We all know cats have claws and that they all need to scratch. Some cats are really good at picking up on the fact that they should scratch only on their scratching post, but others, well, they could use some enlightening! There are only three major steps involved in teaching cats, even stubborn ones, to only use their scratching post when they feel the need to stretch and scratch.
Step 1: Caught In The Act
The first step, and this is the most critical step, is to catch your cat in the act! The second you see your cat start to make the motions of scratching on something inappropriate, give him a firm No!. You have to be serious when you say that! Cats are very smart and they, like kids, know how to manipulate and they know when you do not really mean what you say. So, mean it and feel it! When you give the firm No!, try and make eye contact with your cat and give him a very stern look! If that does not work, you can try a spray with a water bottle or shaking a can with some pennies inside.
Step 2: Redirect Your Cat's Energy
Once your cat stops, entice him over to his scratching post and show him what he is supposed to do. That's right, get down to his level and start scratching the post yourself! This may feel funny, but your cat will appreciate it because he will understand what you are showing him. Some suggest that you physically move your cat over to the scratching post, but if you think about it, it does not teach your cat that he needs to move himself over to his post when he feels the urge to scratch. By encouraging him to come over to his scratching post, it teaches him that when he wants to scratch, he should make his way over to his post instead of waiting for you to come pick him up and plop him next to his post.
Step 3: Praise, Praise, and Praise
Cats, like kids, thrive when they know that they are doing what you want of them. And the best way of showing them that they are doing the right thing is to give them praise when they do something right. Once you feel that you have praised enough, praise some more, and then finish off with some more praise. Your cat will reciprocate by doing more of that is required of him. And you will feel good that you have taught your cat to be a model pet!
The author's cat, Mickey, has a review of the Ultimate Sisal Scratching Post that any cat will love. Read Mickey's review by following this link: http://www.squidoo.com/sisalcatscratchingpost