Help Stop Your Cat Scratching Your Furniture (and Save Your Sanity!)

This one's for all us cat owners living in fear for our sofas and carpets! Does your kitty like to scratch your furniture?

Its a common problem with lots of cats, especially 'flat cats' (not literally!) I mean of course kittys who live in apartments with very little outdoor exercise.

Why do they do it? Not as people commonly think to sharpen their claws, but to exercise, clean and keep them healthy. Cats that have lots of outdoor exercise will often use your fruit trees – which can cause major damage to the tree trunk, indoor cats will use any suitable surface – your sofa, carpet, wallpaper etc. etc.

The thing with cats is that they're creatures of habit and they 'bond' with certain surfaces or items for their 'personal hygiene' (I'll be writing about toilet training soon!). So to save your trees, soft furnishings and sanity, the trick is to get them to bond with something more suitable and take action to protect your home.

Okay so a two-pronged solution:

Save your furniture – apart from shutting your cat out of the house (no chance), declawing (illegal and very painful for the poor cat), what else can you do? There's a couple of things that spring to mind

Furniture protectors – clear plastic strips that attach to the furniture. They provide a smooth surface so kitty's claws slide off, helping to break the claw habit.

Claw Scissors – these are a small pair of clippers suitable for indoor cats, rabbits and so on. Clipping the ends of your cat's claws regularly will not worry kitty and will help save the carpets from those claws hooking in. Not always such a good idea for outdoor cats as they use their claws for climbing and defense.

Provide 'bonding' material for your cat with Sisal scratching posts, pads and climbers. Sisal is a tough material that can withstanding constant clawing and provides the type of surface that cats like to use for their grooming. They're often impregnated with catnip and come with toys attached to encourage your cat to use them.

If all else fails, pop down to your vet surgery – many run clinics where the nurses give advice on all sorts of subjects.

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