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Controlling Cat Scratching and Clawing.

Scratching and clawing is a natural instinct for cats. It helps sharpen their claws, marks their territory, and lets them stretch out. Scratching is done frequently when playing. Eliminating cat scratching is virtually impossible. The best solution is to redirect the scratching from the curtains or the sofa to an appropriate alternative such as a scratching post. Keeping claws trimmed can also help reduce the need for cat scratching.

If a cat has a particular spot that he likes to scratch, try blocking that area by covering it with aluminum foil, a spare cloth, or place double stick tape on the area. A cat may also be deterred by putting an unpleasant odor such as a sport liniment on the spot or by taping balloons to the spot. A squirt gun is often an effective deterrent. Punishing a cat after the fact will only confuse, anger, or scare him. He won't understand what the punishment is for.

After blocking the current scratching area, the next step is to replace the scratching spot with something else. A scratching post is the most common alternative. Use a post made of a different material as the spot he is presently scratching. You want him to feel the difference between the two. Try to have a scratching post that matches the angle of whatever he is now scratching. If he scratches the carpet give him something horizontal. If it is the leg of a chair then, a vertical post may be a better choice. Put the post near the favorite scratching area and try to get the cat to play around it to become comfortable. If possible, place his paws on the post, but don't force him. If he starts using the post then slowly move it away from the initial scratching area. When he is clearly using the post on a consistent basis you can remove the barrier placed on the initial area. With a little luck your cat will stick to his scratching post and leave your valuable furnishings alone.



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