Cats like to scratch by nature. They scratch to mark their territory. They scratch as a means of threatening other cats. They scratch in play. They scratch while stretching. The act of scratching actually removes frayed, worn outer claws exposing new, sharper ones. Unfortunately for their owners, cats can cause a lot of damage to furniture, drapes, and carpeting with their claws. There are a few steps you can take to ensure your cat has a proper place to scratch while still protecting your furniture and decor.
- Trim their nails. Press gently on the footpad to extend the claw. Using a claw clipper, clip off the tip of the nail being careful not to cut into the pink part of the nail. If you do go into pink part, your cat’s nail will bleed and your cat may jump and try to run away from you. If you have difficulty, ask your vet to show you how to trim your cat’s claws.
- Provide your cat with a variety of scratching posts. Rub catnip into the scratching posts. Keep in mind, catnip will not work for cats less than 5 months old. Encourage your cat’s behavior with treats and praise. Do not hold your cat up to the scratching post and force her to drag her claws on it. This procedure may frighten the cat and teach her to avoid the scratching post completely.
- Discourage inappropriate scratching. Remove or cover desirable objects in your home. Turn speakers to the wall. Use plastic, double-sided sticky tape, sandpaper or a vinyl carpet runner (turned upside-down to expose the knobby feet) on furniture or on the floor where the cat would stand to scratch. Place scratching posts adjacent to these objects.
- Apply claw covers to your cat’s nails. Claw covers are available under the product names Soft Paws or Soft Claws.
- Plastic tips are applied to cover your cat’s claws so they cannot scratch. Your vet may be able to apply them or you may be able to apply them if you have a mellow cat. The caps are temporary and last 4 to 6 weeks.