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How to Teach Your Cat Proper Scratching Habits

Is your cat using your sofa as a manicure station? Kitties have many wonderful qualities, but their nail care regimens aren’t always a big hit. In fact, scratching is a very common complaint among cat owners. In this article, a Salisbury, NC veterinarian offers some helpful tips on how to get your cat to stop scratching improperly.

Avoid Punishment

Scratching is a natural instinct in cats, and a very strong one at that. Those sharp little nails are crucial to cats’ survival in the wild. They help kitties catch their dinner, climb to safety, and defend themselves. It’s no wonder that our feline friends are so diligent about keeping their claws sharp! Because the urge to scratch is instinctive, punishing your cat for scratching won’t help. Fluffy won’t understand what she did wrong, and may feel angry, scared, or anxious. This can cause even more issues! To discourage improper scratching, squirt your feline pal with water, or make a loud noise.

Offer Suitable Options

Be sure to offer your kitty proper scratching options. A cat tower is great, as it also gives your feline pal a high vantage point and jungle gym. You can also use a scratching post or board. Just be sure that whatever you pick is strong enough to hold up to Fluffy’s acrobatics, and tall enough to allow her to stretch out to her full length.

Sweeten The Deal

Once you’ve picked out a scratching post, try to encourage your cat to form a positive association with it. Kitties love compliments, so give Fluffy praise and toys for scratching properly, and tell her she’s being a good kitty. Sprinkling catnip on or around it may also help.

Advanced Tactics

No luck? Try putting clear, two-sided tape down in places your cat likes to scratch. Fluffy will hate the way the tape feels! You can also try using an herbal spray deterrent.

Other Options

If all else fails, consider clipping your cat’s claws. Fluffy won’t be able to do much damage with short nails! Don’t worry: nail trims are just as painless and temporary for cats as they are for people. You can also try using claw caps, which are essentially fake nails for kitties.

Do you have questions about your kitty’s health, care, or behavior? Call us! As your Salisbury, NC vet clinic, we are here to help!

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