In this post we are going to look at how to train a cat to not scratch if they are being destructive in your home. We all want a nice home, but the problem is if you are a cat owner, your terrified of buying an expensive sofa, just for your cat to tear it to pieces. When it comes to teaching your cat to not scratch, there a number of important things you must know.
There are certain tips and tricks you must do. There are also a number of things you should never do. If you want to know how to train a cat to not scratch, everything will be revealed so you can have a cat that doesn’t scratch and a lovely home without claw marks everywhere.
Why do cats scratch?
Before we look at how to teach a cat not to scratch, it’s a good idea to understand why they scratch in the first place. There are a number of reasons why:
#1 Claw maintenance
Scratching is an instinctive behavior that help to maintain and sharpen their claws. This works by exercising the ligaments that help protract the claws and removes the blunt outer claw sheath.
#2 To stretch
Cats love to stretch just as humans do. You’ve probably noticed your cat waking up from a nap and stretching up to scratch on an object.
#3 Communication and marking territory
They also use scratching as a form of communication with other cats to mark territory. This works by leaving pheromones to mark objects, people, and other pets. This is done by using the scent glands in their paws.
Why To Do If You See Your Cat Scratching
In the next section we will look at how to train a cat to not scratch. But before we get into that, here’s a few things you can do if you catch your cat in the act of scratching.
- Clap your hands: Don’t do this too loud as it will frighten them.
- Say NO: In a firm amnner, but not too loud and don’t scream.
- Spray them with water.
- Physically remove them from the area.
How To Teach A Cat Not To Scratch
The habit of scratching can be very difficult to reverse. This is why we always recommend starting from a very early age so they do not develop the habit. Following the times below will train a cat to not scratch but it may take time so just have patience.
#1 Use scratching posts
It’s important to provide a variety of scratching posts in different locations around your house. Scratching posts come in different forms such as vertical, horizontal, wall mounted, and slanted. They also come in different textured materials, so it’s just a case of finding out which one your cat likes the best.
You’ll find that cats love to scratch certain parts of the wall or carpet in the house. If you find this is happening, then place a scratching pad in that same location. If your cats scratching the side of the sofa, the Navaris Cat Scratch Mat Sofa Shield below is a great option for this. It can be drapped over anything in the house including the sofa.
|SmartCat Pioneer Pet Ultimate Scratching Post (Beige)||$44.99|
|PetFusion Cat Scratcher Lounge - Walnut Brown, 1 Level (PF-CL1)||$49.95|
We recently wrote an article called Best Scratching Posts For Cats | Review And Buyers Guide. View the full article here: https://caredicat.com/best-scratching-posts-for-cats/
#2 Give them something to do (Interactive toys)
Cats may start scratching things in the house due to boredom. Cats need both physical and mental stimulation, and the way to provide this is with toys, and especially interactive toys. Interactive toys are great because provide stimulation and allow your cat to play on their own. The Petstages Cat Tracks Cat Toy below is a great example of this.
#3 Trim the cat’s nails
It’s good practice to keep your cats nails nice and trim. Not only to prevent them from scratching things in your home, but it’s also good for your cats health as it prevents injury and ingrowing claws. We have a great article on this blog called “How To Cut Your Cats Nails At Home”. It contains all of the information and tips you need to know.
View the full article here: https://caredicat.com/how-to-cut-your-cats-nails-at-home/
If you do not feel comfortable doing this yourself then it is advised to book in with a veterinarian.
#4 Cover desirable objects
Covering objects that your cat loves to scratch with plastic, sticky tape, and sandpaper may discourage them from scratching it. This will work, although it may not look the best in your home. A better alternative to this is to place scratching posts their instead, or use a number of the Navaris Cat Scratch Mat Sofa Shields that we mentioned above.
#5 Deter with scent
Certain smells such as citrus or menthol will repel cats as they do not like it. If there is a certain part of your house that your cat likes to scratch, using these kinds of scents will deter them. There also products available specifically for this. A great option for this is the FELIWAY Spray which is Clinically proven to reduce scratching and urine spraying.
#6 Reward Good Behavior
Rewarding your cat is such an important aspect of resolving your cat scratching behavior.n They thrive on positive reinforcement which helps to change their behavior. Remember that punishing your cat is something you should never do, as this will have a negative effect. Here’s how you can reward your cat:
- Praise and pets: Petting your cat and rubbing their favorite spots such as their cheeks and ears.
- Treats: Offering some of their favorite treats is one of the best ways of rewarding them.
- Catnip: This should be rubbed on the scratching posts anyway but it’s another good way or rewarding your kitty.
What Not to Do
You now know how to train a cat to not scratch, but you should be aware that there are thing’s you shouldn’t do. Let’s take a look:
#1 Your hands are not toys
One of the most common things people do is allow their cat to bite and play with their hands, especially when they are kittens. As cute as this may look, it teaches them that this behavior is okay to do which they will then take into their adult life. When they become adults their claws develop even more which can cause more damage.
#2 Never declaw
Some people think declawing is an option, but it is something you should never do, and is strongly opposed by the ASPCA. The reason for this is because it is not actually proven to resolve behavioral issues. Your also taking something away that is very instinctive and natural to your cat which can cause stress.
#3 Never force your cat to scratch
It’s never a good idea to actually grab your cats paw and drag their claws on the scratching pad. This may frighten your cat which could lead them to not scratch on the post at all out of fear.
#4 Never throw away old scratching posts
If you have had a scratching post for a while, it will obviously begin to wear down over time. Although this doesn’t look good, it’s actually good for your cat because their claws can get further into the torn material. It also works great because they are more familiar with the look and smell of a scratching post that’s been around for a while.
#5 Don’t yell at them
The final tip is to never yell at your cat. Yelling will not change any scratching behaviour. All it will do is annoy them which can lead to a bad relationship between the two of you.
What If Your Cat Is Still Scratching After You Have Tried Everything?
If you follow all of the tips above then your cat should stop scratching things up in your house. As all cats are different, there are always going to be some who don’t respond to anything. If you have tried absolutely everything and nothing is working, make an appointment with a veterinarian.
You should now have all of the tips and tricks required on how to train a cat to not scratch. If you have successfully achieved this or if you have further tips that we haven’t covered, drop them in the comments section below.