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kitten scratching behavior/training

June 13th, 2005, 09:58 AM
hi all- first off, just so you know- i refuse to declaw and from what i've read on forum, i'm pretty sure most, if not all of you are the same way. :)

the 6 feral rescue kittens are 12 weeks now. i have them in a room with several scratching posts and a futon which they have been climbing and jumping on and is play central basically. :) they scratch on the futon and dig their claws into it to climb around on it, play, etc. my question is should i allow them to do this to the futon? and if not, how do i deter them from doing so (especially when i'm not there)? is it going to reinforce the fact that clawing on furniture is ok? how do i teach them to use the posts instead of the furniture?

only one kitten uses the scratching posts for scratching! :) the others use it as another interactive play toy! :crazy:

need your advice, please! thanks! :)

June 13th, 2005, 10:03 AM
if they scratch the futon they will t least think scratching the futon is ok, and eventually will damage it quite badly.

from my experience, if you want to train a cat not to scratch furniture at all,. then dont let them scratch anything but their post.

my oldest cat grew up with a recliner chair that was just hers, she could scratch it and do as she pleased to it,

eventually it was in such shape we had to do away with it.

my beautiful cat was indignant at the thought of scratching the post and put her claws into my nice sofa many times,

and she still does it when she feels the need. she does use the post mostly now, but life would ahve been so much easier had we taught her to ONLY scratch the post, and that nothing else was ok


June 13th, 2005, 10:04 AM
to deter them from scratching it, put a plastic dust over on it [safety pin it to the futon so it doesnt slip off and make sure tis pinned well so no kitties get under it]

my cats hated the slippery feeling and eventually gave up on it.

thats just what worked for me, others might ahve better solutions


June 13th, 2005, 10:34 AM
I have a scratch-happy kitty too - I did a few things to deter her... used a spray bottle and spritzed her w/ water when i caught her scratching something she wasn't supposed to. When I wasn't home, I put orange (or any citrus) peels along the couch arms and cushions - she left those alone real fast! tinfoil sometimes works, some cats don't like the feel of it (much like the plastic suggestion). I've had the most luck w/ the smell stuff - orange/lemon peels, peppermint oil (few drops in my tranquility fountain keeps the kitties from thinking it's their personal water-bubbler), etc...

to teach them to use the posts, put some catnip on them, lots of toys on them, bascially make those posts as tempting as you can!

good luck!

Lucky Rescue
June 13th, 2005, 10:51 AM
Everyone gave you excellent advice. Eleni is right - cats don't like scratching something slippery like plastic, and they really hate aluminum foil, so you might temporarily use that too. You can also purchase a spray that repels cats, but smells very pleasantly of oranges to us.

Cats and kittens develop habits very easily, so prevention is better than cure.

For the scratch post, make sure it's big enough for them to continue to use as they grow, and make sure it's ROCK SOLID, as cats refuse to scratch something that is wobbly or unsteady.

Dangle a toy from the top of it and play with them on the scratchpost to encourage them to use it.

June 13th, 2005, 11:50 AM
"Interactive" play on the scrathing post is key ... never leave any toy/string/etc. dangling from the post that may be hanging/choking hazard :(
Lots of praise and encouragement as they use the scratching post. If you catch them scratching the futon simply pick them up and bring them to the scratching post and praise/treats as they scratch the post.

June 13th, 2005, 01:30 PM
thanks so much for all of the advice everyone!! :)

i will try using the citrusy smell deterrent first- and see how it goes. otherwise, will try to cover up the futon. :fingerscr

i had a feeling letting them have their way with the futon was not the way to go! just didn't know how to get them to use the scratching posts instead and keep them away from the futon while i'm not there.

thanks a million for the ideas- will keep you posted on my successes (hopefully!) /failures. :thumbs up