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Prevent Cat Scratching with the "3 D's"


Drs. Foster & Smith Educational Staff
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Cat clawing away at your patience?
If your cat is clawing away at your patience and leaving the edges of your furniture in tatters, your best strategy is to follow the 3 D's: Deter, Displace, and Dull.
Cat clawing away at your patience?
  1. DETER scratching with unpleasant tape and sprays. First, you need to make the areas you don't want your cat to scratch less inviting. The upholstered corners of couches and chairs are a scratching magnet, but you can make them less appealing by applying an herbal spray deterrent like No-Scratch or a double-sided tape like Sticky Paws. Herbal sprays replace the territorial "markers" left behind after scratching with an unpleasant scent to discourage repeat scratching. Sticky Strips reduce scratching another way. Cats' paws are extremely sensitive to touch, having evolved to detect the slightest vibrations of prey rustling through leaves and brush. This acute sensitivity makes "sticky" surfaces exceptionally annoying, and cats will avoid scratching any place so uninviting. Both options are nearly invisible to the human eye or nose, yet they yield clearly visible results.

  2. DISPLACE where your cat scratches. If your feline doesn't have a special scratching spot to call her own, it's no wonder she claims the upholstery and wood of your furniture for her instinctive behavior. If you provide more appealing alternatives - like posts, furniture, or boards - you'll soon find your cat preferring to scratch elsewhere.

    • If your problem scratching area is around doorframes and the wooden legs of desks, consider a piece of cat furniture or post made of cedar.

      Tip:
      While scratching may wreak havoc on your furniture, it is a powerful, instinctive behavior, and virtually impossible to stop completely. Cats scratch to shed the outer layers of their claws, to mark their scent, to get attention, and to stretch and condition the muscles in their paws. No-Scratch Spray replaces territorial "markers" with an unpleasant scent to discourage repeat scratching. Soft Claws Nail Caps take the edge off scratching behavior.
    • If your cat can't resist the soft sides of your couch or the nap of your best rug, choose a carpeted cat tree or perch.

    • Sisal, the rough and tough marine-grade rope that scratches back, is yet another feline favorite for many clawers. Try a vertical post or tree.

    No matter what tempting option you provide to replace your own furniture, a pinch or spray of catnip on the new scratching area will further encourage her to seek it out.

  3. DULL your cat's claws to reduce damage. Trimming your cat's nails as part of her regular grooming routine is one of the most effective ways to blunt the damage scratching can cause. Use a veterinary-quality clipper, gently squeezing each paw to expose the retractable claws. For cats who resist handling, try wrapping her in a soft towel for safe restraint. Another way to dull claws is by sheathing them with Soft Claws Nail Caps which glue on easily, last 4-6 weeks, and won't interfere with normal claw retraction. These little miracles take the edge off scratching behavior and help prevent injury to both your furniture and your family.
If your nerves and furniture are frayed by nuisance scratching behavior, remember the 3 D's to curb the problem. Don't hesitate to demonstrate to your copycat how to use her new scratching furniture, and reward with plenty of praise and treats when she follows your good example.

 

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