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Kitty’s Scratching Habits

Do you sometimes catch your furball scratching your couch, carpet, or even walls? You’re not the only one! Kitty’s manicure habits are one of the things cat owners complain about the most. In this article, your Aurora veterinarian discusses Kitty’s scratching habits.

Why Cats Scratch

Fluffy’s need to keep those sharp little claws intact is actually a very strong instinct in kitties. Cats’ claws are crucial to their survival in the wild. Kitty’s nails allow her to catch and eat her dinner, climb to safety from predators and other hazards, and defend herself against other animals. Trees make excellent scratching posts for kitties that live outside. Furballs that live indoors will go for the next best thing, which, unfortunately, may be your furniture.

Stop Improper Scratching

Never, ever punish your cat for scratching. Because it’s a natural behavior, your furball won’t understand what she did wrong, or why she’s being punished. This could cause your feline friend to become anxious, or even afraid of you. It’s fine to say ‘No’ loudly, but overall, positive reinforcement is a much better tactic. Try using a squirt bottle or a bike horn to startle Fluffy when she scratches improperly. Rattling a large jar of change loudly may also work. You can also try putting clear, two-sided tape on the area your kitty is scratching. She’ll hate the sticky feeling, so she won’t scratch there, and the tape won’t show.

Encourage Proper Scratching ‘Petiquette’

You won’t have much luck getting Kitty to stop scratching the couch if you don’t offer proper scratching options. Cat towers are really the best bet, as they are tall enough to allow Fluffy to stretch out on as well. With smaller scratching posts, make sure they are sturdy enough to take your furball’s full weight without toppling over. If it tips over, she will probably be scared of it afterwards. Scratching boards are another option, and are quite inexpensive. You can also go the DIY route and make Kitty a scratching spot by attaching a piece of carpet to a sturdy board. Whatever you use, make sure to reward your feline buddy when she utilizes it by petting her, complimenting her, and perhaps offering a favorite tidbit. Sprinkling a bit of catnip on it won’t hurt, either!

Do you have any questions about your cat’s care or behavior? Contact us, your local Aurora veterinary clinic, anytime!

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