Having a cat is one of the great pleasures of life. However, disciplining them isn’t so glamorous. Opening your home to cats comes with many duties, such as protecting your furniture from little claws.

Since cats need to scratch – and we need to maintain our furniture – here are a few tips to help with their scratching problem.

It is important for the health of your cat to have a place to scratch. They need to shed the outer sheath off their nails and if no other place is provided, they may choose your couch or favorite armchair to shred. The best way to avoid this is to get a scratching post. The more cats you have, the larger it should be.

Carpet and rope are best for scratching and definitely help to deter them away from your couch. Cat posts are available in all pet stores or you can learn how to make your own. Toys should also be available for kitty incase boredom is the reason for scratching on your furniture.

Of course, trimming your cats’ nails will also help with this problem. Cats also scratch to claim a certain area with their scent. A cat post will also help with this problem since they will be able to claim their post all day long to yours and their content.

Another method you can try is to use deterrents around the furniture that is being scratched. You can move your furniture around and redesign your room – sometimes that is all it takes. Other times you may need to temporarily decorate your couch or shredded furniture with tin foil or sticky tape.

Place these items on the area being scratched as well as where the kitty would stand to scratch. They will not like their paws being stuck to the tape, and cats do not like the feel of aluminum foil. You can also try bubble wrap or anything that would not be comfortable to stand on (without hurting your cat).

When you catch your cat in the act there are several things to do to stop the behavior. First, try clapping your hands- just once or twice. The loud noise will deter them and hopefully help them forget what they were doing. If you cannot clap loudly, then you can have a metal can, such as a coffee container with coins or screws inside.

When you shake the container, the loud noise will bother them and they will most likely leave the room. After repeated attempts at this method, often just the sight of the metal can will make them leave the room.

If loud noises don’t seem to be working, you can always use the old stand-by cat deterrent: water. Carry a spray bottle with you, or just place it near the furniture in question so you can give kitty a squirt when they start to scratch. A more personal approach would involve going to your cat when they are scratching or even near the couch and gently giving their front paw a squeeze and telling them in a firm voice “No” and replicating the scratching action with their paw.

You can also give them a swat on the behind or pinch the back of their neck lightly. Then take them to their scratching post and repeat the scratching behavior, this time giving kitty lots of petting and love. Never hurt your cat when disciplining them as this will only make them fearful of you.

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