Anyone who has had cats would know that when they scratch, nothing but your nerves and your sofa are in ruins. Scolding a cat is an extremely futile action. This is because unlike dogs, cats have no concept of wrongdoing. Felines are one of nature’s self-sufficient and pragmatic creatures.
Scolding a cat is going to do nothing but leave it confused and lost for words at its owner’s baffling behavior. It is imperative to remember that knowledge is power, getting to grips with the whole situation is the first step to winning. Below are a couple of lessons that are necessary for combating this behavior:
Scratching while destructive is a cat’s natural behavior
While this is not news to cat owners, as they see the evidence like shredded drapes, tattered sofa corners, more than the uninitiated. While a cat’s inclination to scratch might not be significant news, it’s a fact that needs to be taken into account by owners should they want to progress in their battle against their cat scratching at things.
Cats will always want to scratch, it’s inevitable
It is impossible to stop a cat from scratching, as this is a behavior that is as natural as eating. The best thing to do is to prevent the cat from scratching up items that are valuable and things that need to be kept in a pristine condition. A quote by Mark Twain states: Never try to teach a pig to sing; it frustrates you and annoys the pig. This little tidbit means owners have to apply wisdom when dealing with cats and trying to combat behaviors they view as destructive.
This is the best way to avoid what would be an exercise in frustration and futility. A cat can’t be forced to do something it doesn’t want to, it is important to remember that. Trying to make a cat stop doing something it enjoys is also very difficult, which is why it is essential for owners to be smart and work out ways to refocus their cat’s desires.
Punishment never works!!
Felines are unable to comprehend physical punishment. Not only is it wrong to hit a cat, but punishment also doesn’t work as it is the wrong vehicle to get your point across and may do anything more than exacerbate the situation. While cats are intelligent, they are unable to understand their owner’s selfish behavior as punishment for scratching up the couch.
The cat will only be able to understand that it is poorly treated. This could then, in turn, make the cat insecure, which then causes the cat to scratch a bit more or engage in even more undesirable behaviors. Eventually, this will create a breakdown of security and trust between owners and their cats, which then makes it even harder to catch the cat for whatever reason. Felines have been known to hold grudges thanks to their excellent memories.
Why exactly do cats scratch?
This is a great question, and another important one is why do cats scratch the valued possessions of their owners and not something dispensable. Comprehending why a cat feels the urge to scratch is more than just understanding a cat. It helps owners in their bid to channel their cat’s scratching efforts to pieces of furniture or items that are more acceptable. Below are a couple of reasons as to why cats scratch:
- The first reason why cats scratch is to mark their territory, as this action is one driven by territorial instinct which causes cats to put their stamp or mark to establish their territory. While a human might think it is just merely scratching, there is a bit more to this action, as cats have scent glands under their paws which enable them to leave their unique scent identifiers on their turf. This is the main reason why cats typically scratch items placed in the most visible corners of the house.
- The second reason is that scratching is a way a cat can keep in shape. Scratching requires pulls, stretches and also works the cat’s front quarter muscles.
- The third reason why cats love to scratch is pretty much for pleasure, and it feels significant to scratch. This is why it is essential for owners to stop trying to get their cats to prevent scratching; instead, they should try to refocus that scratching to areas they would prefer.
Ensure there is a suitable scratching post for the cat
Since scratching is an activity that brings a lot of joy to cats, it is imperative that owners buy their cats the prettiest, softest and most attractive scratching post available. Sometimes a cat might stare at the scratching post, and then walk away from it. It is essential that owners don’t try to show their cat how much fun the scratching post is, that would be counterintuitive as cats feel they can scratch where and whenever they feel like. It is essential for owners to remember that their desires and that of their cat might not be in the same. Cats love rough surfaces which they can scratch and shred. The best scratching post that will pique the interest of a cat is usually a tree stump. What is important is that the scratching post is high enough for the cat to fully extend its body and should be adequately secure.
A proper scratching post should be at the minimum 28 inches high which are enough for an average cat to full stretch. The post should also be anchored, making it stable. Another option for cats to scratch is the underside of a rug which offers a satisfying texture that is resistant enough for a cat to enjoy scratching. It is imperative that the rug is stationary, it can be secured by duct tape or put it just under a piece of furniture.
Ways to ensure a cat scratches on its post instead of furniture
It is imperative to remember that the primary goal of a cat’s desire to scratch is so it can mark its territory. This is why the post should be placed in an area frequented by family members and not hidden away in a corner. Once the cat acclimates to the new scratching post, it can then be moved to one side of the room. This, however, is something that should be done gradually.
- The first step would be to locate the post in the general area the cat prefers to scratch. This could be a chair, a sofa or any other piece of furniture that the cat has chosen to display as its territory.
- It might be necessary to have more than one scratching post if the cat has a couple of favorite scratching spots. It is essential that the post is appropriately secured, should it topple over or shake, the cat would refrain from using it. If at the beginning the cat appears reluctant to use the scratching post and continues using its old areas, there are numerous means owners can use to discourage their cat.
One of such is ensuring the area is covered with either double-sided tape or aluminum foil, as these items create surface textures that aren’t pleasant to a cat’s claws. It might be necessary to remove the cat’s scent from its favorite spots as the cat has marked those spots with its claws and its scent. This can be done with lemon-scented sprays as cats prefer not to be near citrus smells, so this, as well as orange peels, can make prior scratching posts even less attractive.
- If the cat still scratches up the furniture, it might be necessary to use a spray bottle or a water gun to deter it. Another powerful deterrent is to make use of a noisemaker or a loud whistle. These deterrents have to be employed while the cat scratches, else they wouldn’t be effective. The aim is to create an aversion to that particular spot that the cat scratches.
Begin training while the cat is young
It is best when owners have kittens to train rather than full grown cats. This is because it is a whole lot easier to imbibe good patterns and habits than to attempt to correct ones that are undesirable. Right from the start, an owner can teach his or her kitten the place that is most appropriate to scratch. This can be done with the methods listed earlier in this article, especially having fun around the post in a bid to capture your kitten’s interest. Owners can exploit the fact that kittens love to play by sticking toys to the scratching post.
Do not take her paws and make her scratch the post. This is a major turn-off and will only inspire a bratty “you can’t make me” attitude. Even at an early age, cats refuse to be coerced into doing what they don’t want to do. If the kitten begins to scratch on objects that are deemed inappropriate, it is imperative that the kitten is immediately placed in front of the scratching post, while the owner pets it. Certain cats start kneading once they are stroked, which then causes them to dig their claws into appropriate surfaces, thereby cementing that place as a good scratching surface in their mind.
Do not declaw
Heeding this warning is imperative. Declawing is an option that is not acceptable for cats that love and depend on humans. There are numerous reasons why avoiding declawing is compelling, not just for cats but also for owners as well. Declawing can be referred to as the intentional act of maiming a feline.
This action could lead to emotional, behavioral and physical complications. It would be wrong to think declawing a cat would be a procedure as trivial as trimming one’s fingernails. The claws of a cat are an extremely vital portion of its anatomy, as it is essential to survival, mobility, and balance. Declawing is a surgical procedure that is irreversible as it means cutting off a cat’s toes at the first joint. This surgery is one that is extremely painful for cats and comes with an increased risk of secondary complications. There have been instances where declawing led to secondary contracture of tendons. As the cat’s front paw joints are missing, it becomes uncomfortable for it to walk and the cat tries to compensate by putting more weight on its back legs which then makes it off balance. This weight shift could sometimes lead to muscle atrophy in the front limbs and cause the back limbs to become strained.
When a cat becomes unbalanced, it makes it distressed. This is because cats rely on balance in their daily lives, from climbing trees, stepping out on thin branches and jumping from incredible heights to land on their feet, balance plays a part in all of these feats. Also, apart from being an important part of a cat’s movement, its front claws are its first line of defense. When a cat is declawed, its claws are not replaced and are unable to regrow.
Once a cat has been deprived of its front claws, it may become distressed and insecure. There is no doubt that once a cat becomes distressed emotionally, the owner also picks up on this feeling and becomes distressed as well. The ways a cat shows that it is distressed is through either urinating on inappropriate things or spraying their urine on furniture. Declawing a cat causes it to feel defenseless as it has no claws, which then turns into hostility to people, including its owner, other cats, and the cat may be more prone to bite.
Certain cats once declawed avoid their litter box as pain has become associated with the scratching process that occurs when a cat eliminates. If the cat doesn’t want to use the litter box, it will find a place that is more comfortable for it, and once these habits are formed, they become tough to break.
This Scratching board merges contemporary shapes alongside stylish patterns. This means that asides from a scratcher for your cat, you also get an appealing design. Its design also ensures it can fit in with any form of home decoration with ease.
This scratching board offers your cat a corrugated scratching surface which means your cat would always have another surface to satisfy its natural instinct of scratching on. It also ensures your furniture is protected against damage from the claws of your cat.
Scratching is something you can’t completely eradicate from your cats. Every lover of this furry animal would have learned this valuable lesson at some point in time. Nonetheless, these tips above will help you stop your cat from scratching your valuables and instead redirect it to other allocated areas.