Cats scratch because it is normal for them to do so. It is something they do to stretch, relax and exercise. They also do it because they need to shed the nail husk to keep their claws healthy. They also scratch simply because cats are scratchers in nature. In the wild, they search for food by scratching the ground, the trees and anywhere else that gives them food. Now that they are living indoors, they start to look for things they can scratch.
Although this is a very destructive behavior, you shouldn’t stop your cat from scratching as your cat needs it. What you need to do is deter it from scratching your belongings.
Read on to learn how to do this.
Do not declaw
The first thing pet owners think of when they start experiencing scratching pets is to declaw them. Declawing your cat is the most painful thing you can put your cat through. It is so painful that some countries have made declawing illegal. Declawing is surgery where the claw and end bone of each toe are amputated. Declawed cats often suffer from chronic pain.
Your cat needs its claws to balance its walking, climb things, hunt, and to happily play and exercise. If you declaw them, you are making them lame.
The healing process after declawing is also a risky process. A cat still must use its wounded legs to walk to the litter box and to do other basic things. This will be painful.
Long story short, when you declaw your cat, you are being selfish putting your benefit at the front of your cat losing its claws.
Help them scratch more
Since your cat loves to scratch, why not help them scratch more? Ok, not your furniture but they can scratch posts. Scratch posts work like a charm and they are available in all sizes, huge ones, small ones and just every size. Depending on how rough your cat us when scratching, you can buy them an appropriate scratcher so that they can have a scratch party.
Since cats are shy, to help your cat learn to use the scratching post, you will need to make it available to them so that they can investigate it. So, place the scratcher in the common areas where your cat spends most of its time. Places like its litter box, bed and where its toys are.
If your cat keeps seeing the scratcher, they will keep trying to use it and the only way cats explore is with their claws. Once your cat starts scratching and realizes that its claws are having fun, it won’t stop scratching. The moment you realize they love scratching the scratcher, place the scratcher near your furniture. This will divert your cat’s attention from scratching it to scratching its new scratching friend.
Cinnamon is yet another offensive scent for cats. If you don’t have citrus or menthol, use cinnamon. Mix the cinnamon with water and use a spray bottle to spray not only your furniture but other areas of the house that you want to keep your cat from scratching.
Use menthol and Citrus
Cats find menthol and citrus to be an awful smell. Use this to your advantage. If your furniture is leather, deep a cotton ball into a mixture of citrus and menthol and rub it in your sofas. If your chairs are not leather, use a spray bottle and just spray the solution to the chairs. This will give your chairs a good scent while keeping the scratch king away from them.
Clip the claws
When your cat’s claws grow long they become itchy and painful and give your cat the urge to itch. They also give your cat difficulty to walk yet at the same time when they scratch your belongings, the damage becomes intense. Check the claws to ensure that they are not long and always clip them.
Remove their scent
One reason a cat would scratch is to mark a territory. When they scratch, their paw scent glands leave behind a scent that the cat smells to remember that they marked that place as theirs which bring them back to scratch again. So, eliminate that scent each time it scratches. Use a strong washing powder and lots of clean water to eliminate the smell. This way they will lack a trace to where they scratched.
Attach a carpet or plastic sheet to the wall
If your cat’s focus is to scratch the wall and the scratching is becoming too destructive, you can temporarily attach a plastic sheet or carpet to the wall. Cats hate to step on something that makes their claws uncomfortable. A week or two could be enough time to keep your cat away from the wall.
Increase playtime & buy more toys
Playing more will divert the cat’s attention from scratching to playing. Buy new interesting toys and find extra time to play with your cat. Make sure you are playing from the places where the cat likes to scratch. This will teach them that these areas are for playing and not or scratching
Use plastic caps to cover their sharp nails. These caps can be bought from pet pharmacies and can be glued on a vet or yourself. (They are not hard to glue on) The caps will become loose and fall off after 4-6 weeks which should be enough time for you to train your cat, not to scratch.
Use squirt gun or spray bottle with some water in it, whenever you see your cat scratching something, spray at it and say no! You don’t have to yell at them, you might stress them. Just say no firmly. Keep doing it and they will understand that you are not happy with their behavior. They will stop.
Be patient and loving
Finally, this can be a hard time since some of the things you value most might get scratched by your cat. But don’t overreact, be patient. Cats like to please their owners, if they realize that you don’t like their behavior but are not hitting them or tossing them away in disgust, they will pay attention to your feelings and stop the behavior.