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How to Teach Your Cat Proper Scratching Habits

Is your sofa marked with telltale tears from where your kitty used it as a nail-care station? Our feline friends have many cute and endearing traits, but their nail-care routines aren’t always a hit with their human servants. We can help! Read on as a Bull Valley, IL vet offers advice on teaching Fluffy good scratching petiquette.

Understand Your Kitty’s Urge To Scratch

Fluffy isn’t deliberately trying to ruin your furniture. Cats have a very deep-set instinctive urge to scratch. Those sharp little nails are crucial to kitties’ survival in the wild: cats use their claws to catch their dinner, climb to shelter, and defend themselves. We know, Fluffy doesn’t have to work very hard to ‘hunt’ her food dishes, and she’s only defending herself against a squeaky feather toy, but she’ll still be driven to care for her nails. Trees provide perfect scratching posts for cats that live outdoors. Since you probably don’t have live trees growing inside your home, pet housecat will go for the next best thing . . . which may very well be your sofa.

Provide Suitable Options

If you want your cat to stop shredding your couch, you’ll need to provide her with some proper alternatives. Cat trees or towers are great, because they give Fluffy a scratching post, napping spot, and jungle gym all in one, and also offer her the perfect opportunity to politely snag your sleeve with a claw as you walk past. You can also use a scratching post or board. Just pick something sturdy enough to withstand your feline buddy’s full force. We also recommend choosing something tall, so your pet can stretch out her muscles.

Teach Fluffy Good Habits

Never reprimand your pet for scratching improperly. You’ll only be punishing Fluffy for following her instincts, which could leave her feeling confused, scared, or anxious. Instead, discourage your kitty from shredding your sofa by putting clear, two-sided tape in her favorite spot. You can also use end tables or potted plants to block her access. To encourage good habits, reward your kitty with toys, treats, and praise when she uses her scratching post. If these things don’t work, consider trimming your cat’s nails: it’s temporary and painless.

Do you have a question about your cat’s health or care? We can help! Call us, your local Bull Valley, IL veterinary hospital, today!

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