Why Cats Scratch Furniture and How to Convince Them Otherwise
Easily one of the biggest disputes we humans have with our feline friends is their great need to "sharpen" their claws on our furniture and carpets.
We think it's a terrible idea, they think it's their inborn right. They probably even wonder what our problem is when we react to their scratching! Ever wonder why it's impossible to make them stop scratching our things? The reason's simple, really: They're doing something they should do.
For a cat, scratching is as natural as meowing, chasing mice, or loving tuna. Actually, scratching serves several purposes for the cat:
1. It conditions the claws by removing the outer dead nail sheath. 2. It leaves a visual mark which speaks to its territorial fetish. It also leaves a scent behind due to the scent glands in the cat's paw pads. 3. It serves as an emotional outlet. That's why many cat's favorite time to scratch is right after their humans have come home from work, before mealtime, after eating, after playing, or when everyone gets up in the morning.
They aren't intentionally being destructive or trying to make us mad, they're simply following instinct.
Since the scratching will continue, as surely as the ability to meow will continue - the trick, then, is to provide the cat with an alternative object on which to scratch. A scratching post!
When choosing a scratching post, be sure that it's large and sturdy enough. The cat needs to be able to really "get after it" without the fear of toppling over. The scratching post should be large enough for your cat to stretch out on, so keep your cat's size in mind when purchasing, or making, the post.
Finally, make certain the material is rough and enables the cat to sink her claws into it. (Carpet covered posts are actually too soft.) Even bare wood serves the purpose.
WHERE TO PLACE THE SCRATCHING POST
Pay careful attention to WHERE and WHEN your cat scratches and place the post accordingly. Actually, several throughout the house would be ideal, especially if you have a living room AND a den - that's almost too much temptation for her!
Just a quick word about declawing. In my opinion, declawing a cat is completely inhumane, and unspeakably painful. I've read countless stories of declawed cats being in so much pain they couldn't even sit up. It also leaves the cat totally defenseless. Our pets depend on us to protect them, and keep them from harm, and that is more important than any sofa.
Buy, or make, several scratching posts and everyone will be happy!
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