An angry looking cat with text "I Scratched a Leather Arm Chair"

Some people think living with cats is easy compared to dogs and other household pets. Cats usually do not require obedience training like dogs, or learn to heel by our side, or come when called. However, an untrained cat can cause tremendous household destruction. Death by nail! Death by nail means using the furniture as a favorite scratching post and the curtains and mini blinds as a jungle gym. Cats love to scratch, marking their territory, or as a signal to threaten other cats. Or possibly they just need to “sharpen” their nails. Either way, it can cause lots of damage in the home!

Cats are not out to enact revenge on the living room furniture.  Scratching is a normal, instinctive behavior.  We don’t want to discourage it completely. Instead, our goals should be convincing the kitty to scratch on acceptable objects like a scratching post. The best tactic for dealing with scratching is not to try to stop the cat, but to redirect him to a new scratching area. Here are a few tips to help encourage the cat to scratch where we want him to:

• Provide a variety of scratching posts with different surfaces, such as wood, carpet, upholstery

• Encourage kitty to investigate the new post with some catnip

• Clip kitty’s nails on a regular basis to remove the sharp tips

• Clapping hands or squirting the cat when he tries to scratch an object that is off limits

By providing for a cat’s mental and physical needs, and keeping its environment stimulating with kitty greens, appropriate scratching posts, and interactive toys, possibly the furniture will be safe from destruction by nail.

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