Scratching comes as a natural instinct for cats. It is their way of asserting themselves, of identifying the places they have been to. Moreover, scratching is also their way of exercising and sort of “filing” their claws. So if you have a cat at home and you see it clawing on the floor, walls, ground or furniture – you know what it means. Well, certainly you love your cat and seeing it roll around as well as hearing it purr and meow gives you endless delight. But with scratching, especially on furniture is another thing – a problem you need to deal with. Here are tips on how to stop your cat from scratching furniture:
- Train it to scratch on other things. Place a post or faux wall near the place that it usually scratches. You can install these fixtures in various places – as it is probable your cat loves to roam around your home. Design the post and fake wall like they are the real thing. This could be meticulous, you might say, but it is the best way to divert your cat from making your furniture its “victim”. Since you do not want the scratching posts to become eyesores in your home, design the “scratch on” fixtures like they were real posts and walls. Imitate the color of the one favorite furniture of your cat so it will fall into your scheme
- Observe the scratching pattern of your cat. Does it scratch on the same furniture all the time? Does it scratch on every surface? By knowing your cat’s habits you will then be able to make counter measures to stop it from scratching your prized furniture.
- Use Pavlov’s conditioning theory in Psychology. True, cats are not human beings but you can very well apply some aspects of human psychology on them. Practice your cat to scratch on the posts you have provided and each time it does, give it a prize in the form of food and praise. Fish is the staple food of cats so you might as well use it as reward when it does as you tell it to do. On the other hand, you can stroke its fur and pat its back or tickle it in the tummy to demonstrate your appreciation for its obedience. As this conditioning situation develops, the cat will then divert its attention on the scratching posts and walls you provided.
- Do away from giving penalties when your cat scratches your furniture. This is a negative reinforcement that will make it scratch the prohibited surface more. Besides, even if you succeed in stopping it from scratching while you are around, it will still do it when your are out of sight.
- Be consistent in disciplining your cat. Still do not allow it to scratch on old furniture just because you will dispose it anyway soon. If you give this freedom to your pet, it will think that it is okay to scratch everywhere hence your other furniture may likewise suffer from its claws.
- Ask an animal doctor for tips and advice. Veterinarians have knowledge on the different behaviors of animals so you may refer your problem with him. Inquire about ways to stop your pet from clawing your furniture. Mention to the veterinarian the method you have already employed to solve the dilemma so that he can assess the situation. Tell the vet your cat’s breed too, as it may have an implication on the scratching habit.
Always be gentle with your cat no matter how it annoys you with its scratching. Avoid hitting it when you find it ruining your furniture. Do not grab it either, as it might retaliate and you may end up getting scratches on your arms as well.