We all love our cats and wouldn’t trade them for the world. However, kitty’s claws are sharp and can be very destructive on expensive household furnishings. “Clawing is due to several innate needs of the cat: to mark territory, to flake off old nail sheaths and to stretch and exercise,” says Dr. Kristen Hammett of NCVMA. “Marking territory is one of the primary drivers of the behavior.” Below are 10 tricks she recommends to curb scratching.
#1 – Alternate Scratching Posts
“Since the tendency to do this is instinctual, diverting the behavior to other outlets often helps,” says Dr. Hammett. “There are cardboard catnip treated scratching pads that work well with many cats.” Be sure to give your cat different styles of scratching post – cardboard, carpet, sisal – until you know what kind he/she prefers.
#2 – Catnip
“Try using catnip to attract your cat to the scratching post especially initially, and remember that your kitty will want to scratch in a place they consider prominent,” she says. There are a lot of scratchers that come with catnip.
#3 – Numerous Scratchers
Having one alternate scratcher is not enough. “Give your cat a variety of scratchers in different locations throughout the house to make sure they are not scratching your furniture,” says Dr. Hammett.
#4 – Double Stick Tape
Double sided tape works well to deter a kitty from scratching furniture, she says. Just make sure the sticky tape won’t ruin your upholstery either. Gradually remove it once your cat is using the appropriate scratchers.
#5 – Aluminum Foil
Like double stick tape, this can also work as a deterrent, says Dr. Hammett, and it won’t wreck your furniture. Again, gradually remove it once your cat is using the appropriate scratchers.
#6 – Clear Plastic Carpet Runner
Have a large area that you need covered? Dr. Hammett recommends putting down a carpet runner, with the nubby side up. Some cats may like the feel of this surface, and be drawn to it (rubbing against it might feel good). Like the others, you can remove it once your cat is using his scratchers.
#7 – Scents & Sprays
“Many cats are deterred by strong odors like cologne, menthol or citrus, and this can be used to your advantage by applying the scent in the areas that you don’t want marred,” she advises. “Some commercial product sprays are available that may work in this fashion with some cats.”
#8 – Exercise
Making sure you are giving your cat exercise can help too, says Dr. Hammett. Just like a kid, a tired kitty is a good kitty.
#9 – Window Sill Perch
Giving your cat something to do when they bored, other than scratching up your house, is another great trick. “Strategically place a bird feeder in view so that the cat has something to watch. For those without a windowsill, there are Plexiglas shelves that attach with suction cups to a window or glass door to give your cat a “shelf with a view,” says Dr. Hammett.
#10 – Clipping Nails
Since kitties sharpen their claws to help flake off the keratin sheaths, Dr. Hammett explains, trimming the claws every couple of months can help minimize your cat’s desire to scratch. Soft Paw nail covers work well too, though they can be hard to get on a cat.