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How do I get them to use the scratching post(s)?

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
I have had no luck getting my guys to stop scratching the furniture and start using the scratching posts.

I have 2 scratchings things. One is a round thing with a cardboard textured scratching circle that can be replaced, and there is a ball in a tunnel thingy around the edge (the ball goes around but you can't take it out).

The other is one hanging from a doorknob, which is a pioece of wood covered in carpet, and wrapped with very coarse rope.

I've tried putting catnip on it.

I've tried sternly saying "no" when the scratch the furniture, and then taking them to the scratching post and showing them by holding their paws to do the movement.

I did the round floor one for a while but it didn't work. Then tried the hanging one (which would be sturdy once they stood up and their paws were on it).

Any ideas would be greatly appreciated!
post #2 of 18
One tall (4' so they can stretch upward) piece of sono tubing (1/2" thick, strong cardboard used in pouring concrete fence posts) covered in sisal and attached well to a wall should do it - but it still doesn't mean they'll never scratch the furniture. You can buy a citrus smell spray, which they dislike, to use on furn. and it doesn't harm the upholstery.
post #3 of 18
My two won't entertain the scratch post i got them

What they do use though is a horse hair foot mat, so i bought one for their room
post #4 of 18
I agree that just because they scratch their posts doesnt necessarily mean they'll stop scratching the furniture (Ollie uses his post all the time, but still scratches my fabric kitchen chairs sometimes - I use soft paws though)... but I got Oliver to use his post by spraying it with catnip spray, placing a few of his toys and some pieces of kibble on and around it and showing him myself how to use it (scratch it with your hands - dont take their paws to it, they'll just feel uncomfortable about it).... what kind of fabric is your furniture made out of? They obviously like it and the height your furniture is at... I had a problem with Oliver scratching on my legs while I was wearing jeans, so I took an old denim skirt that I couldn't wear anymore because the slit had been ripped up real far (stupid university stairs being far apart) and used it to make a scratching board for him - it just lays on the floor and he scratches it all the time.... so maybe you could find some fabric like what's on your furniture (or wood - whatever it's made of) and develop a scratching post of your own for them...
post #5 of 18
Abby only uses her post occasionally, but I did "show" her how to use it by scratching it myself when she was around. I was amazed when she started scratching it immediately after I did!

She occasionally stretches on the side of our furniture. She used to scratch a little, but I bought the "sticky paws" double sided tape and put that on the furniture for a while and it helped.
post #6 of 18
Thread Starter 
The furniture fabric, what a great idea! I'm just embarrassed I didn't think of it!

I'm gong to get some similar fabric this weekend, cover the posts I have with it now, and see if that helps. And both of them seem to like the lower places too. I'm going to try and simulate the furniture thing, and then put orange on the furniture.

Great idea. I'll let you know how it works out!

post #7 of 18
But that won't give them the real rough scratching surface they need. Maybe do one post with it, but give them something rough to really use too - I've used big hardwood tree stump things in the past, or sisal, etc.
post #8 of 18
Here are a couple of facts/ideas:

Cats like to s t r e t c h when they scratch.....so a tall scratching post is in order.

What better time to s t r e t c h than when you wake up? Cats tend to scratch things near where they sleep. Place your scratch post near their favorite napping areas. Make sure you have more than one post, cats sleep where they please, and they will need to scratch in more than one place to feel secure.

Cats like the smell and texture of sisal......make sure your scratch post is wound with sisal rope.

Entice your cat with catnip sprinkled on the sisal scratching post.

Everytime you see your cat scratching the sisal post, lavish him/her with praise. Do this without fail.

Everytime you see your cat scratching inappropriately, correct imediately with a firm NO, and then place your cat's paws on the sisal post and in a kind voice praise them for scratching in the "good" spot. (Use your hands to move the cats paws in a scratching motion)

Repeat as needed. Cats love rewards for their good deeds, even if they don't always show it. Your praise for their good behavior is a reward your kitty will work for.

On a side note, at any given time we have 5 to 10 kittens and cats in our home. We also have nice furniture, with just a few scratches. Diligent training makes for an extremely well behaved cat/kitten.
post #9 of 18
Thread Starter 
That's the problem, I've tried pretty much most of these things.

The long post I have hanging on the door is covered with carpet, then wrapped in sisal (I just couldn't remember the name). I've done the "NO" thing and brought them to it and praised them while bringing their paws up to it so many times the carpet on teh floor is practically worn off. lol And I've put catnip on it over and over and over.

And they won't go near it unless I bring them to it. I've tried it on the floor too and other places. Rocky will play with the ball part of the other scratching thing, but won't scratch that, even though I've thrown all kinds of catnip in there too, he's seen the fosters I've had doing it, and I've done the paw thing/positive reinforcement with that too. No go.

And it's odd because that other one with the all seems to really attract the fosters to scratch, even if they haven't used scratchers before.

One of the odd things is that Deja Vu likes to scratch the corner bottom of my sofa, and seems to like stretching out like that, not up. Rocky's thing is the lay on the floor on his side and scratch the bottom part of the recliner. They both have their favorite spots, and that's where they keep scratching. Orange will probably stop that, but I am at a loss as to how to get them scratching something appropriate.

And believe me, my guys are not at a loss in any way shape or form for rewards or positive reinforcement. LOL Rocky especially thinks that his very existance is an honor to humanity.

Seriously though, I've had no problems with any other issues. I've stopped Deja Vu from biting and scratching and attacking my ankles, I taught Rocky how to play without ripping my hands and legs up and the difference between toys and skin. I've actually taught Rocky tricks, as well as not only fetching, but going to get his toys when I tell him to. His Mom fetches, and I taught her to wave hello and to give me pats on the cheek. They're smart and they can learn. If they want to. lol

This seems to be the one real problem area, and I'm at a loss. I will buy another type if there's a good chance it will work, but it's tough for me to afford to buy all of them out there.

Are there any other possibilites that migiht work?
post #10 of 18
I'd say if you really cant stop the inappropriate scratching, you may want to try some soft paws nail caps... Oliver wears them and he still uses his post and scratching board all the time, but he still scratches where he's not supposed to occassionally and the soft paws stop any damage... the only times there's a little damage is if a cap or two has fallen off and I havent replaced it yet... its a MUCH more humane option than declawing and saves your furniture and skin.... they're usually $15-20 a pack and each pack come with 40 caps and 2 tubes of glue, they come in sizes kitten to large and you can more often than not get packs of the clear ones at petco or petsmart and you can always get the colored ones on the soft paws website and you can check ebay... the caps dont hinder their usual nail action (they can still pull them in and out of their paws - that sounds weird but i cant think of the right termonology right now, haha) and if you get the clear, you cant even tell they have them on until you get real close... Oliver got used to them real easily and depending on his mood, he's good when I replace them.... good luck - I hope you can either train them to the posts or the soft paws work!
post #11 of 18
Thread Starter 
I would never, ever consider declawing in a million years. And my stuff isn't that good that I really care about it or would get those things. I would only resort to those nail things if I had a baby or child in the house and the cat mgiht be a danger. I'd rather have a cat-friendly house. So my stuff isn't the most goreous. that's not the issue.

But I would like it to at least last for a few years. lol So I'm really hoping to find a way to get them to use the scratching post.

They won't use it at all. Can't seem to get them to make the connection.

But they're smart enough to learn how to get the door open and where the food is. lol
post #12 of 18
The 'hanging' post needs to be fixed, so when they scratch, there's resistance - more effective as far as they're concerned.
post #13 of 18
My best scratching 'post' is the huge cardboard box our gas grill came in.

All of the posts and pads are used, but the box is favored by all.
post #14 of 18
Why don't you try a regular stand-alone post (or condo)? I've had a few and my cats all LOVE them. They come in all sorts of sizes and variations (carpet and sisal). Might be more appealing than something hanging from a door, especially if it moves too much when they try to use it.
post #15 of 18
Have you tried catnip spray on the scratching posts?
post #16 of 18
Thread Starter 

I have a small cat condo, and they couldn't care less about it. Doesn't matter if it is covered with catnip, they are not interested in laying in or on it, let alone scratching it. Although I haven't seen one with sisal, perhaps I'll try that.

Taurus, I've rubbed catnip into it, not the spray. Do you think that would be more effective?
post #17 of 18
Well, you've mentioned trying to use catnip, so I'll try not to mention that, but I *will* say that you should watch what type of catnip you use.. is it a sort they would usually react to? When I adopted Carl and brought him home, the first thing I did was sprinkle dried catnip all over the catnip. He thought it was the best thing ever! He just kept rolling in the catnip, rubbing it, I sprinkled more on him, put a small pile on the top, so he'd reach up, holding himself w/ his claws in the scratching post, trying to get at it. By the time the catnip festival wore off, the post smelled like him so he always scratches it just to keep it *his*.

You can also try crumbling treats into the scratching post that they'll try to go after, put treats on the top of it, play w/ string around it, etc etc. Doing things that will cause them to inadvertently scratch the post w/o trying to get their scent on it. Once it's there.. they'll want to keep it that way!

Still, cats have preferences. My first cat, Panther, ruined one couch we had. We got him to stop, but his favourite thing to scratch ended up being a 1 metre by 1 metre square of extra carpet we had under the rocking chair. He'd lie down beside it, put two paws underneath, two paws on top, and go at it. He LOVED IT! Best of all, the weight of the rocking chair kept it in place so it didn't move.

Brodie had a kitty condo, and he would climb and claw over that.

Panther, Brodie and Carl all still tried to claw furniture at times, though, especially to get attention when they felt ignored. Carl is especially bad for this. I find if he looks like he's going to claw, I just have to get up, grab a toy, and play with him for about 10-20 minutes. He won't even go NEAR the furniture again for hours.

Try being creative, if you have the time, money and resources to be able to do so. Otherwise, I'd look into the soft paws claw caps that are sold, and which have already been mentioned. Ultimately, you know your cats, their likes and dislikes, better than anyone here. Think about what they like, and think of something creative.

BTW, though not many people would do this, when my mom was a kid, their Siamese wouldn't stop scratching furniture, so my grandmother actually gave the cat one chesterfield. Yes, one piece of furniture that the cat could use as a scratching post and not get in trouble. It worked! She scratched only that chesterfield and nothing else. The things we do for our cats, eh?
post #18 of 18
Thread Starter 
I love the idea of the treats. I'm going to try that too.

I use a good catnip that they love to roll in and that drives them crazy. They just don't like it on the scratchers. lol

I woudn't bother with the cat claw covers. My stuff isn't that good. If I ever got new furniture, I'd get wood furniture with the cloth seats so it wouldn't be an issue, and I could always replace them.

My home has always been cat friendly The hell with the people! LOL
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