Tuesday, May 23, 2017
How to manage scratching in cats.
How to manage scratching in cats; Cats that scratch your favorite sofa or expensive drapes are not on a mission to destroy your home, but rather to satisfy certain innate needs. Scratching is an innate behavior, it is difficult to stop or even curb. It is like trying to stop a cat from grooming, or burying its waste. However, cats can be taught to scratch on more appropriate objects like scratching posts and tree stumps. The following three tactics will help you redirect your cat's scratching behavior: 1. Identify your cat's scratching preferences To find out what your cat likes best to scratch on, observe her carefully. Does your cat prefer to scratch on carpets, drapes, wood, or some other surface? Does she scratch vertically, with her paws stretched out above her head, or does she prefer horizontal surfaces? Once you have figured out your cat's preferred scratching materials and orientation, you will be better equipped to buy a scratching post that suits her needs. 2. Provide items that match these preferences Scratching posts of all shapes, sizes, and textures are available at most pet stores. If your cat likes to scratch on carpets, a carpet-covered post would be a good choice. But if your cat prefers couches and other nubby surfaces, a post covered in sisal or some other rope-like material might be your best bet. The scratching post should also match your cat's preferred orientation for scratching. A cat that climbs and scratches on drapes would probably prefer a post tall enough for a long stretch, such as those that mount on a wall or door. However, a cat that likes the horizontal motion of scratching on a carpet might be more likely to use a flattened cardboard box, or a log placed on its side. 3. Make unacceptable items unavailable or less attractive to your cat The only guaranteed way to stop your cat from scratching a given area or object is to block her access to it. Closing doors may be the simplest solution. However, if this is not practical, there are booby traps you can set up to discourage scratching. A tower of plastic cups that topples over when bumped can be placed in front of scratchable items to startle your cat whenever she begins to scratch. Items covered with blankets, sheets of plastic, or double-sided tape also hinders scratching behavior. A more expensive tactic is to purchase an indoor fence that delivers mild, harmless shock when your cat crosses a given boundary. Scratching has a scent-marking component, cats are more likely to re-scratch areas that already have their scent. To help break this cycle, try using an odor neutralizer to deodorize areas where your cat has previously scratched.