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Help, I am at a loss - cat scratching everything

July 31st, 2006, 07:01 PM
Ok guys...I need your help. For quite sometime I have been trying to train my cat to use it's scratching post. Well not one scratch on it. Everything else in the house yes, Pillows carpet, sofa, and corners of my bed. Now he has resorted to scratching and biting my grandmas antique wood chairs.
HELP. I spray him everytime I see him do it, he has woken me up many times at night by scratching. But the most damage seems to be done during the day.
I went online to see about soft paws, but it only lasts 3 weeks. I can do anything to this cat except cut his nails. ( I do but many bite marks to prove it) How am I supposed to glue that crap on.
I do not want to declaw, but am I dealing with a behaviour issue, or just a really bored cat.
I do not know what to do. He has ruined my sofa, and now my bed...HELP ME PLEASE!!!!!

July 31st, 2006, 07:28 PM
Could it be boredom? You're probably not up for another cat. Try those cheap, rough mats available at the dollar stores. Get the absolutely roughest one available (it's kind of like indoor-outdoor carpet). My cats love them. Mind you, I also have an old stepladder in the kitchen and they're slowly whittling that down. But the mats may cut down on the attacks on your furniture. Could you scavenge an old chair wooden chair somewhere and keep showing it to him? May not go with your decor but hey, sacrifices must be made.

July 31st, 2006, 08:11 PM
well there's no way around it. If you want to minimize scratching you HAVE to put up with the nail cutting. I think cats scratch to remove their old nails, and underneath there's a new sharper nail. I'm not sure if this is right, but I've heard of other cats doing it. I always find old claws around the apartment. I've noticed that my cat is more inclined to scratch things if her claws are at regular length. So you have to get her used to having her nails cut. The trick is to learn to do it very fast.
It's hard to train cats, so train yourself. I'll learned to cut BOTH paws in under 1 minute...and no blood, no hurt. By the time they realize what I'm doing, i'm already done.

Also try looking into better scratching posts. I have a big tree scratcher and a small tiny one, and my cats prefer the big one. So could be that your cat prefers a better scratch post.

July 31st, 2006, 08:39 PM
Hmm, maybe spreading catnip where you want the scratching done? Balloons attached where you don't want the scratching might help a bit but they usually figure out a way around unless they are afraid of them. Is the post an upright? It sounds like maybe he prefers standing on his back feet when he scratches and reaching up, if the post doesn't give enough room to accommodate his preference he might just use whatever is comfortable :p

July 31st, 2006, 08:53 PM
My Fuzzer Muffin HATES her nails clipped, but I wrap her in a pillow case ( key word here WRAP) almost like I was wrapping an infant up. Then I search for a claw. It takes a while but is worth it.
Fuzzer just claws things and pulls on it, she doesnt actually scratch and hack things but I like my furniture so I battle with her regularly to trim the nails.

Good Luck, sorry I dont have better advice

July 31st, 2006, 08:55 PM
I really would like not to declaw the cat. Harley had part of his toe amputated, and I saw what it did to him, I do not want to see the same thing done to the cat, it is so painful. But I keep his nails really short, but he still does all this damage. Soft paws are so expensive, for the amount of time they are on. I am going to try some more alternatives. Keep them coming please
Oh ya, I have done the natural spray catnip, he rolls on it, then jumps off
The scratching post is carpet and also twine rope. It is a large one, one he can sleep on, play with, and scratch.
I just cut his nails again. This time laying down treats while cutting. It worked

July 31st, 2006, 09:25 PM
You could try double sided tape on the surfaces that you don't want ruined, it'll look strange until the cat is trained, but if it works.... You could also try Feliway cat pheremone diffuser, it creates a comforting atmosphere for the cat and can reduce or stop some scratching. have you tried experimenting with different scratchers? Here's a picture of the one that we use, it has catnip in it. When we clip their nails we generally try to do it when they are relaxing and/or sleeping. It's way easier than trying to force them to sit still. Good luck.

August 1st, 2006, 06:57 AM
I don't believe in removing cats claws. I have two cats that love to scratch furniture, carpets - just about anything they can hook their claws into. What I did was take a piece of 2X4 about 1/12 feet long and I rubbed wet catnip into it. They now use this block of wood as their main scratching spot. The will hook their claws in a give a good pull. The wood is heavy enough that they feel secure pulling on it. It really has worked. I still get the odd carpet and furniture attack but not anything like before. Give it a try.

Good luck.

August 1st, 2006, 07:35 AM
Rottielover,with a bored cat,the best remedy is of course another cat,but I can understand you not needing another cat right now..
Cats will always be scratching,we have a couple of cat-trees and keep the cats nails trimmed(Rocky has his done at the vets for $15:D just to save our lives),we also keep the living-room door closed(the only room with carpeting still,which is coming out this winter),but they have a whole house to run around in and honestly they do not scratch much,the damage was done when they were younger!
My cats also go outside with us and they scratch on the trees etc...maybe you could take yours out on a harness,to release some of his energy.
Mats,they love mats,one of those doormats made of brush-like material,is great,cardboard boxes for playing in and scratching.
Catnip,you can grow some in a pot inside,we have a little cat-nip patch outside and they love it,their salad:cat:
IMHO,declawing should never be an option,you know how most of us feel about that,Soft-Paws would just be a waste of money..

August 1st, 2006, 07:42 AM
My cats wouldn't touch the scratching post I bought them, but they go nuts over the cardboard scratcher that Stacer posted. Get one of those and sprinkle catnip on it! :)

August 1st, 2006, 10:25 AM
Lots of cats, including my own, don't like the sisal rope scratching posts. The one I have has never been touched even though there's some carpet on it. I bought one that is carpet only and they love it. :cat:

August 1st, 2006, 10:30 AM
there's a lot of useless cat toys out there, including those awful door hanger scratching posts!:frustrated:

I just had a thought......perhaps your cat wants attention. And while I'm not saying he's not, maybe it's jealousy. Maybe you think of Harley as being closer to you than your cat and you display this through your attitude towards the cat. This may sound weird, but animals feel jealous too.

My cat used to have fits too then I realized she felt left out. So I cuddle with her more and even now, if she doesn't get her time with me she goes in the bathroom and sulks :sad:

so try more cuddling with the furball :thumbs up

August 1st, 2006, 12:10 PM
Dad bought our two kitties a sisal scratcher and they absolutely adore it (it's falling apart and we've only had it for two months!) but they won't scratch with the big one I bought (in fact they barely play on it just run through the circle thing or sometimes sleep on the top of it) two still will scratch a bit at the furniture, but since its older and has been previously scratched by other generations of kitties, its not too big of a deal (they know not to scratch them and when we catch them we tell them no and they'll stop).

As for advice....I got sorry!


August 1st, 2006, 04:01 PM
Jiorgi is right,cats can get in to an awful lot of trouble,if they feel neglected or jealous.
My Chico is the jealous type:D we call Vinnie and Chico comes running,as if to say,"what do you want with whitey,when you have me?"

August 1st, 2006, 04:27 PM
Tiger gets alot of attention, but not when I sleep, or I am out. that is when he does this. I can not declaw him based on what I saw Harley go through. He did it again last night, woke me up by scratching the bed:frustrated:

August 1st, 2006, 04:34 PM
If he does this at night or when you are out, put him in a cage. (Like people do to dogs) Or put him in a room where there's nothing major to scratch.
This way you will have a good night sleep, he won't scratch your furniture and let him out when you are home.

Ed U KayShawn
August 1st, 2006, 06:14 PM
I agree try using a different cat scratcher. Some cats prefer to scratch horizontally and other prefer vertical. Offer both is this best. Cats also tend to scratch as a stress relief, therefore if your cat is an indoor cat, placing the scratching post in the area of a window, when the stress of not being able to catch the bird arises the cat can still fill their need to feel like "a cat a natural wonder of the world!! !!! :p and folllow everyone else's ideas with the cat nipp etc. just imo no declawing! there is a way around it! :fingerscr

August 1st, 2006, 11:14 PM
I have 4 cats, and I use soft paws on 3 of them.'s a pain...Yes, it works great.

It takes a while to get good at putting them on...the first time was a nightmare. Dega - almost chewed me up...Indy - doesn't enjoy it, but is getting a little better. My 2nd oldest - Tiger, is a real push over and takes it like a champ - she just whines through it (and she was a feral rescue).

I's a pain. Imagine me doing 30 little claws, but it works. After a couple of minutes, the cats don't know they are on, and my furniture and house are scratch free. The nails have to be replaced when the old ones fall off - whenever they normally shed their nails. I try to do it as soon as they fall off so I'm only doing one or two at a time. This is MUCH easier than the initial putting on of all 10 on all 3 cats. With only one cat, I would do it in a minute, especially if they handle getting them put on well. I still don't love putting them on, but it's totally worth it not to have my feline children ruining my brand new house and furniture.

If you decide to try the soft paws, let me know and I can give you some pointers.

August 1st, 2006, 11:25 PM
I really hope you don't even consider declawing. All you have to do is go observe a declawing of an adult cat (including the waking up part) and you'll not only be against it, but you'll have nightmares for days. Older kitties don't handle it well at all. It's really horrible.:sad:

August 2nd, 2006, 07:39 AM
Rottielover,my Rocky wakes me up every morning,sometimes 4am:eek: by banging my bed-side table,he opens the the cabinet-door and lets it slam shut over and over again,until I throw a pillow at him and I can go back to sleep:cat:
Momof6,I am glad the Soft-Paws work for you,it's the first time I've heard anyone have success with them:thumbs up

August 2nd, 2006, 10:56 AM
Chico, my bf's sister's cat does that too!! She opens and closes the kitchen cupboards.:crazy: :cat:

August 2nd, 2006, 03:36 PM
It can be a pain in the butt,but Rocky gets the message when I throw a pillow at him and he too will go back to sleep.Good Kitty:cat:
Rottielover,what is he scratching on your bed? The wood??

August 2nd, 2006, 04:38 PM
no the dumb kitty is actually scratching my matress. I really do not like the idea of declawing. I have watched a procedure, and felt ill. As well as I had to go through what harley went through by part of his toe bone amputated. I know the pain they go through.
I am not getting any sleep, I keep waking up to throw something at him, he has not got the message.
I think he wants too much attention, and will try any shape or form to get it. And NO, I will not get another cat, Tiger hates cats, loves dogs

August 2nd, 2006, 05:59 PM
Can you shut him out of your bedroom at night so at least he doesn't wake you up?

August 5th, 2006, 02:43 AM
Have you tried spritzing him at night with a water bottle when he scratches? We do this when Fitzy and Daisy eat the bed (yes, they have actually consumed part of our bamboo bed, the little weirdos) and it seems to work.

As far as the scratching during the day, nothing worked until I bought them a floor-to-ceiling cat scratching post. It has 4 levels for them to hang out on and it attaches to the ceiling so you don't have to worry about them tipping over. Eyesore? Absolutely! But a total lifesaver. They love it. They run up it, scratch it, gore it, chew it, etc. And when they use it I reward them with treats. Ours is covered in blue carpeting and I bought it years ago from

Good luck! I hope you can find a good solution.

August 5th, 2006, 08:41 AM
Your cat isn't bored or trying to get your attention, this is normal cat behavior. All of my cats use a scratching post (and the sofa sometimes) and they do this several times a day. He's just being a cat. I would strongly recommend keeping him out of your bedroom for now so you can get some sleep. Have you actually showed your cat how to use the scratching post? Many cats don't even know what it's for so you have to physically put his paws on it and show him how it's used. Using catnip might help, and if you feel so inclined cats do tend to prefer a log of wood to scratch on. If there are things you don't want the cat scratching wrap them in tin foil and keep them that way for several months until he gets the idea. Cats hate the feeling of tin foil on their paws and will avoid it.

BTW, declawing can cause other behavioral problems that are WAY worse than scratching up the furniture. I had a friend who had her cat declawed (against my advice and protests) and her cat never used the litter box again. It seems her poor cat's paws became so sensitive after the declawing that the feeling of any kind of kitty litter would send him rushing out of the box in pain. She spent the rest of his life cleaning up pees and poops in her house. :yuck:

August 5th, 2006, 10:32 PM
i have two cats and i have used lemon ( squeeze real lemon juice and dilute with water and lighty spray area that is not to be scratched) doesnt harm the furniture or rugs and i even sprayed on wood with no problem and i bought a door mat ( the nubby kind and put that down in an area that the cats like ) i have never had on piece of furniture or rug destroyed even my dog stays away from the corners ( she has never chewed anything.......even as a pup she is now 2) try it it may work

August 20th, 2006, 07:49 PM
He has now scratched my screen door and escaped 3 times now. He has made a huge hole. I keep the door only 1 inch open, he pushes it open more, and made an escape route. Thankfully he did not go far, and some of the kids reconized him from his first escape. Not only my balcony door, he has made a hole in my daughters too.
I have to pay for buying new ones, but I need circulation of air in here or it is too enclosed. I do not know what else to do. I asked about soft paws, the vet said do not even try it, it will still rip the screen. What can I do now. I am worried about losing him, running away

August 20th, 2006, 07:51 PM
You can't just shut the door when you're not watching?

August 20th, 2006, 07:57 PM
Having my daughter running around, and being out with the dog, and working, and sleeping, that means the windows and patio door would be closed 95% of the time. I live in a small 4 1/2, and when the windows are not open even an inch, he gets really stuffy in here, even in winter. I have tried leaving the patio open only an inch, and I watched. The little bugger pushes it open more with his paw.

jesse's mommy
August 20th, 2006, 08:02 PM
What about the air conditioner?

August 20th, 2006, 08:07 PM
the air conditioner is on the fritz, after the storms we had, even when I had it, all it did was cool down my room, but it was still stuffy with the rest of the apartments. Tigger is a great cat. I live in an apartment, and the damage he is doing is starting to cost me a very pretty penny. 2 screens, bottom of wood door, my mattress, wood chairs, he is worse than Harley ever was.

August 20th, 2006, 08:13 PM
he's neutered right?

August 20th, 2006, 08:20 PM
You couldn't get a piece of wood that would keep the door open just an inch?

August 20th, 2006, 08:23 PM
yes he is neutered, and I have had him since dec 2005. he is about 2 years old, I think. I need more air to come into my place than just an inch. I was doing the inch thing, because of the present hole

August 20th, 2006, 08:24 PM
What about sticking a little piece of plexiglass just high enough for him not to reach the screen?

August 20th, 2006, 08:28 PM
ooooooooooooooo never thought of that one, I can do that in my daughters room too....Something I will try.

August 20th, 2006, 08:42 PM
Wooo! :highfive: :D

August 20th, 2006, 08:44 PM
My next suggestion would have been to somehow safety pin or tape aluminum foil from the bottom of the screen up to where he can't reach...

August 20th, 2006, 08:53 PM
i say plexiglass. Aluminum might not be strong enough

August 21st, 2006, 12:05 AM
Wow... I'm so sorry to hear about your crazy kitty. All cats scratch but yours seem to be going beyond the "normal".

There are 4 things I'm going to suggest, but I don't know if any will work, but a combination of all of them might:
1. Have your vet apply the soft-paws. Yes, they're expensive and don't last long, but they're less expensive than a new mattress, new furniture, new doors, etc. Plus they'll last long enough for you to re-train your cat (it takes 3 weeks to make or break a habit).
2. After you get the softpaws on, your job will be to re-train your cat. I know that you've tried this, but you have to do it again. Get some of this: (I get mine at Petsmart), or make your own (it's ingredients are 0.4% garlic oil, 0.4% clove oil, 0.6% sodium laurel sulfate--a detergent, the remaining ingredients are water and vegetable oil). First, use an enzymatic cleaner to clean the areas your cat scratches (put it in a spray bottle for your mattress, and any other vertical surfaces). One thing to remember is that when cats scratch to mark territory, oils and glands in their feet put their scent on what they're scratching. If you use an enzymatic cleaner, it'll take this scent out of it. Then spray the areas (well!!) with the No Scratch stuff. You may have to do it daily. I have a polydactyl cat (28 claws!) who sometimes scratches on the stairs. If I spray this stuff when I catch her at it, she leaves them alone for a couple weeks. Your kitty is persistent, so you may have to do it daily ("To use on screen doors, windows or vertical non-fabric surfaces, tape or pin a cloth to the screen or vertical surface, then spray"). You can also try the double-sided tape, tinfoil, or one of those ultra-sonic cat deterrents. Or you can booby-trap things by rigging up tin cans with a penny or two in them (for your screen door, perhaps) that will fall or rattle when he scratches. Do something--anything--to make scratching on the things you don't want him to scratch on unpleasant.
3. This is the most important thing. Get as many scratching posts of as many different kinds as you can find. Place them as close to the places he *is* scratching as you can. Though a 2x4 was suggested, for most cats this is too hard. Try a cedar plank (it's soft enough to get their claws into but doesn't shred like cardboard), try carpeted posts, try sisal-wrapped posts, try various shapes and sizes of cardboard scratchers. If he scratches on vertical surfaces, get/use a vertical post. Does he like catnip? Buy loose catnip and some catnip spray and spray/coat everything that you *want* him to scratch with the catnip. Does he have special treats? Do you clicker train your dog? Clicker-train your cat to use the scratching posts. Use a water gun to squirt him (try adding a little vinegar in the water) if you catch him scratching on things you don't want him to. Yes, this will likely mean a lack of sleep for awhile, and that you might not get to do all the things you wanted to do in the evening (though you can make it a game for your daughter and have her help you by teaching her how to play with the kitty and get him to scratch things he *should* and squirt him when he's bad). Praise *big* time when you catch him scratching things you're ok with. Eventually, very slowly, you'll be able to move the posts away from the places he used to scratch, but you will need to keep at least one post (or box or whatever he likes) in each room. That is essential; if he does not have quick and easy access to something *you* want him to scratch on, *he* will choose what to scratch. (Also, hang a bell on the door so that you can hear when he's trying to go out and can prevent him from doing so. Or put an eye-hook and latch on it so it can't be opened more than an inch.)
4. While all of this is going on... it seems like your cat is either really high strung, bored or frustrated with something. Try some herbal calmers, either in diffuser form (Feliway makes this one:'ve never used it but I know people who swear by it), or something like Rescue Remedy, or talk to your vet or find a holistic vet who can recommend a made-at-home floral essence mix (they work in a lot of humans). Or you may want to try some anti-anxiety medication, though the side effects of those might be too much for you and your kitty. Make sure you play with him (can you find a way to take him for a walk when you take your dog?), give him lots of attention, good, balanced food, and lots of praise when he's good.

I know that lots of people are against de-clawing, including yourself. But there comes a point when you have to decide if his life if worth it. If you keep him, and he keeps waking you up, detroys your home, your mattress, etc, you will eventually run out of patience. At that point, you'll either try to rehome him, or take him to a shelter. If you've tried all sorts of remedies to try to fix his scratching and can't, what do you think your chances of finding a new home for him will be? And if you take him to a shelter, what will his chances of finding a new home there be? He could very well end up being euthanized. I know this sounds horrible... and trust me, I'm against de-clawing, too... but if the alternative is death, wouldn't it be better to be declawed? There is an alternate surgery; a tendonectomy, which severs the tendon used to retract and extend the claws, so that the claws cannot be extended (and the cat can't scratch things). This surgery is a lot more minor (though it is still surgery) and the complications are a lot less. Discuss this with your vet or search the net for it before you rule it out. I don't want to see your cat declawed, but if all other forms of behaviour modification fails, I'd really rather see a surgical method tried before the cat ends up being euthanized.

I don't know if I've been of any help. I've had cats my whole life, one of whom was declawed at (his) age 8. He is now 19 and the only problem he's had related to his feet is some cold sensitivity when he steps on a metal door frame in the winter. He goes outside (well not much anymore, but he used to) on a rope, under supervision, and even had a few cat fights when he "escaped", but always came out on top (he has a lot of hair). He was declawed without anyone in our family knowing what the procedure meant, and without trying every alternative for training. It was horrible and cruel, yes, and he was lucky that he had no complications. But if the alternative is death, declawing is much better, IMO.
My 3 cats now all have their claws, including the polydactyl who has 28 claws to trim. She doesn't like it (and I don't blame her there's a lot!), and she tries to get away, but she puts up with it. If your cat has a tendency to bite, try a cat muzzle (they are shaped specially for a cat's face). There are also "claw-trimming bags" that you can put your cat in. I have no idea how these work but you could look into them. They may help with soft paw application or claw trimming.

I'm sorry that I couldn't offer anything better. I hope you find something that works and allows you to get sleep and have furniture that's not got the stuffing falling out of it.
Good luck and please keep updating.

August 21st, 2006, 06:23 AM
Rottielover,my cats don't rip my screens,but coons and squirrels do,so I will replace my patio-door screen with a metal-mesh you can find in any canadian Tire,Home depot or hardware store.
It's just as easy to install,in fact,it was used a long time ago before the plastic-material.

August 21st, 2006, 11:17 AM
only problem with that is, I rent, this is not my home, I have to ask for permission first before I do so.

August 21st, 2006, 12:12 PM
Chico's idea sounds great and I can't see why a landlord would say no if you asked him if you could replace it. Certainly worth a try. ;)

August 21st, 2006, 01:54 PM
Rottielover,it does not involve any structural changes,it's a screen-mesh,just like what you have,but it's made of metal instead of plastic,it does not look any different,just stronger.
I've always installed my screens,it is certainly not difficult and much safer,both for kids and pets.

August 21st, 2006, 05:49 PM
thicker screen mesh is a great idea. How is replacing the mesh any different than fixing the old one the cat ruined? Your landlord won't even notice.

August 21st, 2006, 06:49 PM
I was wondering the same thing but thought perhaps there is specific rules signed in her landlord/tenant agreement.