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Teaching Your Cat Proper Scratching Habits

October 01, 2017

Is your cat tearing up your sofa? Is Fluffy using your favorite armchair as a scratching post? Kitties have many adorable habits and mannerisms, but their nail-care routines don’t always go over so well with their human pals. Read on as a Conyers, GA vet discusses teaching Fluffy better petiquette.

Why Cats Scratch

Even though Fluffy may look very pleased with herself while she is shredding your sofa, your kitty isn’t trying to ruin your things. The need to scratch is a very deeply-rooted instinct in felines. In the wild, those sharp little claws are crucial to cats’ survival: kitties use their nails for hunting, defense, and climbing to safety.

Providing Suitable Manicure Stations

If you want Fluffy to stop using your carpets or furniture as a nail-care station, you’ll need to offer her a suitable alternative. Cat towers are great for this, as they will also provide your furry little diva with a napping spot and a lookout point. You can also get your kitty a scratching post or board. Just be sure to choose something sturdy: if your pet’s scratching post wobbles or topples over on her, she may become wary of it. To encourage your kitty to use her manicure station, offer her toys, treats, and catnip near it.

Stopping Bad Habits

Because scratching is instinctive, punishing your furball for doing her nails may backfire. Fluffy won’t understand what she did wrong, and may only end up feeling anxious, frightened, or angry. Instead, when your pet scratches improperly, startle her by making a loud noise or squirting her with water. Kitties absolutely hate being startled, so this can help get the point across. If your feline buddy is scratching a sofa or armchair, put clear two-sided tape in the place where she is scratching. Your cat will hate the sticky feeling, and will likely look elsewhere.

Other Options

If you’re not having any luck in teaching your feline friend proper scratching habits, consider clipping her claws. This is painless and temporary, just like a human manicure. We don’t recommend this for kitties that go outdoors, however, as they need their claws for defense. Another option is to use claw caps, which are essentially fake nails for kitties. Ask your vet for more information.

Do you need to make an appointment for your cat? Contact us, your Conyers, GA pet clinic, today!

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