How do I care for my cat who scratches everything?

Cats scratch to maintain the health of their nails, to stretch their muscles, to mark their territory, and to serve as an emotional outlet. Unfortunately, cat scratching can be destructive in your home.

Cats pick a small number of objects to scratch such as trees, fence posts, or the corner of your couch, and return to them repeatedly. The scratched surface leaves a highly visible mark that is easily seen by other cats. In addition, cats have scent glands in their paws that leave odor cues that other cats can smell. Declawed cats may still be leaving scent marks on objects when they scratch.

There are several approaches to dissuade your cats from scratching inappropriate places. 

  1. Cover the damaged scratching area with thick plastic, aluminum foil or double sided tape.
  2. Place a scratching post in front of the area. 
  3. Glue soft covers on their nails

Declawing your cat should be the last resort if all else fails. At Westside Pet Hospital we do offer a petdeclawing to serve this need.

You can help avoid the problem by providing your cat with a place to scratch. Establish good habits by placing scratching posts in areas the cat likes to rest and play. 

Do encourage scratching on the post by playing with dangle-toys on or near the post, scenting the post with catnip, using praise and food rewards when the cat scratches the post or even scratching the post yourself to stimulate the cat to scratch. 

Teaching your cat appropriate scratching behavior is a potential problem solved.

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