Taking the thriller out about why cats scratch
Our pricey departed cat, Tubby, was “particular,” bless his coronary heart. We adopted him when he was a senior. I particularly requested to undertake the cat who had been within the shelter the longest and was least more likely to be adopted. Tubby! was the reply I obtained from workers on the Virginia Seaside SPCA.
Tubby’s title was, how ought to I say it…well-deserved. He was a BIG cat! He wasn’t fond of individuals, and he didn’t like animals both. I shortly realized that one factor he DID like (moreover meals, after all) was scratching — particularly my upholstered furnishings.
Cats like to scratch. In reality, scratching is an instinctual and wholesome feline habits. Cats scratch to sharpen their nails, relieve nervousness, stretch their muscle groups, get some train and set up their territory.
Scent glands of their paw pads launch pheromones when cats scratch. Pheromones would not have an odor that individuals can odor, however different cats positively take be aware. Cats really feel safer and extra snug of their setting after they mark it by scratching.
The excellent news is that if you happen to present your cats with a wide range of applicable scratching choices, you’ll be able to cease them from damaging your belongings.
Discovering your cat’s favourite scratching surfaces could take some trial and error. Every cat has their very own scratching preferences. Some cats favor vertical surfaces, whereas others like horizontal scratchers.
Fortuitously, you’ll be able to select from an abundance of cat scratchers. From huge cat timber and standalone scratching posts to wall-mounted pads, corrugated cardboard, carpet mats, sisal ropes…the choices are infinite.
When deciding on your cat’s new scratcher, measurement issues. Cats favor giant, sturdy objects. Additionally they prefer to stretch their entire physique, so purchase a scratcher that permits them to completely prolong.
When it comes to placement, cats typically favor to scratch in socially important areas of the home. Whereas it is likely to be tempting to cover your cat’s scratcher out of sight, they are going to be much less seemingly to make use of it.
As soon as a brand new scratcher is in place, many curious cats will discover it instantly, whereas others might have some encouragement.
Strive sprinkling some catnip or silvervine (Actinidia polygama, a substitute for catnip) to entice kitty over to play on or close to the brand new scratcher. Reward your cat with a favourite deal with for investigating or giving it a scratch or two.
By no means punish your cat for scratching, even if you happen to discover them clawing in an inappropriate space. Whereas utilizing a sprig bottle, noisemaker or bodily punishment may work within the second to discourage your cat from scratching, it may well create long-term behavioral issues similar to litter field points, avoidance or concern and aggression in the direction of people.
As an alternative of punishment, redirect your cat’s scratching. For instance, in case your kitty scratches the arm of your cloth couch, strive a vertical scratching publish positioned proper subsequent to the arm of the sofa. In case your cat prefers scratching horizontally on the again of the couch, place a sturdy horizontal scratcher on the bottom close to the sofa.
A closing phrase about scratching — cats want their claws for grooming, stability, mobility, gripping and safety. Declawing ought to by no means be an answer to cat scratching. Declawing is an inhumane and extremely painful process that results in arthritis and, typically, long-term litter field points.
Pasadena Humane is launching a “purr-fect” new coaching class this June that can assist you study extra about scratching and getting your kitties off on the precise paw.
“Kitten Kindergarten” is a enjoyable, interactive expertise that permits kittens ages 8 to 14 weeks to soundly socialize with different kittens and new individuals in a clear, managed setting. Kitten mother and father will find out about litter field habits, mouthing, harness coaching and far more! Register at pasadenahumane.org/coaching
Dia DuVernet is president and CEO of Pasadena Humane.
This weblog publish initially appeared as a column within the Pasadena Star-Information on Could 19, 2023.
Autor Dia DuVernet