Teaching Fluffy Proper Scratching Habits

Is your cat using your sofa as a scratching post? Kitties are adorable and loving pets, but they do have a few habits we could do without, such as scratching. Read on as a Rochester, NY veterinarian discusses Fluffy’s nail care regimen.

Why Cats Scratch

Even though Fluffy may look extremely pleased with herself when she’s scratching something, she isn’t deliberately trying to ruin your belongings. Cats just have a very strong instinctive urge to scratch. There’s a good reason for this: those sharp little claws are crucial to kitties’ survival in the wild. Our feline friends use their nails for hunting and defense, and for climbing to safety.

Curbing Bad Habits

Never punish your feline friend for scratching, even if she is shredding your furniture. Scratching is instinctive behavior, so Fluffy won’t understand why you’re angry. This could make your kitty feel anxious, scared, or angry, and may very well do more harm than good. To discourage improper scratching, squirt your furball with water or make a loud noise. This will startle your pet, and disrupt her nail-care routine, but it won’t hurt her.

Bribing The Furball

Cats can be rather stubborn little furballs. When trying to get your feline to do, well, pretty much anything, you have to work with her, rather than against her. In other words, you may need to bribe your kitty. Provide your furry friend with suitable scratching options, like a cat tower or scratching board. Pick something sturdy, as kitties don’t like wobbly scratching posts. You’ll also want to be sure to choose something tall enough to allow Fluffy to stretch out to her full length. To encourage your cat to use her new nail-care station, offer her catnip, toys, and treats near it. Compliments also help: go ahead and tell Fluffy she’s being a good kitty.

Other Options

If you aren’t having any luck, consider clipping Fluffy’s nails. Just like a human manicure, this is painless and temporary. If you’re nervous about doing it yourself, just contact us to schedule a quick peticure. Claw caps are another option. These are fake nails for kitties. They are temporary, but until they fall off, the rounded tips will keep your furry little diva from destroying your things. Ask your vet for specific recommendations.

Do you have questions about caring for your cat? Contact us, your Rochester, NY animal clinic!