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Change your cat's scratchy behaviour

15th August 2018

When you welcome a new cat into your home, you can bank on being smitten, and spoiling that cat rotten. What you may not have banked on, however, was having your furniture used as a scratch post. Here’s how to make that habit a thing of the past.

Cats just love to use their claws. They use them for play, marking their territory, stretching as they wake, or for kneading when they go to sleep. Sometimes, though, they use them in the worst possible places. If your cat is eyeing up that new leather lounge suite, or it has taken a liking to your drapes, you can use both items and discouragement techniques to modify their behaviour.

Scratch posts are certainly an excellent alternative to your sofa, but it may take some time to find one your cat prefers over your furniture. Try purchasing a variety of different textures such as carpet, wood, and cardboard, and give them the option of both horizontal and vertical posts. Some cats like to rake their claws, while other cats want to pick – and while your cat might not like the first post you choose, there are others they may prefer instead. Take note of their current scratching technique to select the best post for their needs.

If your cat continually uses the same part of the furniture, discourage it by adding double-sided tape or sandpaper to the area, or by positioning something in the same space to prevent access. Whilst these measures will discourage the behaviour, you can also be encouraging them to use their scratch post by adding catnip and/or treats to it, to make it a more desirable area.

The key is not to stop the behaviour – as scratching is a natural part of being a cat - but to shift that habit to a more appropriate location. Modifying this behaviour can take time, but by making alternative scratch places available, you’re already one step in the right direction.