SPECIAL NOTE: The noise and excitement of Halloween can be really scary for some animals. Keep pets super safe by putting them in a room that prevents them from running out when you open the door to treat the tricksters.
FIDO: Hey, Fluff, why are you all wet?
FLUFFY: Oh, mom caught me scratching the couch and I didn’t get away fast enough. She got me with the spray bottle.
FIDO: The spray bottle?
FLUFFY: Yep. It’s one of mom’s little tricks to get me to stop scratching the furniture. She’s got lots of them.
FIDO: Do they hurt?
FLUFFY: Oh, no, mom would never hurt me. But you know, Fido, I think a lot of pet parents do hurt their cats when they want them to stop scratching. They don’t mean to; they just don’t know what to do, so they sometimes do the wrong thing. Do you know that some of them actually declaw us? And others surrender us because they don’t want us ruining their furniture.
FIDO: How sad!
FLUFFY: It really is. You know, Fido, we ought to get Meryl to tell other pet parents how to get their cats to stop scratching. Maybe if more people know, they won’t declaw or surrender us just because we scratch.
FIDO: Great idea, Fluff. Let’s get Meryl right now!
…And so they did. Here are several ways to stop kitty from scratching. Great tips for keeping kitty, you and your furniture happy!
…Invest in several scratching posts. Scratching posts come in many shapes and sizes, so you’re sure to find one that fits your space and your cat’s preferences. Some are meant to be used by a vertical cat, others by a cat who prefers horizontal scratching. Many will work equally well for both positions. Choose posts that have a variety of textures, such as carpet, rope, and corrugated cardboard. Some have catnip infused to make them even more appealing. Place the scratching posts strategically around your home, and especially right near the furniture she most likes to scratch.
Encourage her to use the scratching posts, and reward with a treat and a lot of love whenever she does.
Keep a spray bottle with clean water handy, and spray her when she goes for the furniture. (Make sure not to spray her in the face. That is extremely upsetting to most cats.) Then, in a few minutes, redirect her to the scratching post, followed by…you guessed it…her favorite treat. Don’t do this immediately after spraying or the cat may begin to associate furniture-spray-scratching post-treat. Many will put up with the spray to get the treat. So let several minutes go by before taking her over to the scratching post. That way the spray is not associated with any type of reward.
It shouldn’t take long before kitty begins to consistently choose the scratching post over the furniture.
Bonus Tips: With that said, some cats are more stubborn than others. In those cases, invest in some really sticky two-sided tape, and affix it to the furniture. Cats hate the sticky feel, so this will be a real deterrent. You can also get “corner protectors” (just search the term on Amazon); they’re a clear plastic that you attach to your furniture with gizmos that work kind of like thumb tacks. They are close to a sure fire solution. If all else fails, sheath your cat’s nails with soft nail caps. They glue on easily and pop off in four to six weeks.
Now you’ve got it covered from all angles, so you, your cat and your furniture can live peacefully together for many years to come!
We hope you enjoyed these tips, and that you learned something, too! We’d love to hear from you, so please send your ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Meryl Schwarz, M.A., M.Ed., is an animal lover and Certified Professional Coach specializing in grief support for people grieving their beloved animals. Whether you’re grieving a terminal diagnosis, the normal aging process, a disappearance or a death, Meryl offers compassionate and caring support with the wisdom of experience. Visit her website at www.merylschwarz.com to schedule an appointment by Skype or phone.