Is your normally good cat scratching the furniture?

maddy_scratch_post.jpgAnyone that says that cats aren't complicated or incredibly intelligent probably doesn't know what they are talking about. I learned a valuable lesson from my cat and I'm going to pass it on to you.

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My cat Maddy (pictured) loves to scratch her cardboard disk. For those of you who may not know what that is, I took a picture of Maddy sitting on her scratching disk. Some manufacturers call it a cardboard disk and others may call it a turbo scratching post. Either way, the premise is fairly simple. The toy consists of a replaceable cardboard disk and a ball that rotates around the perimeter of the toy. Some cats like playing with the ball more than they like scratching the post. Generally, Maddy doesn't play with the ball but she does scratch the cardboard several times a day.

About two weeks ago I scolded Maddy for scratching my great room chair. I really found this strange because Maddy rarely scratches the furniture. As a matter of fact, I have to really think hard to remember the last time she's done this. Anyhow, I didn't make to big of a deal of it. Unfortunately, it happened again within two days. At that point, I realized something wasn't right. I was even considering taking her to the vet. Then it hit me, I hadn't replaced the cardboard insert on her toy in months and it was worn out. You can tell it's worn out because the cardboard is all pushed down. The nice think about the circular cardboard disks is that they can be replaced and even flipped so that your cat can make use of both sides before you replace the insert. To me this is great value.

If your normally well behaved cat is scratching your furniture, he's probably doing it for a reason. More than likely, one of the choices that you have deemed acceptable for him to scratch are not working the way they used to. Remember that if you want to protect your furniture, you have to examine your cat's scratching choices frequently. I can't get mad at Maddy for scratching the furniture if I haven't provided the necessary scratching resources for her. While I have various scratching posts in the house, Maddy prefers the cardboard insert by far; I'm assuming it's because of the rough texture of the cardboard. I'll be keeping an eye on that cardboard insert a bit more carefully now.

So if your normally well mannered cat is scratching your favorite chair, examine his scratching post or other scratching choices and make sure they are still functioning for him. Generally, any scratching choice that is worn out won't provide the proper friction that your cat needs to maintain his claws. If your acceptable scratching choices are no longer working, your cat is naturally going to find choices that you may not like.

If you have a related story to share, I'd love to read your comments below.

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