How to train your cat not to scratch the furniture
Many cat experts say declawing feline forefeet should only be a last resort, after nonsurgical solutions have been exhausted. Before you decide whether to declaw a cat, try these methods:
• Providing cats, preferably starting when they’re kittens, with stable, sturdy and rough-textured scratching posts and pads. Catnip may help attract a cat to a post or pad, as can providing treats and praise for using designated scratching areas.
• Trimming nails every one or two weeks. It’s easiest to get cats used to this if you start when they’re kittens.
• Deterrents, which can include double-sided tape on furniture, which makes the surface unpleasant for cats; feline pheromone spray, which reduces the cat’s desire to scent-mark; or spraying the cat with a water bottle.
• Gluing soft plastic covers onto the cat’s nails every four or six weeks.
“To avoid destructive cat behavior and clawing, you’ll need to be willing and able to invest time, effort, and money,” says Lynn Newbill, a cat-owning Angie’s List member in Alexandria, Va., who’s successfully tried several of these methods. “I’d urge people to learn about cat behavior before adopting. Understand what you’re getting into before bringing a cat into your home.”
5 reasons cat scratch:
- To condition claws by removing old nail sheaths
- To display dominance in front of subordinate cats
- To scent-mark with paw glands
- To visually mark by leaving shredded matter
- To stretch and exercise their forelegs
Where to learn more:
- Cornell University’s Feline Health Center web page on managing destructive behavior at home.
- Veterinary Partner.com’s pet health library page on declawing and alternatives.
Also, consult with a general veterinarian, a feline practitioner or animal behavior expert. Angie’s List can help you find a top-rated professional. Members have access to local consumer reviews on veterinarians and service providers in more than 550 other categories.