We all know that sinking feeling. You come home from a long day, only to find that your dearest kitty has gone to town on your couch with their claws. And while it’s tempting to get irritated, scratching is normal, healthy behaviour for your cat.
To keep their claws in tip-top condition, cats need to scratch regularly, but your custom-made curtains should not be the target – and it’s important that your cat knows this. The best thing you can do as an owner is provide suitable alternatives.
The best options are designated scratching pads or posts. These should be introduced into the home as soon as possible, so that your cat learns to use them from an early age.
When you see your cat scratching your furniture, one of the most effective ways to dissuade them is to try squirting them (very gently) with water from a spray bottle.
This action, which should never be done angrily or aggressively, should be accompanied with a firm “no!”. Also, try to cover the item your cat prefers with plastic. Most cats return to the same spot, and the uncomfortable feeling of plastic under their paws should help to dissuade them.
On the other hand, when you see your cat using their scratching pad or post, you should reward them with affection and affirmation. This will help to create negative associations with damaging the furniture and positive associations with using the scratching post to keep their claws sharp.
Ensure you get the right scratching aid for your cat – both in terms of size and height, and their ability to reach it without obstacles.