You’ve been trying to stop your cat’s behavior so it’s possible to keep him and prevent your walls, couch and cabinets from being scratched into oblivion.
First, he’s not trying to make you mad or “be bad.” The scratching behavior is actually necessary for his physical and emotional health. It’s instinctive, a form of exercise and a way for him to mark his territory.
Why Do Your Pets Scratch Everything?
He scratches for several reasons. As stated in the introduction, one of those reasons is NOT to anger you or act out. He has a need in his psyche to scratch, so you might as well get used to this reality and change your environment and his so he can scratch appropriately.
- After that nap, he needs to stretch his body. The best way of doing so is to . . . you guessed it. He needs to scratch.
- His environment is your home. Therefore, he’s going to mark “his territory.” He has scent pads in his paws and scratching enables him to leave his scent on different items and areas in your home. (Hey, it’s better than urine marking!”
- He gets “husks” of dead skin on his claws that he needs to get rid of. Scratching is the most efficient way for him to get rid of these husks.
Do You Have to Give Up Your Pet?
No! You love him and he loves and needs you. Simply change his environment so he won’t choose your furniture to scratch. Give him play time and plenty of your attention. Make sure he’s not bored.
Buy (or make) some tall, sturdy scratching posts and place these close to the areas where you want him to stop scratching (your favorite couch or recliner, the wall by the kitchen or that carpeted area that he seems to have chosen as his very own. Make the posts more attractive to him by placing them in or near where he scratches.
Rub catnip onto the sisal rope so he will want to play with it and scratch. As he gets used to using the posts for scratching, Slowly move them to the areas where you want them to stay on a permanent basis. (Allow your cat to get used to their placement, then move them by a few inches or a foot at a time.)
Is There a Solution That Everyone Will Like?
You have one more pain-free, relatively inexpensive solution available to you and your cat. A veterinarian developed vinyl claw caps back in 1990, so they’ve been around for a while. Once your cat’s claws have been trimmed, you and another person (or you by yourself) can put the claw caps on your cat’s claws.
They are soft, so they won’t irritate your cat’s paws. They glue on and, over the space of about a month or month and a half, they remain on his claws. He’ll still be able to scratch—but this won’t result in any more damage. Your cat will still be able to extend and retract his claws just as easily as he did before.
While you may choose to have your vet or a groomer trim your cat’s claws, it’s an easy process to put the claw tips on him. After putting them on, reward him so he associates this “mani” with a taste treat.
One thing: You’ll need to inspect your cat’s claws every few days to replace a claw cap that has fallen off. They also come in several sizes, so consult the website to make sure you buy the correct size for your cat.