Behavior

November 2018 Issue




Appropriate Scratching

Make the wrong spots no fun

Yimmyfoto | AdobeStock

Punishment doesn’t stop cats from scratching things. “It’s like yelling at a cat for doing something as natural as grooming,” says Dr. Bruce Kornreich, CatWatch Editor-in-Chief and associate director of the Feline Health Center. Instead, be smarter than the cat. Give her an appropriate, comfortable, sturdy scratching surface, such as flat horizontal scratchers, and toys covered with sisal rope, fabric, or cardboard. Sprinkle some catnip on the surface to attract her attention. Once she’s interested, it’s time to place possible deterrents where you don’t want scratching. Here are five tricks that can work:

1. Furniture repellent sprays: These scents work for most cats, but be sure to respray, as the scent isn’t long lasting.

2. Sticky double-sided tape: Place the tape on furniture, but first test it in an inconspicuous spot to be sure it won’t harm the furniture.

3. Smooth shield/surface covers: These deter scratching on furniture because the cat loses interest when he can’t get a good pull. For example, the Clawguard shield.

4. Safe booby traps: Consider something that will fall over and spook the cat away. A tower of plastic cups works harmlessly.

5. A compressed air can designed for cats: When a cat approaches a restricted area, a motion detector releases a spray of compressed air in a hiss to shoo him away. For example, the Ssscat Automated Cat Deterrent.