also helps felines to stretch their muscles. As you can see, there are several advantages of letting your feline companion to scratch their paws. But the thing is, your furniture is taking the brunt of it.
What about trimming your cat’s nails, you ask? Yes, that would ease the scratching, but the problem is that your feline will have lost her defense mechanism and that can be very dangerous.
But you don’t have to worry about a thing; in this article, you will read about some tricks and tips you can implement or put into practice to help you solve this problem.
Now, you know the reason why your feline scratches up stuff. But you need to get her attention unto something other than your furniture when she wants to scratch her paws. You need to teach your cat how to use a scratching post.
Starting as early as possible
If you have a litter of kittens, you can start teaching or training them to use a scratching post. Starting the training that early is good so that the habit becomes ingrained in them.
But what if you have an adult cat? Yes, it is possible to train an adult cat to use a scratching post, though it requires more perseverance and tenacity on your part.
Buy an attractive scratching post that your feline will fall in love with
Sometimes, it comes down to finding the ideal kind of scratching post that will appeal to your feline. You won’t get it right the first time or the second, so it is only by trial and error that you can find the right kind of scratch post that your cat loves.
Therefore, be open to experimentation; test and test until you hit on the one that works. For instance, some cats prefer a horizontal scratch post as against a vertical surface. The most important thing, however, is to find the best one that fascinates your cat.
Find the best place to position the scratching post
At times, it has nothing to do with the quality or attractiveness of the scratching post but the location. You need to understand that placing the scratch post where your feline can easily access it is paramount and must be considered as well.
One pro tip that would be of help is that in most cases, cats do their scratching antics just before they catnap. The perfect place to put the scratching post, therefore, is where your cat loves to take her naps.
But if your wallet is on the fat side, you should also consider buying and placing several scratching posts at different parts of your home. Position the scratching posts at strategic places where your feline loves to hang out, and you will be amazed at how she maximizes its use.
Another pro tip is to take note of the furniture that your cat has taken a fancy to and place one scratching post near it. The post will divert your feline friend’s attention excellently well, thus making her focus on this new thing instead of your furniture.
Affirmations and rewards work well
Great training is “great” if affirmations and rewards accompany it, and this is no different. Remember that you are training your pet to focus her scratching attention on a post instead of your beloved furniture.
So, whenever your feline companion scratches the post instead of the furniture, reward her immediately. But if she insists on playing with your cherished furniture, you need to be firm and let her know what she is doing is wrong.
You can also entice your feline to use the scratching post by placing plants of the mint family – known as catnip – on and around the post. You can also hang your cat’s favorite toy on the scratching post so that she can play with it. Your cat will sooner or later get the hang of it and start playing or using the scratching post accordingly.
Don’t permit anything, no matter what
Cats can be pretty stubborn as well, and if you are lucky to own one with such behavior, your work will be cut out for you. If your cat insists on scratching up your furniture, it’s time to put your foot down and use your voice to let your feline know that her actions are inappropriate.
Stay “Stop!” in a loud voice the next time she starts scratching your furniture. This will startle your pet, especially if you are not someone who used to shout or talk loudly. Over time, your pet will come to understand that she needs to stop her inappropriate behavior and align herself to instructions.
Spritzing some water on your pet when she starts scratching the furniture will also deter or dissuade your cat.
Cats are adorable and high-spirited, but keep in mind the reasons why cats scratch their paws. It is a natural phenomenon that you shouldn’t try to stop, but the key is training your pet as early as possible. This will help you to overcome the ordeal of your pet scratching up your furniture and other things as well.