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What’s Up With This Annoying Scratching

For cats the scratching is what a Pedicure is for us, taking care of their claws and especially to remove the outer dead layer of the nail [sometimes you can see a cat trying to pull it off with their teeth].
Of course it’s also a form of play and stretching out from head to toe and when you watch a cat closely, you will recognize that the scratching is also used to communicate with humans and other cats alike.
So overall an inherited trait of species cat, no matter if tiny kitten or huge tiger.

 

The Humane Alternatives To Keep Kitty From Destroying Your Furniture

Instead of amputating a cat’s toes [what declawing really means] here are the safe, humane ways to save your furniture from Ms Kitty’s claws:

Keep Your Cat’s Nails Trimmed

Clipping the sharp point of your cat’s claws makes it less destructive and less painful while playing of course ;)
It may take a while for your cat to get used to this pedicure session but it can really be trained and a routine be established.
The easiest is to have Ms Kitty on your lab and pet her while touching the paws and eventually apply pressure which exposes the nails. Now it is important to just clip the white portion of the nail and not get into the pink part, the quick.
The white is the dead part similar to our fingernails but the quick is full of nerves and will bleed when cut.
If this should happen, dip the nail into simple flour and it will stop bleeding.

Applying Soft Nail Caps

You can even get really fashionable with colorful or sparkly claw soft caps [neutral Cat Claw Capsavailable too ;) ] which are applied after trimming the nails with an adhesive similar to faux fingernails and last for about 4-6 weeks and save your furniture and yourself when ruff housing with your cats.
They are now readily available at Petsmart and Petco or directly online at i.e. SoftClaws Nail Caps

Providing Scratch Surfaces For Your Cat

When your cat tends to scratch inappropriate areas, observe if those areas are vertical or horizontal and what the material is like and what height or coverage is affected.
This can determine the best cat scratching device for your cat which could be a scratching post covered in sisal rope or a flat or slanted corrugated cardboard scratch pad.
By now there is a good selection in store to choose from and many already come with catnip to rub or sprinkle on Ms Kitty’s new scratch parlor to attract her to it.
I would recommend to stay away from carpeted material as the cat cannot define an allowed and forbidden carpeted area to scratch and the soft material is not sufficient enough for the cat to condition her claws.
Keeping the new scratch post or pad near the undesired area and later gradually moving it to a more desired area usually works with patience and a treat for rewarding.

Training Your Cat To NOT Scratch Where You Don’t Want Her To

Covering the affected areas of attack can happen with draping a blanket, applying double sided tape or aluminum foil which Ms Kitty doesn’t like for the sensation those cause.
Don’t try to correct her with yelling or hitting, it will have no or worse, reverse effect –> bad attention is attention too!
Catch her in the act of scratching [after is too late!] with a loud noise giving a quick scare and your cat will start associating the noise with scratching. An air can for the noise [and the noise only, do NOT spray a cat with the air] is working beautifully.
Squirting water with a spray bottle is a way too but means you must be close and of course have the water to clean up after.

I think when understanding that Ms Kitty isn’t viciously scratching just to annoy her owner, it is easier to work WITH the cat’s trait instead of taking away a vital part of inherit behavior and worse, her claws/toes.

1.) photo credit: Mr. T in DC via photopin cc
2.) photo credit: .robbie via photopin cc