Managing Your Cat’s Urge to Scratch
Scratching is as natural for your cat as breathing. The website Patch.com says that scratching “[offers] important exercise [to cats] by [allowing them] to stretch muscles in the back and legs and shed old nail sheaths.” However, if your kitty doesn’t have a designated “scratching place,” he or she may use your furniture instead.
The good news is that cats can be “trained” to redirect their attention to objects especially designed to meet their need to scratch. For example, you can purchase cardboard scratch pads and and place them around your home. To make these pads even more appealing to your feline pal, “you can sprinkle catnip into the crevices of the cardboard.”
You might also consider looking into rope scratching posts: they “provide wonderful texture for your cat to dig [his or her] claws into while also providing a strong, stable place to stretch limbs.” Another option is the kitty condo. They not only give your cat a place to scratch, but also a “special spot to escape the elements of a busy household.”
As you train your cat claw appropriate objects, be sure to always offer lots of positive reinforcement in the form of extra attention, toys, treats and/or catnip. Remember that affection “will get far more effective results than [punishment]: in this respect, cats are no different than their canine counterparts.
If your cat is especially stubborn, you can put vinyl caps on your cat’s nails with a bit of adhesive. The caps are “comfortable for the cat, easy to use and replaceable when they fall off every four to six weeks. Alternately, you can place special double-sided sticky tape on the furniture you don’t want your cat to scratch. Felines are not fond of how sticky tape feels and will quickly stop clawing those areas covered in the tape.
It’s important for you to understand your cat’s need to scratch. In fact, it’s as important an issue as providing your pet with good nutrition, grooming and the kind of quality that care that you’ll find at Wells Branch Pet and Bird Clinic. The better the care you give your kitty, the more balanced your home life together will be.
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