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Why Cats Scratch


1. Why Cats Scratch
Giving their claws a workout is about more than you may think. Cats scratch to:

Exercise
 It feels good when they reach up to scratch.

Relax
 The kneading motion is soothing. 

File their nails
 This is the most typical reason for scratching as it removes old layers of the nails.

Mark their territory
 Cats have scent glands between their paws that release scent on the furniture. (This may be particularly appealing to your cat now that they're in a new home.)

2. Ways to Stem "Bad" Scratching
First of all, let me stress that we do not suggest declawing the cat (I will find you and it will not be good!). It is not like trimming the nails; declawing is the equivalent of cutting right through the middle joint on your finger - bone, nerves, muscle, tendon, and all! Then they just simply super glue it closed. (see my page on Anti-Amputation for graphic details)

There are, however, several humane solutions you can try to help prevent your cat from destroying your furniture any further.

Keep the cat's nails trimmed
This will be more comfortable for both of you.

Evaluate what kind of fabric the cat likes
For example, if your cat seems to like the woven fabric of your couch, you could cover the couch with a different kind of fabric. However, we understand that you didn't spend good money on your furniture to keep it covered with a sheet. 

 Make the cat's favorite scratching areas annoying to her
 Most cats will scratch one or two areas on a piece of furniture. While you are trying to deter the behavior, try putting double-sided tape on the places the cat scratches. There is a product called "Sticky Paws" that works great. I prefer double sided carpet tape. You can buy it at Home Depot or Lowes and I find that it holds to the furniture much better. The feel
of the adhesive is very unappealing to cats.

 Make the scratching post more desirable by choosing a different material
 Some scratching posts are made of attractive carpet in nice neutral tones that match the living room. The problem is, these appeal to the people in the house and not the cat. Many cats prefer a scratching post made of sisal fabric or rope. 

Choose the best location for the scratcher
 If you already have a sisal post, try placing it right beside the furniture where the cat likes to scratch. This may look a little strange, but it's temporary. When the cat starts to use the post, very slowly, over a number of days, begin to inch it toward where you want it in the house.

If all else fails, there are
plastic/vinyl nail caps available for cats.
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