Cat Scratching - 7 Sofa-Saving Training Tips

More on PawNation: cat claws, cat scratchers, cat training, Red_Room, scratching post

cat scratching postjess2284, Flickr

Amy D. Shojai is a certified animal behavior consultant and the award-winning author of 23 pet care books, including Complete Kitten Care and Complete Care for Your Aging Cat.

Understanding Why They Scratch and Claw
Kittens and adult cats claw for many reasons. Clawing feels good and provides a great shoulder and leg workout. Clawing keeps feline nails healthy by cleaning off old layers. Clawing marks kitty territory with visual cues (including your shredded upholstery) and paw pad scent.

Your cat's clawing behavior may raise your blood pressure, but it relieves feline stress, sort of like the kitty equivalent to human nail biting. In fact, upset cats often target items that smell like their beloved human (your bed, your favorite chair), not because they're angry or vindictive, but because they love you so much and scent-sharing makes them feel better. Once you understand their motivations, you'll be able to better train them toward less-destructive clawing.

Using Kitten Aptitude Training
These seven tips and strategies can help you redirect your cat's clawing behaviors:

1. Offer Cat Scratching Options That Suit Your Pet: Irresistible choices match the cat's desires for texture and style. Does your cat scratch horizontally or vertically -- or maybe overhead while scooting on her back? Does he target upholstery, carpet, soft fabric or hardwood? Choose cat scratchers accordingly. Scratch objects should be taller or longer than the cat's full-length stretch as an adult (because kittens do grow!) and sturdy enough it won't tip over under a full-out scratch assault.

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