Scratching Furniture

Your cat needs to scratch and climb. These activities are part of the essence of being a cat. The first order of business is to provide your cat with a variety of scratching posts - one in each room. Most cats scratch immediately after waking, while performing a variety of stretching exercises. So place at least one scratching post close to her sleeping area.

In addition to providing the cat with a number of scratching posts, take time to teach the cat to use them. As soon as the cat wakes up from a nap, call her to her post. Scratch the post at a point a couple of feet off the ground. Most cats will reach up and stretch with their front paws on the post. Praise the cat profusely, especially if she makes scratching motions. Make the post enjoyable for the cat. Put an occasional treat on some of the platforms. Rub the post down with catnip. Tie a toy to the end of a length of string and trail it around the house. When kitty is in hot pursuit, drag the toy up the side of the post. Do everything you can to make the post a fun place to be.

Once the cat understands that you are overcome with joy when she claws or climbs the scratching post, it is time to teach her not to scratch the drapes or furniture.

A simple way to do this is to booby trap forbidden articles. Drape a piece of netting over the cat's favorite scratching targets. Tie a couple of bells to the netting. Whenever the bells ring, shout "NO!" Then gently call Kitty over to her scratching post. Profusely praise and reward the cat for using the post.

Until your cat can be trusted not to scratch your furniture, she should not be given free run of your house at times when you cannot supervise her. She should be confined to an area where she cannot get into trouble. To speed up the training process, the confinement room should have several scratching posts. Since the cat has no other items to scratch, she will learn to use her posts.

It is also a good idea to trim your cat's nails on a regular basis. The curved tip of the claw is the part that hooks into fabric and causes the most damage.