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Scratching Problems got you down?  

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Does the side of your couch look like shredded wheat? Are the table legs on your coffee table resembling toothpicks because of claw action? Are you contemplating declawing your cat thinking you have tried everything else? Well DON’T! Here are some tips to help you reprogram your cat to scratch on appropriate surfaces:

It is instinctive for cats to scratch. They need to keep their claws sharp, as well as to shed the outer casings of their nails from time to time. You getting angry because a cat is following instinct, is a no win situation for you. Scratching also is important to them because they have sweat glands in their pads, and they want it known that they were here. So they leave their mark.

If the side of your couch is being assaulted try attaching one of the following deterrents:

Sticky Paws http://www.petsmart.com/products/product_20586.shtml

Bubble wrap- with the bubbles facing outward

Balloons- once they pop the cat will be startled and go away

Aluminum Foil

Shelf paper, with the sticky side out-

Spray the couch with a lemon scented air freshener once a day

Empty soda pop cans, tie a string around the pop top of several cans, add a few marbles or ball bearings inside- drape the cans over the couch so they hang down the side, and tuck the string down under the cushions, securing it with duct tape.

Here’s an idea, find an old armchair at a garage sale and let that be the designated scratching chair. Smear catnip on the sides so the cats know they can scratch there, hang toys all over it and let this chair be the Cat’s chair. Or take an old wooden step stool and tie toys to it, and give it to your cat as a scratching post present.

“But I bought a scratching post and he won’t go near it...â€

Hmmm- there has to be a reason for this, because cats love to scratch. First, it has to be tall enough so the cat can lean up into it and stretch his back at the same time.

Is it sturdy enough? If it wobbles, brace it, screw it down to the floor if you have to, but make it so it will not move. Does your couch move? Nope, this is why cats go to couches and chairs. Immobile objects do not move. So get to work and fasten that post right down.

Place the post near an open doorway. Start feeding the cat on the base of the pad for cats love a good scratch after a nice meal.

Hang toys on it, to encourage him to start using it.

Or buy a cat condo- yes, they are expensive, and if you buy one cheap, you might as well save your money. One of the best ones I have found on the market are found at http://www.cozycatcondos.com/ even while putting it together, it is sturdy enough that the cats are on it before it is finished being assembled.

Give your cat more than one option for scratching. Buy vertical and horizontal scratching pads, posts. One of the favorite scratching toys with my crew is the turbo scratcher . Buy a couple extra cardboard inserts when you make your initial purchase. http://www.lockepet.com/itm00087.htm Use the type that hang off of doorknobs, experiment with the different styles, there are plenty to be found.

"But I don't want to buy a scratching post or condo, they are too expensive!" Then visit www.cat-tree-plans.com and order a CD that tells you how to make your own!

Or try this product: http://www.birminghamind.com/Scratchaway/index.html

Don’t hide this post in a room off the back of the house; place it in the room that gets the most traffic.

And don’t get mad at your cat! Put away the squirt bottle, stop yelling and getting frustrated. Trying to keep a cat from scratching is a fruitless pursuit. Even declawed cats will go through the motions of scratching, because they cannot help themselves.

PLEASE DON’T DECLAW- it is inhumane and a torment that no cat should have to deal with. Before you even decide to do this- please read this link:


Think about soft paws:


Please know that if you are stressed out at your cat scratching your furniture that stress can fold-over to the cat and make the behavior worse. Again, we have asked these cats to adapt to our world, and in time they have. But we cannot stop innate behavior and trying will only frustrate. Instead give the cat or kitten more options, even if it is going out to the Local Park or beach and dragging home a tree limb or piece of driftwood. One of my cats’ favorite places to play is on an old piece of driftwood we found on the beach. I brought it home and hosed it off and scrubbed it down and let it air dry, then took it upstairs to put in the cat room. The cats all love it.

Another thing I have done is build a small ladder and ran it from the floor to the top of the counter, and secure it so it can’t move. The cats run up and down it all the time and use it for scratching purposes. There are so many types of scratching posts on the market today- ones wrapped with sisal, some carpeted, natural wood, cardboard. Get creative, the solution is out there, and the cat can keep his claws that nature gave him, and you can keep your sanity!
post #2 of 8
I want to highlight the suggestions Hissy gave that worked best in my house.

The cats I raised from kittens never scratched the furniture because I introduced them to scratching posts and pads from the first day they lived in my house. These cats all prefer sisal pads that lie on the floor.

However, the last two cats we adopted were adult ferals. They had no way of knowing what the appropriate places to scratch were in my house, and they immediately targeted the chairs and rugs.

So, once I realized what was going on I immediately put double-sided tape on the furniture they were scratching on. I then went out and purchased a huge scratching post (because for some reason, these new cats didn't like the sisal scratching pads preferred by all of my other cats). Sadly, the new cats also didn't like the carpeted scratching post, so I kept searching and trying new things.

It turned out that these new cats went bonkers over the cheap cardboard scratching pads I bought at WalMart and PetsMart for about $9.00. I placed a cardboard scratching pad on the rug and another by the chair and I haven't had a problem with scratching since that time!

Oh....one of my new cats also loves our bark-covered real-wood 6 foot tall cat tree. The other cats like to sit in it, but she loves scratching the bark.

Anyway, the key to ending furniture and rug scratching is to be persistant and never give up. There is a solution, just keep trying Hissy's suggestions until you find one (or more) that works for you!
post #3 of 8
I have tried tin foil and bubble wrap on my couch but my cat simply chooses a place next to it. I don't see how this will work unless you completely cover your couch in foil. That'd be quite a sight. I have 2 big pieces of cat furniture and 2 scratching posts but my cat has branched out onto/into my mattress and quilt !! I spray my bed with Feliway to no avail.
post #4 of 8
Try the other ideas posted by Hissy and see whether they help.

If they don't work, try using soft-paws (nail covers). The seem to work wonders.
post #5 of 8
I read this in a book, and thought it was worth a shot with my cat to try to get her to use the scratching post. You scratch the scratching post yourself and act like it is the best thing ever. I felt really silly and couldn't stop laughing while I was doing it, so I felt sure it wouldn't work, but a little time later she used the scratching post for the first time ever! Now she uses both the scratching post and the couchs, so I am going to try some of the things Hissy suggested now.
post #6 of 8
scratching the post yourself really works. When ever I do that all the cats come running and start scratching it too.
We have heavy wooden furnature. The arms and legs are wood so the only thing for them to scratch is the cusions.
Kitty condos are a dream come try! We got both of ours off of http://www.ebay.com All the cats LOVE them and that is where most of them sleep at night.
They also really enjoy the turbo scratcher.
post #7 of 8
To get Emmett to use the scratching post when I first got him was I would place his treats on top of it, I would also play with a toy tied to a string and play around the scratching post so he would scratch on it.

When I caught him scratching where he shouldn't I would pick him up and place him at the scratching post.

He uses the post.

Now he is scratching my end table, walls, doors, everything. Not to sharpen his claws, he does that on the scratching post, but he just clicks his nails down the walls and stuff. Its driving me nuts and I can't stop it!!
post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 
Creepy- put up a bulletin board with a cloth covered one down to the level that Emmet can reach. It will work and cats are drawn to it as well.

I am going to close this thread as it is for information purposes only and some problems might get lost in it.
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