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Impossible to train a cat not to scratch furniture?

Okami
August 15th, 2005, 11:14 PM
I've purchased a kitten from a breeder, not too long ago, but I'm still waiting for the kitten to reach 9 weeks of age before I take it home. So all this time I've been waiting I've been preparing and reasearching more.

I know cat's scratch, I know it's very natural for them to. I've read articles by vets and trainers suggesting ways to train your cat where to scratch and where not too. I've even talked to cat owners and asked how they did it.

So it really freaked me out when someone told my parents that it was impossible to train their own cat not to scratch furniture. They said they bought everything from "soft paws" to scented spray. But the cat just keeps on scratching doors and carpets.

So I'm a little scared, are there really cats out there that are untrainable? I was sure that it was just the owners that didn't know how to train the cat. But they said they spent so much time. And now their forced to declaw their cat. I don't ever want my kitty declawed! I can't imagine how much pain I would be in someone ripped my nails out of my fingers.

Joey.E.CockersMommy
August 15th, 2005, 11:20 PM
Yes it is definatley. I am not a cat expert but have had them before. i bought a scratching post and sprayed it with catnip spray. Everytime the cat tried to scratch the furniture I would move her to the post. it didn't take long and soon that was all she would use.!!!

StaceyB
August 15th, 2005, 11:24 PM
As long as you get your kitten started early to enjoy a post all should be fine, don't worry yourself.
Purchase a post that is tall enough for an adult to stand against it, extend paws and not reach the top. When your kitten comes home bring him/her to the post, extend the legs out by gently holding them. Place paw on post and drag downwards. You can also rub or spray cat nip to the post to attract them. If you notice your kitten showing interest towards the furniture purchase a deterent spray. Keep your kittens nails short and filed to dull them.

Freyja
August 15th, 2005, 11:24 PM
Keep a spray bottle handy, when the kitten starts to use anything other than the scratching post, give the little guy a squirt say firmly "No!" and place him on the stratching post with lots of praise.

StaceyB
August 15th, 2005, 11:31 PM
As a former groomer I personally don't like to use water as a deterent. I have seen too many fear water, both cats and dogs but that is my opinion.

Freyja
August 15th, 2005, 11:33 PM
I respect that, and I will take a water scared cat over a wrecked couch any day of the week! ;)

morningstarCO
August 15th, 2005, 11:44 PM
I had 5 cats at one point, and to look at my house, you'd never know it. I keep a scratcher at their "hot spots" and 99 times out of 100, they use their scratcher. The cardboard ones fit nicely right underneath the sofa -- just enough so it stays in place. Mine just LOVE to dig their claws deep down into cardboard. They get obvious satisfaction. There's sisal/carpet scratchers for $10 or $15 at walmart. They are small enough as to not look tacky in your home, large enough for the cat to want to use.

The problem with catnip is that they build a tolerance quick, though it's great for initially attracting them to the post or cardboard. Some don't ever even respond. Two of my five did not.

For areas where they just keep on scratching, you can use Sticky Paws. It's tape adhesive on both sides basically, and they don't like sticky anything touching their paws.

I do have a friend however whose couch is unrecognizable as such because the arms have been all but ripped entirely off. Yellow foam is sticking out. She has no posts, and says she chooses to let her cats scratch "naturally." I gave her mine to use, the cats went staight to it and started checking it out and "marking it" with their paws by -- you guessed it-- scratching. But she said she didn't want one, and so I took it back. *shrug* Her sofa, not mine. Point being, you CAN train a cat to scratch posts and cardboard. The trick is making them choose that over something else, which means simply making it more enticing, showing them it feels great to scratch there too. And elicits more praise from mommy, because the squirts of water are certainly no fun. Well except for my bengal who wants to drink it, mid-air. He's another story for another day. LOL.

Don't worry yourself at all. Mine were scratcher-trained in a week or less, with few incidents of inappropriate scratching beyond that.

Also, if you learn to trim their claws, they will do very minimal damage even if they do start going at furniture. :thumbs up

Lucky Rescue
August 15th, 2005, 11:52 PM
I have trained every cat I've owned to use a scratch post.

I recommend posts covered in sisal, as opposed to carpet, so they don't feel that scratching carpet is fine. They also like scratching dry tree branches, like birch.

Attach the posts (you should have more than one) so they are VERY solid. Cats will not use anything wobbly. I bolt mine to the wall. Make sure it's high enough so the cat can stand and scratch as an adult.

Scratch post training must be done in a very positive and gentle manner. Rub catnip on the post. When you see the kitten going to scratch anything else, make a little noise to interrupt it, then very gently and with lots of petting, take it to the post and put the paws on it. Use your fingers to scratch at the top of the post to attract the kitten's attention. When it does scratch, talk softly and pet it again.

While you're doing this training, you can use a repellant spray on furniture to make it unattractive. These sprays smell good to us (like orange usually) but cats hate it.

Get the kitten used to nail clipping as soon as you get it. This must also be done very gently. Never restrain the kitten if it struggles.

Okami
August 16th, 2005, 12:05 AM
Thank you for all the suggestions!
I've been recommended sisal for scratching posts alot, so I'm definitely going to use it. Would more then 1 scratching post be a positive thing? I'm hoping my kitty can scratch when he feels like it, but at the same time I don't want him to get the idea that scratching anywhere in the house is good. Also what other types of wood are good for scratching, that don't splinter so the cat doesn't have wood stuck in it's paws?

I was told never to trim all the cat's/kitten's claws at once, only 2 at a time so they can get used to it, is this true?

StaceyB
August 16th, 2005, 12:14 AM
No trim them all at once. You only need one post unless your cat looks like it is looking for other places. Some suggest having a post on each floor but it depends on the cat.

Lucky Rescue
August 16th, 2005, 12:24 AM
Thank you for all the suggestions!
I've been recommended sisal for scratching posts alot, so I'm definitely going to use it. Would more then 1 scratching post be a positive thing? I'm hoping my kitty can scratch when he feels like it, but at the same time I don't want him to get the idea that scratching anywhere in the house is good. Also what other types of wood are good for scratching, that don't splinter so the cat doesn't have wood stuck in it's paws?

I was told never to trim all the cat's/kitten's claws at once, only 2 at a time so they can get used to it, is this true?

Clip as many nails as the kitten will tolerate. If it gets upset after a couple, stop and finish another day. I usually hold the cat in my lap until it's relaxed, or I get them when they're sleeping and use lots of petting as a distraction.

Get the kitten used to having it's paws held and touched by gently petting and manipulating them. I've seen adult cats who would not allow their paws touched at all, since no one ever did. All mine are so used to it, I can easily clip their nails.

If your home is large, or has more than one floor, you should have a post on each floor so one is always handy when the kitten has the urge to scratch! A young kitten is not going to go to the other end of the house to scratch.

What breed kitten are you getting?

Okami
August 16th, 2005, 12:34 AM
^_^ an egyptian mau

PetFriendly
August 16th, 2005, 04:34 PM
Here are a few tips from my experience (and just because they might not agree with some of what others are saying doesn't make anyone less right, its all about the cat).

I've found it best to have scratches boxes in each room you use for more than an hour at a time, including the bedroom.

I've also found that for kittens, the flat cardboard scratches boxes work best as they can't tip or fall over. Cats have a long memory and might not go back to something that's fallen out from under-neath them.

Not all cats take to the sizel (sp?!) rope. If you already have one and its not being used, try leaving it out in the rain for a few days (this has honestly worked for me)

Kittens don't all take to catnip, though they might grow in to it (like adults and booze ;) )

In a pinch, untreated lumber can replicate trees (also very effective and relatively cheap, just make sure you get soft wood, no oak or anything like that)

As far as water goes, that's up to you. I can say though that cats are sensitive to reprimand, so a loud NO, then move to a better place will likely work.

Also, while the kiten is small, take it places like PetSmart and teach it to walk on a leash with you down the street. The kitten will love the change of scenery and it will be so much more social than it would of been otherwise (we did this with my boyfriend's and she'll actually run to the door when someone knocks to see who's there!)