Rip! Rip! Riiiip! Oh no, your cat is scratching the sofa again! Do you have this problem - kitty scratching and shredding your sofa, the legs of your expensive dining table, or your wall-to-wall carpet? Many people face this problem, and it frustrates them no end. Too many cat owners resort to scolding and punishment, and are frustrated and puzzled when it fails to do any good. Some owners confine kitty to a part of the house with less expensive furniture, or redecorate their home to remove cat scratching surfaces. A few buy scratching posts, and wonder why kitty still prefers that tattered sofa to the brand new expensive scratching posts. In the end, many people give up their cats, either throwing them out on the street to join the stray cat population, or surrender them to the animal shelter, where they will ultimately be put down.
The key problem is ignorance, not kitty. Too many cat owners are ignorant, and willfully remain ignorant of why their cats scratch the furniture. They don't know, don't care and can't be bothered to find out. Now, there are 5 reasons why cats scratch furniture:
- Claw maintenance - kitty is scratching to remove the dead outer layers of its claws
- Mark their territory - clawing and scratching your furniture leaves both a visual mark and a scent from the glands in their paws.
- Exercise - the motions involved in scratching stretch and tone their muscles.
- Too much energy
- To get your attention
As you can see from the list above, this is the reason that the usual deterrence measures do not work very well. For this reason, in many parts of the world, cat owners get their precious kitties declawed. Such a simple little word, yet it has such profound implications. Declawing your cat actually means that the vet is going to amputate the last joint of all kitty's toes. Consider that the Japanese mafia's infamous punishment for failure is chopping off the last joint of the little finger, and here you are chopping off the last joint of all of kitty's toes. How horrible is that! Clearly, declawing is very traumatic and disfiguring to your cat. While it does resolve the scratching problem, it will actually cause potentially worse problems - spraying, urination, aggressive biting, etc.
As a cat lover, you need to learn how to use the scratching post correctly. Once again, we turn to animal behavioral science for help. You need to find out what kind of material your cat likes to scratch. The scratching post you buy needs to be of this material. You need to place the scratching post where kitty likes to scratch. And you need to patiently, lovingly and firmly redirect kitty's scratching to the post. For this, you can use the usual reinforcement techniques. When your cat uses the scratching post, you reward it - praise kitty and give it a kitty treat.
Slowly, you will find this bad behavior of kitty fading away. You will no longer have to replace your sofa every few months. You can have tables with wooden legs again. Isn't life so much better this way?
If you want to learn more about how to train your cat and stop its bad behavior in 13 days, click here: cat training.