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How to Teach Your Cat Better Scratching Petiquette

February 1 2017

Have you ever caught your cat scratching on your sofa or carpet? If so, you’re not alone. Improper scratching is a very common complaint among cat owners. Read on as a McHenry, IL vet offers advice on teaching Fluffy better etiquette.

Provide a Nail-Care Station

First and foremost, you want to make sure that your kitty has a suitable spot to scratch. A cat tower is great, and will also give Fluffy another napping spot and a jungle gym. You can also get a scratching post or board. If you are a crafty type, you can also go the DIY route: just attach carpet scraps to a smooth piece of wood, and nail it to the wall. Just be sure that your furball’s nail care station is sturdy: if your pet’s scratching post wobbles, she may not use it.

Discourage Bad Habits

It’s fine to tell your furball ‘No,’ firmly, but you should never yell at or punish your kitty for scratching improperly. Negative reinforcement doesn’t work well on cats, and may just leave Fluffy feeling upset or confused. Instead, try squirting your feline pal with water or making a loud noise when she misbehaves. You can also discourage your furball from scratching your sofa or the corner of a wall by putting clear, two-sided tape down where she scratches: it won’t show, but she will hate the sticky feeling.

Purr Activation

It’s important for Fluffy to associate her manicure station with good things. When your cat uses her scratching post, lavish her with praise and compliments. Offering her a treat, a new toy, or a little catnip won’t hurt, either.

Other Options

If you aren’t having any luck, consider clipping Fluffy’s claws. This is painless and temporary, much like a human manicure. We only recommend this for indoor cats: if you let your feline pal go out, she will need her claws for defense. (Note: we strongly advise keeping kitties inside, for safety reasons.) If you’re nervous about giving your feline pal a pawdicure, just contact us to schedule a quick appointment. Nail clipping can also easily be worked into your kitty’s regular veterinary appointments. You can also consider getting claw caps. Ask your vet for more information.

Do you have questions about your cat’s health or care? We can help! Contact us, your McHenry, IL animal clinic, today!