Scratching Posts Essential to a Cat’s Physical and Emotional Health | Wise animals
Scratching is a natural and important feline behavior. This means you shouldn’t try to stop your cat from scratching unless you want to deal with other unwanted behaviors that will show up because of frustration at being punished and/or not being able to scratch. .
This is one reason why declawing is a bad idea. Instead, you can teach your cat when and where to use its claws.
If you’ve tried to stop your cat from scratching furniture or curtains by adding a scratching post or cat tree to your home, I guess your efforts probably haven’t made a difference. I also assume that yelling “no” and spraying your cat with water only works when you’re around. When the human is gone, the cats play.
To effectively change where your cat chooses to scratch (whether or not you’re around), you must actively teach it where to scratch while preventing it from scratching the things you don’t want it to scratch. .
First, make furniture, rugs, or door frames unattractive by covering them with cat tape. Since you’ve just removed your cat’s favorite scratching option, it’s now imperative that you offer her an appealing scratching alternative.
Next, pay attention to the type of material your cat likes to scratch on and whether it prefers vertical and/or horizontal surfaces. This will ensure that you provide suitable scratching surfaces to match your cat’s preferences. A good vertical scratching post should be at least 30 inches high with a wide, heavy base to prevent the post from tipping over on your cat while she is scratching. Posts should be wrapped in a Berber-style or sisal rug and placed next to where your cat normally scratches. If your cat prefers to scratch on wooden surfaces, provide a wooden or cardboard scratching surface.
Finally, the most important step in speeding up the process of behavior modification and making it really stick in your cat’s brain is to give your cat treats and interactive playtime for using the scratching posts. Positive reinforcement will teach your cat which scratching surfaces yield the best rewards. Once you see him steadily choosing the new scratching surface, gradually remove the cat tape and make the treats disappear. Pro tip: Clicker training is really useful for teaching proper scratching behavior because you can capture and reward proper scratching from a distance.