Property damage from cats: September 2008 Archives

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cat_scratching_furniture.jpgProbably the most frustrating part of cat ownership (especially when they are kittens) is their propensity to scratch your furniture, carpet, drapes or anything else they can get their little paws into. Cats have claws which in a sense gives them certain behavioral urges. In the wild, cats scratch tree trunks to sharpen their claws and it also serves as a warning to other cats when they transfer their scent. Your home isn't the wild right? So how can do we fix this behavior? Here are a couple of suggestions:

  • Cats love a range of scratching products. Some have carpet, some are card board, burlap, wound twine and so on. If your cat doesn't stop scracthing your furniture, switch to something else.
  • The more expensive scratch posts have cat nip within them, this supposedly encourages your cat to scratch them over your nice sofa.
  • Some cats prefer to scratch horizontally and some prefer to scratch vertically. There's a lot of scratch post configurations that should fit your cat's preference. The key is for you to watch your cat and understand what way they prefer to scracth. My cat Maddy has two scracthing posts; one that she can scratch horizontally and one that she scratches vertically. The vertical one hangs from a door knob and is basically a carpet strip.
  • If your cat refuses to stop scratching your furniture, purchase more than one scratching post. Make sure that scratching posts you purchase vary in configuration. As I mentioned in the previous point, one should be designed for your cat to scratch horizontally and one should be designed to be scratched vertically. Given better choices, your cat will stay away from your furniture.


  • Be patient with your cat when it comes to scratching discipline. Don't yell and don't run up to them in a fury! You'll simply startle your cat and you probably won't fix the situation. Gently take your cat to the scratching post that you have purchased for him. Praise him (by petting or your happy voice) when he scratches his post. This teaches your cat he should be scratching the cat scratch post as opposed to your $2000 sofa. The key with cat discipline is rewarding them with positive reinforcement.

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