If you have house cats, it's a good bet that you've suffered from shredded sofa syndrome at some point. Cats need to scratch in their nature. There's no way to stop it. While there are no humane ways to keep your cat from scratching, the good news is that there are effective ways to keep your new Ethan Allen classic from turning into a Goodwill reject.
Why do cats scratch in the first place?
Sharp claws are essential to survival for felines, and the continual scratching keeps your cat's claws sharp by stripping off old layers of nail. Without the ability to claw, cats wouldnï¿½t be able to hunt, and the species never would have made it to modern times. Even in the modern world, razor-sharp claws help cats keep potential enemies and overly boisterous children at bay. Scratching and climbing are not only a natural instinct for cats, they're enjoyable activities; something that all cats love to do.
How to Modify Scratching Behavior
The first step to keeping your cat from clawing your upholstered furniture is to provide scratching posts and training them to use them. You should not allow your pet to roam unsupervised in your home until you can trust them to refrain from destroying your furniture. Since cats often have favorite scratching places (usually your most expensive piece of furniture), you should protect the item by keeping it covered with netting, plastic sheeting, or loose-weave fabric.
While they are being trained, keep your cat somewhere they canï¿½t get at any valuable furniture, such as the garage or a spare bedroom. Obviously this is not a permanent solution, but it'll keep them out of trouble while you're away. Keep whatever confinement area you choose furnished with scratching and/or climbing posts. This is a good way to teach her to scratch and climb where you want them to.
Your cat might not initially like scratching only on its new post, Here are a few tips to get them interested.
Put treats on the platforms.
Attach strings to the platforms with their toys hanging so they will become interested.
Rub catnip onto the post.
Cats often scratch right after they wake up as part of their stretching routine. Whenever your cat wakes from a nap, call them over to the post and scratch at it a few feet from the floor. Cats will often reach up to the post and stretch.
Buy or Build?
If you are handy, you can even build your own. Try a rough-cut (not smooth sanded) four-by-four, attached to a three-foot by three-foot piece of three-quarter-inch plywood as a base to keep it standing up. Platforms placed at various levels are also good resting spots. Use ï¿½non-looped carpet (use a comb or brush to check) to cover the post and platforms, and use carpet tacks to nail it into place. Virtually any carpet store sells inexpensive, odd-sized remnants. If construction is not your thing, a wide variety of scratching posts are available at your pet store, and if you're handy,
Always Reward Good Behavior
Remember, when trying to cure a scratching problem or prevent one from developing in the first place, the single most important element is praising and rewarding your cat for using their post and not the furniture. Don't try to force them to scratch by grasping their paws. Cats wonï¿½t like that one bit, and they will learn to see the post as some sort of punishment. The best way to teach your cat to scratch their post is rewards and praise. with proper use of praise, affection, and treats, then they will learn to enjoy to scratch the post instead of the furniture.
When your cat slips back into scratching the furniture or curtains, startling them with a sudden loud noise, keep several on hand in areas of the home with furniture so you can punish bad scratching behavior immediately. It's just as important to use punishment immediately after bad behavior as it to use praise and rewards right away for good behavior.