Cats and Scratching Habits
I never really had issues with inappropriate scratching habits until I got Buddy, my Lynx Siamese boy. It was apparent a few days after the adoption he was not adequately trained when it comes to appropriate scratching routines. The first thing he went for was our leather furniture.
All of my previous cats were adopted as kittens, so I took the time to buy multiple scratching toys to help them choose their personal preferences. I worked closely with all of my cats what was acceptable or not acceptable.
Buddy seems to know he cannot scratch the furniture, and yet he does it anyway. Although he has scratching posts and uses them, he also still prefers to scratch the furniture as well. No matter how many times I make swatting sounds, tell him no, spray him with water, use double-sided tape, he still does it.
A few things I have to assess with Buddy are to find the root of why he purposely scratches the furniture.
- He likely used the furniture in his previous home; therefore, it will make it difficult for me to get him to stop.
- He has a lot of energy. When he is not sleeping, he is on the go. I try to buy him toys to keep him amused or entertained, but this boy is like the Energizer Bunny he keeps going and going.
- It could be possible he is showing dominance or dislike. I do not think it is towards my ragdoll. I have noticed he has been doing it more when the dog is around.
- Maybe he is just ornery. Some cats have an attitude.
It is frustrating, and I can relate to other cat moms that are struggling with poor scratching habits. So let’s brainstorm thoughts and ideas on this matter.
Reasons Cats Scratch
To sharpen the claws or to keep them groomed.
Mark their territory.
Exercise and stretching.
Now we know why cats scratch, and I need to assess why Buddy keeps scratching my furniture even though he knows he is not supposed to. I do not believe it is for grooming. I do think the issue is to mark his territory, sometimes communicating, and others while he is stretching. Most of the time, he does it in front of me; he is stretching out.
Solving the Scratching Issue
Start when they are young. All of my cats I got as kittens rarely displayed scratching issues as they got older. My ragdoll does not scratch anything except his scratching toys. If one is not around, he will find one and go at it. Buddy, on the other hand, will scratch whatever is nearby; however, he sees it fit. I have yet to resolve the issue with his stubborn attempt to keep choosing the furniture over his posts.
Cats are creatures of habit. Once they start a habit, it is hard to break. So start them while they are young.
Let Them Choose
Let your cat choose their choice of scratching post. Some cats like carpet, others like twine. My ragdoll loves cardboards. Get different types of posts and let your cat choose which one they like best.
Some cats like scratching upright and my ragdoll he is super lazy, so he prefers scratching toys to be floor level. Buddy loves stretching upwards.
Use Cat Nip or Treats
My ragdoll did not like catnip for a long time, so I had to use treats that make him go crazy. Buddy loves catnip, and I believe he may have an addictive personality. The nip does help, but he will still choose to scratch the furniture.
Toys and Teasers
I taught my ragdoll to use the post by using toys and teasers. He was timid as a kitten and did not like to be touched. So it was easier to try and train him by letting him approach the post himself. I would scratch the post after an excellent play to demonstrate I want him scratching here.
Double-Sided Sticky Tape
The tape only works if I can cover the entire furniture with it. I have tried putting it on the floor, top, side, and bottom. Eventually, the tape wears off, and he is back to scratching again. The tape is only useful if a cat is targeting a specific area or object. My cat aims for every furniture in the house. I even caught him clawing the wall!
Trim the Nails
I am seriously thinking of taking him in and get his nails trimmed and capped. However, I know once they come off, he will be right back to scratching the furniture. Perhaps this will give me time to tell him no without damaging the furniture. Ideally, this is a good idea if you have a new cat and they show signs they prefer furniture. This way, you can correct the issue before the damage occurs.
Say No to Declawing
As much as I hate what Buddy does, trimming his nails is a better solution than having him declawed. I would ruin his character, trust, and loyalty if I took his claws from him. The pain that he would endure is cruel and unnecessary. It is punishing a cat for being a cat. So declawing Buddy is not an option.
My next step is to readdress the rules with Buddy once more. If he refuses to obey, I will likely have his nails trimmed and capped.
Do you have a cat that scratches inappropriately? What were your solutions? What have you tried? What works? What didn’t work?