Your Cat’s Scratching Habit

Do you sometimes catch your kitty scratching at the couch or rug? Fluffy’s penchant for scratching can be a bit annoying at times, but you can help your furball learn better manners. In this article, your local Dunedin vet discusses cats and scratching.

Why Cats Scratch

Believe it or not, your furball isn’t actually trying to ruin your furniture. Kitties have been our buddies and companions for a very long time, but before we began providing Fluffy with food and shelter, she had to fend for herself. Those sharp little claws were an integral part of Kitty’s survival when she lived in the wild. They helped her escape predators by climbing trees, and they also gave her a means of self-defense. Last but not least, claws helped our feline friends secure their dinner by hunting. It’s no surprise that kitties learned how to keep their claws in good shape! In the wild, trees make excellent scratching posts. Now that Fluffy lives inside, she instinctively goes for the nearest thing, which, unfortunately, might be your couch.

What To Do

You should never punish your feline friend for scratching. Since scratching is an entirely natural and instinctive behavior, your little furball won’t understand what she’s done wrong. This could lead to a nervous, anxious cat, and could possibly cause your kitty to develop behavioral issues. Instead, you have to more or less trick your cat into using proper scratching tools, like a tower or post. Use a squirt bottle or loud noise to startle your cat the next time you catch her scratching the furniture. Afterwards, put her on the cat tower, and reward her for scratching there. Using a bit of catnip as a bribe is completely acceptable. Sooner or later, Fluffy should figure it out.

If All Else Fails …

If you can’t successfully trick, bribe, or cajole your feline friend into using a scratching post for her manicures, then you can always clip her nails. Unlike declawing, a simple nail clipping is painless and temporary. Kitty’s claws will grow back, but until they do, she won’t be able to damage your belongings.

Do you have any questions about your kitty’s health, care or behavior? Please contact us if there is any way we can be of assistance. As your local Dunedin vet clinic, we are here to help!

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