Jody’s Fear Free News:

Why do cats scratch inappropriately?

60% of house cats scratch furniture without any underlying behavioral problems. Cats scratch for territory marking as well as stretching out their toe muscles.

Some cats prefer vertical surfaces to scratch, some prefer horizontal scratching posts. Either way, cats do prefer a steady surface to scratch on, as well as different kinds of material such as carpet, rope or corrugated cardboard. Finding a material your cats prefer, as well as offering multiple scratching pots, in well-traveled and occupied spaces, will encourage your cats to use their scratching post rather than furniture.

Feliscratch is a product we carry to train and encourage cats to use their scratching posts rather than furniture. Feliway can also be used as well to deter your cat from scratching furniture, by spraying on the spots you do not want your cat to be scratching.

If caught in the act of scratching, cats should also be redirected to use their scratching post and then rewarded with treats. Verbal and physical punishment should be avoided, which may lead to stress related behaviors.

Soft paws can also be applied to your cat’s nails, after they are trimmed, to discourage them for being able to scratch.

Surgical declawing is a procedure where the first digit of the cat’s “toes” is removed under anesthesia. The procedure is not our first recommendation, as it can cause a life time of pain for cats. They can associate our hospital to the pain, and be even more reluctant or stressed coming into our hospital. The larger the cat, the more difficult the healing process can be, after declawing.