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Kitty’s Scratching Habit

April 1 2015

Does your furball sometimes exasperate you by scratching on your carpet or furniture? Kitties are wonderful animals. These charming, quirky, and adorable furballs have many great qualities. Fluffy isn’t perfect, though, any more than we are. When it comes to ‘petiquette’, improper scratching is likely at or near the top of the list of Kitty’s bad habits. In this article, your Cherry Hill vet discusses cats and scratching.

Why Kitties Scratch

Scratching is completely natural behavior for our feline friends. Fluffy isn’t out to purposely destroy your furniture: she’s just following her own instincts. When Kitty lived in the wild, her claws were crucial to her survival. They helped her escape predators, climb to shelter, catch her next meal, and defend herself. Cats learned long ago that taking care of their claws was very important. Trees provided perfect manicure stations for kitties in the wild. Your domesticated pet may not have to worry much about escaping predators, and her next meal may be coming from a can, but she is still driven to care for her nails.

Deterring Improper Scratching

Use a double-sided tape on areas that Fluffy likes to scratch to deter her. She won’t like the texture, and will move on to another surface. Another trick you can try is to squirt her with a squirt bottle, or rattle a jar of change loudly. These things will startle her, but they won’t hurt her, and she won’t associate them as directly coming from you.

Encourage Good Habits

First and foremost, you’ll need to provide suitable scratching options. You won’t have much luck keeping Fluffy away from your couch if you aren’t offering a good alternative. A good, sturdy cat tower is a great option, because it can double as a playground/sleeping area for your furball.

Use Positive Reinforcement

Never punish your cat for scratching. You can tell her ‘No’ or ‘Stop that!’, but don’t raise your voice. Since Fluffy is only following her natural instincts, punishing her will only confuse her. She won’t understand why she’s being punished, which could cause her to become frightened, unhappy, and anxious. Instead, reward her for good behavior.

Does your kitty need shots or an examination? Please contact us any time. As your local Cherry Hill veterinary clinic, we always strive to provide the best veterinary care possible.

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