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Anyone else use timeout?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
I have had so much trouble getting my cat Lola to not scratch the couch.

I've gotten her every possible kind of scratching item, and she's just not interested. I got her soft paws, but those only stayed on for a few days. I was squirting her with water, but she seemed to think it was a game.

I've finally decided that she likes the attention, so just today I started picking her up gently whenever she's scratching the couch and putting her in the bathroom alone for five minutes.

I'm wondering if anyone else has tried this, if it worked for you, and if so how long it took to change the behavior.

post #2 of 9
Five minutes is a bit extensive to punish a cat for something he can't help doing. Cats don't really make the connection that they are bad, because scratching is a natural tendency that they couldn't stop if they wanted. As they scratch, they stretch thier backs and obtain a pleasurable emotional release. Have you heard about the turbo scratcher? It is a toy/scratching pad for cats and is quite effective. Also sticky paws works as well. You want to be sure that the scratching post your cat has is adequate for him. It should be natural wood or sisal covered, I have a link below of a place that has wonderful cat benches and scratching posts that cats love, because they are from natural wood.

It can't be wobbly- is your couch wobbly? If it were, would you sit on it? Well if the cat post is to short, or wobbly, your cat will disregard it as not what he needs. The post has to be tall, sturdy and even buying two posts is a good idea. Good luck!

Natural Tree
post #3 of 9
Cover the place she likes to scratch with double sided tape and then place a tall sturdy scratching post right next to the place she likes to scratch (as Hissy described). All but one of my cats actually prefer the cheap cardboard scratching pads, so I have them scattered around the house. The one cat who likes upright scratching prefers to scratch on a sisal post.

I have also heard that (in addition to the things described above) that if you spray the places a cat is scratching with Feliway, that the scratching will stop. I haven't tried that myself, so I'm not sure how well that works.

Time-out will likely not work on this because the scratching is instinctual behavior. Instead, redirecting the instinctual behavior to a more appropriate outlet is the way to go.

Good luck!
post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your suggestions. I'll keep working on them, but I've tried absolutely everything I've read on theses boards, and nothing works. I've spent a ton of money buying her all kinds of different scratching items and surfaces and made sure they're sturdy, etc. She completely ignores every one of them. I've sprayed the couch with stuff I got at Petco - no deal. Double-sided tape, aluminum foil - none of it works.

What makes it worse is that she is one of the few cats who couldnt' care less about catnip, so even that isn't an option!
post #5 of 9
i only use time out when moe and neo fight and there is hissing, claws and fur flying involved. They I seprate them for a few mintues once they start playing footies under the door i let them out again and give them some treats. Stops the fighting every time!
I just keep there nails trimmed and even though they claw the couch it doesn't seem to do much damange.
post #6 of 9
Yea, try trimming their nails. When their nails are trimmed they usually will do about as much damage as a person scratching at a couch's surface. My chairs have felt the damage of my cats' claws, but since we have kept their claws trimmed there hasn't been further damage.
post #7 of 9
Hi Danielle and welcome!

So sorry you have been throuh so much with Lola. i feel for both of you.

Just to share with you on a personal level:

With my own kitties, i groom them pretty regularly. Thus, i have a chance to check on their nails. i trim their nails regularly, to ensure they are short and neat. (Oh yes, please be careful about cutting into the pink "quick" areas.)

Also, i get them interested in scratching their nails on the dedicated posts/pads by doing it myself. You see i scratch the sisal ropes on their tree or any scratch posts i buy for them with my own nails. It works with them... teehee!

i was thinking: whenever you see your kitty scratch your couch, could you bring a mini scratch pad at that area, and start scratching the pad with your own nails? Hopefully, she will know there are better and more appropriate avenues?

Somehow, i tend to opt for positive reinforcements: squirting bottles and putting her in bathroom might be construed as "punishment' or something. Just my personal opinion of course, feel free to discard everything i share.

Kitties love heights and window views. Could you provide a window view of some sort? Both my kitties look out of the window different times throughout the day. i think it is great to broaden their horizons. Also, a tree is great, as it is an spot for your kitty to climb, play or simply relax.

Your baby sounds friendly, vivacious and sweet.

i always encourage all my friends to play interactive toys with their kitties (great time to bond as well.)

Most cats love playing with these toys. They come in many forms : a bug, feathers, slithering snakes, pheasant feathers, feathers, etc. They are such teasers and most kitties are pretty intrigued by them.

Smiles and Cheers!
post #8 of 9
I used time out for my kitten when she kept pulling my net curtains down. First I totally ignored her, thinking she would get bored, but she kept going until they fell down. Then I would make a loud noise behind her to distract her, but still she kept on. In the end I shut her in my bedroom on her own for 15 minutes, this worked. She has never pulled the cutain down since. Obviously a differnet length will be needed for different cats, but it can work. Persevere, you will succeed. Good luck. The kitten in question is pictured.
post #9 of 9
have you tried a tin can with pennies inside?

I haven't, but I got this tin, with some stuff in it, when I picked it up it made noise from the stuff inside, and my cat went running for his life....I was just organising my stuff, and haven't needed to discipline him, but if I did I know this noise will stop him from doing whatever I don't want him to do...

the trick is for the cat not to see use use it, watch from a distance..then make the noise when he starts to stratch, several repeats should fix the problem..

and trimming the nails really does keep the damage down,

for me what worked was clapping my hand when they strached the couch, and say "no" then I gently pick them up, bring them to their there post and stracth it myself...

I only had to do this for 2-5 days, then, I just praise them whenever I see them use the post...i say "good girl or boy" in my soft happy voice and give them a treat too sometimes, and they haven't bothered with the couch since... but the do still use the carpet on the floor, occasionally, but since the nails are trimmed, it doesn't do any damage..
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