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post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
What are my alternatives?

We have 4 cats for just under a year now and they have completely destroyed our townhouse. We've found the carpet totally destroyed in at least 3 places and the doorframes have chunks of wood taken out of them from deep clawing. We're not here all day to control their behavior as we've tried the spray bottle. They rather use the doorframes than their scratching post and carpeted kitty condo.

We have thousands of dollars of repairs to do on this townhouse that we've been in just under a year.

My question is, dose soft claws stop them from scratching? If you clip their claws, don't they re-sharpen them??

If nothing can be done to stop this destructive behavior I'll have to:
a. Get rid of them
b. Declaw them

Any advice or suggestions?
post #2 of 11
I am moving this thread to the behavior forum where the experts on cat behavior can give you some help.
post #3 of 11

You face a common problem and I hope that your solution will be NOT to declaw these high energy cats.

First please would you tell me (us) their approximate ages? Are they neutered/spayed? Indoor/outdoor? Indoor only? History if you can on how you got them?

Thanks for asking BEFORE acting!
post #4 of 11
Believe it or not, it is not that difficult to stop this behavior. Many people do not realize that the reasons cats scratch are as follows:
1. As part of stretching
2. To scent mark their favorite spots
3. To remove loose pieces of their claws
4. I'm sure there are other reasons I'm forgetting

So, the secret to stopping inappropriate clawing is to first, make the places they currently claw unattractive and second, give them appropriate substitutions.

To make current places unattractive try these ideas
1. Put double sided-tape on the places they scratch. MOst cats hate sticky stuff and will avoid those spots once they realize the tape is there.
2. Put a sheet of aluminum foil over the places they scratch
3. Hang bubble wrap over the scratching spots
4. Spray a mixture of lemon juice and water where they are scratching (or spray a citrus spray from the store)
5. or spray the scratching spots with Feliway (purchase at most pet stores)

Make sure that before you do any of the above that you FIRST provide appropriate places for the cats to scratch!

So what is an appropriate place to scratch?
1. Some cats like vertical scratching posts, others prefer scratching pads that lay flat on the floor. Most of my cats really love the cheap cardboard scratching pads you can buy at WalMart.
2. A vertical post must be tall and sturdy. If it isn't tall enough to completely stretch out, they probably won't use it. Also, if it wobbles when they scratch, they probably won't use it.
3. Think about what the scratching post is made of. Some cats like the carpet posts. Mine don't! My cats who like the vertical posts prefer that they be covered with sisal.
4. Place the scratching pads and posts right next to the places they are scratching inappropriately right now.
5. If they are not using the scratching pads or posts, try rubbing the post/pad with catnip.
6. Reward the cats for using the scratching pad/post with lots of praise, scratches under the chin, and perhaps even a treat or two.

Once the cats are reliably using their scratching pads/posts you can remove the double-sided tape or foil or bubble wrap. But keep spraying with citrus or feliway for a couple more weeks to better ensure they will not return to the naughty spots.
post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 
I have a male and a female both just over a year old. I also have their mama, approximatley 2-3 years old. All three are "fixed". The mama use to be an indoor/outdoor cat. She's been inside ever since I fostered and adopted her. The two kittens have never been outside.

The mom was discovered in a boat over a year ago having kitens. I was doing volunteer work at CAAWS when I lived there and I agreed to take her and the babies and foster them. I've had them since they were 3 days old. I kept 2 out of the 6 kittens and moved out of state. I went back a few months later and adopted the mama.

I've had cats all my life and I've never seen such destructive behavior. I know they're just kittens and they are playing... but I'm having it pay, lol, in a big way!

The male is the worse with the destruction, then the mama, and finally the little female. Funny, her name is Innocence!
post #6 of 11
Also, please click here for an excellent article about stopping scratching.
post #7 of 11
LOL! Not an appropriate name for this kitten I gather?

You want to reprogram them on where they can scratch. You want to provide them with alternate places to scratch- several different varieties of scratchers. I heartily recommend a turbo scratcher. Big hit over in my home with my multitude of cats. You can get one online at Pet Discount or at Petsmart.

I have one couch upstairs that all the cats know they can scratch on to their hearts content. The other furniture is off limits to them, and they know this too.

No squirt guns were necessary just patience and time and giving them horizontal and vertical scratchers as well as that alternative couch in the cat room.
post #8 of 11
I always forget about Turbo Scratcher. After Hissy reminded me of this great exerciser a few weeks ago, I went and bought one.

My cats are going bonkers over it....and they are old. So I can just imagine how much your kittens will love it. So, dash right out and get one of these great toys for your crew!
post #9 of 11
Oh....I also forgot to mention how important it will be to clip your kitten's claws. If you start now while they are still kittens, it will become just a normal routine and they will be less likely to fight you while you are doing it as they grow up.

If you keep their claws clipped, they will do little damage if they are being naughty and scratching the wrong place.
post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 
My better half called the vet for cost of the procedure, that's when I posted here. Thanks for the information. We discussed it after reading the post here and the link we decided to work on training them while we still can. We'll go shopping at Pet Smart tomorrow.

I cliped the tips of mamas claws, she didn't mind, but those kittens, there's no holding them down and I'm scared to even attempt them. Perhaps when they're sleeping? LOL

As for the name Innocence, my mom could only sarcastically laugh at her name.
post #11 of 11
Originally posted by MsFit
those kittens, there's no holding them down and I'm scared to even attempt them. Perhaps when they're sleeping? LOL
Believe it or not, several members do just that! It is a lot easier to clip a deeply sleeping cat than to clip one who is wide awake!

Also, I am so very glad that y'all decided to train your little terrors rather than having them declawed. They are young enough that you should have great success.

Good luck!
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