7/2/2018

Is Your Cat a ‘Scratcher?’

If you have a cat, you know they love to scratch. They scratch when they stretch. They scratch when you’re petting that special spot behind their ear. And, they scratch to mark their territory.

On top of all these reasons, they would need to scratch regardless to continue sharpening their claws and keep them healthy.

All this scratching they’re doing can really put some damage on our home.

Can Scratching be Prevented?

Scratching can’t be prevented, but it can be limited to certain surfaces. The best tactic here is to have scratching posts through your home.

Offering scratching posts with different qualities can also be helpful in this circumstance. Some cats love cardboard. Other cats love scratching wood. And, the next cat may prefer to scratch carpet. Some cats enjoy vertical scratching posts… others enjoy horizontal. It’s all about preference. And, sometimes your cat might want to mix it up.

The scratching post must be sturdy. Keep that in mind. If your cat starts scratching the post and it falls over, they’re probably not going back to that one.

What if My Cat Doesn’t Show Interest?

If your cat doesn’t show any interest in the scratching post (don’t worry, this is a common problem), you can encourage her by hanging toys from the post. Or, you can search for posts that contain catnip to spark her curiosity.

Prevent Scratching the No-No’s

If your cat has a favorite place in the house to scratch that’s a definite no-no, your best bet would be to put plastic over those items using double-sided sticky tape. Then, place a scratching post next to that object.

If it comes down to potentially re-homing your cat, you might want to consider the plastic caps for your cat’s claws. Then, there won’t be any damage to any items he or she scratches. The caps attach to your cat’s claws and last approximately 4-6 weeks.

What About Declawing?

There are many cat lovers who will automatically jump to declawing their cat. But, there’s a problem here. Declawing your cat won’t improve any type of behavioral issue—like aggression. The only difference is your cat won’t be able to damage your furniture anymore.

But, is it worth it to put your cat through such an extensive procedure?

The declawing procedure doesn’t only involve removing the claws. The procedure involves an amputation of the entire last digital bone on each of the front toes. When recovering from this procedure, our cats are in extreme pain. There’s also risk that comes along with the anesthesia, risk of infection, risk of excessive bleeding, and extended pain.

The Bottom Line on Scratching

There are many alternatives to consider if your cat is a big scratcher. Don’t immediately jump to re-homing or declawing. Give your cat a chance to learn the behavior is not appropriate first. And, show your kitty what is appropriate.

If you need help, don’t be afraid to call in a behaviorist. That’s what they’re there for. Using this link, you can find a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist (CAAB or ACAAB) or a board-certified veterinary behaviorist (Dip ACVB).