Cats have a natural need to scratch, and unfortunately this need can manifest itself with long, raggedy marks on the side of your favorite chair. Here, learn how to stop your cat’s destructive scratching habits from a Cumberland County veterinary professional.

Provide Alternatives

Don’t stifle your cat’s natural scratching tendencies—redirect them to appropriate alternative surfaces, like scratching posts. These structures are available at retail stores, pet supply stores, and veterinarian’s offices. Some cats will prefer horizontal posts while some like a vertical surface. Since cats often like to stretch out while scratching, make sure the post is tall or long enough to accommodate your cat’s length.

Clip the Nails

Keeping your cat’s nails trimmed can go a long way toward reducing damage to your furniture, purse, shoes, or carpets. By blunting the sharp tips of the claws, they’re rendered less effective but your cat can still get out her scratching instincts. Ask your vet for advice on the proper procedure for trimming your cat’s nails.

Cover Surfaces

You can purchase furniture covers or plastic sheets that protect valuable surfaces from your cat’s roaming claws. You might also try taping sandpaper or rubber pads onto the sides of furniture to protect them. Put a scratching post next to these surfaces so your cat has an acceptable alternative.

Use Incentives

Try sprinkling catnip on scratching posts—this will double the incentive for your cat to use it. You can also try using treats and toys to entice your cat into using the posts, not the furniture.

See a Vet

If you still can’t get your cat to stop her destructive behavior, set up an appointment with your Cumberland County veterinarian. He or she probably has further suggestions to help your cat scratch appropriately, and they can direct you to a certified animal behaviorist if needed.