You adore your cat, for you there is no other cat like him, you give him and he gives you all the love in the world... but you have the sofa and some furniture at home destroyed because of his nails... You scold him, you have bought him scratchers, but you haven't achieved anything... you don't know what to do!
Cats scratch by a natural instinct
First of all... don't get angry with your cat because he scratches the furniture. Scratching is a natural instinct that cannot be avoided, and therefore you shouldn't scold him for it... unless you catch him in the middle of scratching, of course!!!
Reasons why cats scratch
Many people think that cats scratch to sharpen their nails, but in reality there are several reasons why they do it:
To mark territory.
If your cat scratches the couch, or has your favorite piece of furniture smashed, he is actually warning any other animal that might show up that that couch or piece of furniture belongs to him. Scratching, in addition to leaving visible marks, also impregnates your scent so that it can be detected by other cats or animals.
It is common for cats to scratch on a piece of furniture or object near their resting place. In fact, the first thing a cat does when it wakes up is to stretch and scratch its nails.
To release stress.
Scratching is a type of physical exercise that involves an effort and serves to discharge and release anxiety and stress.
And yes, to sharpen its nails too.
The cat is an animal that loves to groom itself and make itself beautiful. Just as they lick themselves clean, they scratch their nails to sharpen, clean and shape them,
You've bought scratching posts and it hasn't worked.
As they say, cats are very much their own people, and all it takes is for you to want them to do something for them to do the opposite. So, if your cat is scratching, although we recommend that you buy one or more scratchers, take some time beforehand to observe him:
What object does he like to scratch?
Where is it located?
If you know what his scratching preferences are, you will be able to provide him with similar but appropriate options.
Effective solutions to prevent inappropriate scratching
Once you have observed which objects your cat likes to scratch, where they are located and what texture they have, set out to reverse the situation:
It is possible that the cat scratches a certain object or piece of furniture because he likes the place where it is located and wants to mark his territory there. If you can move the object, that's a good first step. Although it may not always be possible, especially if it is a heavy piece of furniture or a sofa.
Thoroughly clean the object or piece of furniture that your cat scratches.
Remember that if the cat scratches by marking, the object will have scent marks and it will be more difficult for him to forget about it.
Cover the furniture your cat is scratching.
If it is not possible to move the objects that your cat scratches, you can cover them (for a while and while he gets used to the scratchers) with some fabric or texture that is not so pleasant for him, such as plastic for example. You can also spray them with special aerosols that are unpleasant for him. There are several on the market and they can be very useful (refer to aerosols).
Distribute scratchers in their favorite places.
It would be good to have one or more scratching posts (depending on their preferences) that are as close as possible to the places they like to scratch, and place them near them. There are different types, horizontally, vertically, in the form of a carpet or corner like sofas. Make sure it is a stable scratching post, with a wide base and with the texture they like best: rope, cardboard, carpet...).
You can also rub the scratching posts with catnip or catnip to make them more attractive.
If you have more than one cat, it is important that you put more than one scratching post, remember that territory is important to them and they will not like to share it.
When you get them to use the scratching post, reward them.
Positive reinforcement is the most effective. The cat will associate that using the scratching post has a reward, and therefore that is what he will do.
Unfortunately many cats have had their nails removed to avoid inappropriate scratching, although fortunately less and less. In fact in Spain, thank goodness, it is a practice forbidden by law. We know that an animal lover like you would never do it.