Cat Destructive Behaviors: My cat scratches the sofa and wood around the door

by diane


my older cat likes to claw my furniture and the wood around my door frames. Is there a product I can purchse or a home reamdy I can make to stop that behavior? I just got a new sofa and I have bubble wrap on the places he claws and that works but not very attractive. Please help.

Dear Diane,

Unfortunately, he is just doing what is natural for him. I understand that is difficult to live with if you want to keep your furniture looking nice. There are a few options available to cat owners regarding this matter:

(1) If you are not already or if you do not know how, learn to clip his nails and do it frequently. He is less likely to want to sharpen his nails if you keep them trimmed and he is less able to cause damage to things.

(2) Soft Paws is the cat version of "fake fingernails". They are fairly easy to apply, depending on the personality of your cat, and will definitely keep him from damaging anything as long as they stay on.

(3) Provide several and a variety of scratching posts or even old furniture or rugs that are ok for him to scratch. If he likes catnip, sprinkle a little catnip on the scratching posts from time to time to keep him interested in them.

(4) When he begins to scratch where you don't want him to, don't scream or clap or stomp. Go quietly and nicely and gently pick him up and take him to the scratching post and use his front paws to make the appropriate motions on the post. Do this repeatedly every time he starts to scratch in the wrong place.

(5) Obviously some cat owners resort to declawing their cats. I urge you to try very hard to avoid that. It is very painful for cats and rather unnatural to take away one of the bones of each of their "fingers". With persistance, most cats can be trained using the above methods.

Good Luck,
Dr. Neely

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