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If your cat claws on household furniture, it might be destructive behavior from your perspective but not from your cat’s perspective. It is natural for them and it follows from a need to keep their claws in good shape and leave scent and visual markings on objects and communicating their boundaries to other animals. It is also a great exercise for them as it lets them stretch and retract their legs, shoulders and paws. Since it is natural for them, you need to think of ways to protect your furniture from becoming the victim. Here are a few tips:Understand and redirect their scratching behavior
- Appreciate the purpose behind it – A cat does not scratch to make you miserable. It is a form of exercise for its muscles. It also sharpens their claws and cleans their exterior sheath.
- Be understanding and patient – Cats are shrewd creatures and they know when you care and appreciate them. Unlike what people believe, cats do all they can to please their human companions. All they need to know is that they are praised and supported. With practice and understanding, they will learn to leave the furniture alone.
- Get a scratching post – A scratching post is the answer to all your problems. However, you need to give your cat some time to get used to it. Make sure you get a post that is at least as tall as your cat when he stands on his hind legs. It has to be sturdy and cannot wobble when your cat applies his body pressure to it. At the same time, it should not be too tall or heavy or it will fall on your cat. Also, try and avoid fluffy posts. The post must be like the bark of a tree, coarse and rough. Get a post with a sisal fiber rope around it as it is scratchier.
- Locate the posts strategically – Make a note of all the furniture that your cat claws on and mark their locations. Place the post next to the furniture that your cat likes scratching. If your cat likes to scratch around in multiple areas, make sure you provide opportunities for your cat to scratch in each of those areas.
- Train him to use it – Condition your cat to use the scratching post for scratching purposes. Place him gently in front of it and wait for him to respond. You can try rubbing catnip onto the post to make it more appealing. Every time he uses the post, praise him by giving him a treat. Another great way to condition him to it is to withhold your greeting upon entering home till you reach the scratching post. Stand near it and scratch it with your nails. That will tell your cat that you are happy to see him near it. When he gets close and starts scratching it, stroke him and show your appreciation.