To Claw or Not to Claw...
Scratching is normal for a cat. It exercises the foot muscles and removes dead
tissues from the nails. It also provides a soothing and comforting effect that
creates a tranquil disposition. You can keep your cat from clawing your household
goods by keeping their nails trimmed using the guide on this page. Studies show
that 80% of cats whose nails are clipped will not continue to scratch. If you don't
feel comfortable trimming his nails yourself, take him to a groomer or your vet.
If your cat continues to claw, the following tactics can be used to redirect his
attention to a more appropriate behavior.
- Teach your cat to use a scratching post. When he begins to claw your furniture, move
him to the post and move his paws on the post in a scratching motion to give him the
idea. Leave the post in a place he likes to frequent or where he likes to take his
naps. Many cats like a good stretch and scratch after a nap.
- Use plastic or wooden guards which can be attached to the edges of your sofa
or chair. The cat's claws will slide right off and he will quit or look for his
- Use double sided sticky tape on the edges of carpeting or furniture or wherever
your cat is scratching. Cats hate to get their claws dirty or stuck. When the cat
discovers that his claws do not slide right out, he will abandon that spot.
- Place a piece of aluminum foil over the spot on the furniture that your cat
likes to scratch. On top of this place a clean rag soaked in a smell your cat hates.
Common smells cats can't stand are perfumes, orange, lemon, peppermint, wintergreen,
and oil of cloves. Leave this in place for a week or two, rescenting the rag
periodically. Your cat will approach the area but will be repelled by the smell.
The rag must stay in place long enough for the cat to learn that this is a
- Soft Paws are a commercial product. They are little plastic covers which slip
over and are glued to the cat's nails. If your cat does scratch, no damage will
occur to your furniture! They are effective for about 4 months before a new set
needs to be put on.
What does not work well
Using a squirt bottle or making a loud noise to interrupt the unwanted behavior
only seems to reinforce the fact that the cat shouldn't do the behavior when humans
are around. It is better to use a method that works whether you are present or not.
Questions or comments about CVHS should be directed to [email protected]
© 1997 Cocheco Valley Humane Society