Your cat doesn’t scratch just to be bad. Your cat’s claws are constantly growing, and cats scratch to loosen and shed the old, worn down outer layers of their nails. Scratching also keeps claws sharp for self defense.
Indoor scratching is often less of a problem for outdoor cats, who claw trees and wear down their nails just by digging in dirt and walking on rough surfaces like cement.
Because our homes are filled with soft carpets and furniture, an indoor cat’s claws aren’t worn down naturally. The result? Indoor cats quite naturally tend to scratch everything in their environment: the rug, furniture, curtains, screen doors, and carpeted steps. Some cats even like to scratch the bindings on books.
So what can you do to stop your cat from scratching your furniture?
Since it’s virtually impossible to eliminate your cat’s scratching, many people are tempted to solve the problem for good by declawing. However, there are several reasons why you shouldn’t declaw your cat.
Declawing a cat isn’t like trimming human nails. Instead, the first joint of each toe is amputated. That’s major surgery, and it’s permanent. It’s also very maine coon for sale painful. Just like human amputees, cats may feel phantom pain from the missing joint as the nerves heal.
Some other downsides to declawing are:
- Declawed cats are unable to use their claws to defend themselves
- They might not be able to use their litter boxes effectively
- Altered gaits may lead to joint problems when they grow older
Instead of declawing, try these humane ways to solve your cat’s scratching problem:
Use scent or other deterrents
A good way to keep your cat from scratching your favorite furniture is to create deterrents so they don’t want to go back to their old scratching spots. One way to do this is to put double sided tape or contact paper (with the sticky side out) wherever they’ve been scratching. Cats don’t like the sticky sensation, and many will keep away.
Cats are repelled by the scent of citrus. Putting dried orange or lemon peels around the feet of your couch or favorite arm chair often works to keep cats away. Another trick is to soak cotton balls in orange juice or nail polish remover. Bitter apple and eucalyptus oil are other, well known cat deterrents.
Use the element of surprise
While some pet owners don’t advocate using a spray bottle, other people find that a quick squirt of water will harmlessly surprise a cat and make them stop scratching and run away. Loud noises also startle cats. Fill an empty water battle with dried pasta or a soda can with pennies and shake it just as your cat starts scratching.
File or clip their Claws
By using special trimmers, or even human nail clippers, you can keep your cat’s claws well maintained by cutting off the sharp tips. Make sure you only clip the outer part of the nail, and not the pink quick, which contains the cat’s blood vessels and nerves. If your cat has black claws, and you can’t see the quick, just clip off the sharp points at the end.
You will need to clip your cat’s nails on average once a month or once every other month. It’s usually a good idea to have your veterinarian show you the proper way to clip your cat’s claws before you try it yourself. Or if your cat won’t tolerate it, your veterinarian can clip your cat’s nails for you.
Another option: Nail covers
On the market now are painless, that you can glue to your cat’s nails. Nail covers allow your cat to stretch and scratch with their claws, but they won’t be able to damage your furniture. Your veterinarian can apply them, or you can do it yourself with a commercial nail cover kit.
Even if their claws are covered, or kept nice and short, cats still like to scratch to mark territory, stretch their muscles and feel good. That’s why scratching posts are so important.
Scratching posts are essential equipment for every cat owner. Not only do they provide a safe outlet for your cat’s scratching, they provide exercise and are fun for your cat to use. To encourage your cat to scratch the post, and not your sofa, place the new post near the furniture that your cat has been scratching. Encourage your cat to use the new scratching post by rubbing a little cat nip on the surface; or buy a post with catnip built in.