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Any Advice for Teaching Appropriate Scratching?

Chaser
January 3rd, 2009, 01:26 PM
I have two scratchers available for Rupert: One made of sisal/wicker type material that hangs on a doorknob, another covered with carpet type material. I rubbed catnip on both and take him over to one of them of I catch him scratching the chairs or couch. He remains uninterested in both though, and prefers the couch. He hasn't done any damage yet (and I have very crappy furniture at the moment! :laughing:) but I want to alter this before we get nice new furniture!

We have a rough woven mat just inside out front door that he does seem to like a little better and I don't mind him scratching that. But I haven't been able to figure out how to teach him appropriate scratch habits and encourage continued scratching in the right places. I thought it would come a little more naturally. :confused:

chico2
January 3rd, 2009, 01:38 PM
Chases mom,the door-knob hanging thingy does not work,I have 2 cat-trees for my 3 to climb and scratch on,but what they use the most is a regular cheap card-board contraption,they love it.
I'll see if I can find a pic,they sell it everywhere.
Not that I think you would consider it,but just in case,please do not declaw him...

Chaser
January 3rd, 2009, 01:48 PM
what they use the most is a regular cheap card-board contraption,they love it.
I'll see if I can find a pic,they sell it everywhere.

I've seen those...I just thought it was too basic to be of interest. Apparently I was mistaken - your cats clearly love it! I'll pick one up and see if he's more into that.

Not that I think you would consider it,but just in case,please do not declaw him...

Trust me, the thought has not and never would cross my mind! That's why I'm asking for help now, before it really starts to bother me and before scratching the couch becomes a deeply ingrained habit for him. I know appropriate scratching can be taught...I'm just a bit lost about how to teach him.

Does anyone know if the "No Scratch" sprays effective at all? And more importantly, are they safe (for cats AND dogs)?

Khari
January 3rd, 2009, 01:51 PM
I tried teaching Bishop to not scratch when he was a kitten by taking him to the cat tree and taking his paws and rubbing them up and down the tree in a scratching movement. It did work for years but then he did start scratching my furniture. I didn't care much (big mistake) b/c it was old old furniture. I have tried many things to get him to not scratch to no avail. So, I put plastic around my new furniture now when I am not home. So now he has no choice but to use the cat tree to scratch. This may be an optioon for you to start with now before you get the new furniture so he gets used to the idea to use the cat tree and rugs. I would recommend you get some sturdy cat trees with some sissel and carpet on them. Also, get a few of those carpets you mentioned he liked and put them in spots close to your furniture for him to use. And praise him when he uses them. Lexus does not scratch the furniture (thank goodness) but she does like scratching one of my rugs by the front door and the cat tree. I let her scratch the rug (it doesn't do much damage to the rug) and is much cheaper to replace than furniture :rolleyes:: although I haven't had to replace it yet....

kanis
January 3rd, 2009, 01:57 PM
We've got three scratching posts. A huge kitty condo, one small one by their litterbox and one flat one that can be propped against the wall. But their fav? Our chair! We spray water, we say "No", we redirect, but they love that freaking chair. I've used no scratch formulas but nothing seems to work. I'll look into the paper one too. Maybe that'll work. :frustrated:

14+kitties
January 3rd, 2009, 02:03 PM
Oh the joys of having a cat(s). :D
You could try moving his scratching posts to right in front of the furniture arms he seems to be going after. That sometimes helps. Tin foil covering the arms also can do the trick. Keeping his claws trimmed to the shortest you can without cutting the quick is a huge help. Less claw to grab into the furniture.
And the best "trick". A piece of wood 2x4 nailed onto a wooden base so it doesn't topple over. They love scratching something that is "natural" or as close to it as you can get. Or even a piece of real log left lying on the floor for him. My catty cats love both!
Lots of great ideas from everyone else. Now you just have to find the one(s) that work the best for you!

sugarcatmom
January 3rd, 2009, 02:05 PM
Is Rupert scratching the horizontal or vertical surfaces on the couch? Sometimes cats won't use a vertical scratching post because they prefer something horizontal. And ya, those door knob thingies are mostly useless. They move around too much. You need something sturdy. Many scratching posts don't quite cut it either because they aren't tall enough. I good solid cat tree, placed in a well used area (next to the couch?) and made of a material that appeals to the cat (some prefer sisal, some prefer carpet) can certainly help. The cardboard scratchers are also great.

It's also important to make inappropriate surfaces less desirable. Tinfoil or Sticky Paws (http://www.stickypaws.com/) are a good idea, or draping your couch in a loose sheet so that there's nothing to grip. These don't have to be permanent, just used long enough to break the habit.

Khari
January 3rd, 2009, 02:08 PM
We've got three scratching posts. A huge kitty condo, one small one by their litterbox and one flat one that can be propped against the wall.

I'm curious why you put a scratching post by their litter box? I could not imagine a cat wanting to use a scratch post near where they go to the washroom. Just like I can't imagine a cat wanting to eat food that is near their litterbox either? Do your kitties like sissel or carpet? Maybe buy a couple carpets in a material that they like to scratch and place around the house for them to use. I find that the scratching posts that you prop up against the wall or hang on the door do not work either. Is it possible for you to put plastic around your chair so they start to understand that they are not allowed to scratch on it. I use garbage bags and when I take them down he does not scratch as often....

Chaser
January 3rd, 2009, 02:13 PM
Is Rupert scratching the horizontal or vertical surfaces on the couch?

He definately prefers the vertical and seems to have a preference for carpet.

Thank you everyone for all your ideas! I'll be going out tomorrow in search of solutions. So far we just keep talling him to "Leave it!"...hard habit to break when you're used to dogs, and obviously not very effective with felines! :laughing:

Chaser
January 3rd, 2009, 02:18 PM
Is it possible for you to put plastic around your chair so they start to understand that they are not allowed to scratch on it. I use garbage bags and when I take them down he does not scratch as often....

Plastic would work great, especially on our recliners, but I'm not sure I'm comfortable using plastic around my dogs. I know of a few who have eaten plastic bags before.

If I use a deterrant I'm leaning towards the tin foil suggested above....the dogs hate that as well and wouldn't be at risk of eating it!

hazelrunpack
January 3rd, 2009, 03:06 PM
And the best "trick". A piece of wood 2x4 nailed onto a wooden base so it doesn't topple over. They love scratching something that is "natural" or as close to it as you can get. Or even a piece of real log left lying on the floor for him.

I don't have any cat experience, but this suggestion would hold for dogs, hamsters, and ferrets, too. If you allow them access to a 2x4 make sure that it's untreated wood. The treated woods can be toxic.

MommaKat
January 3rd, 2009, 03:15 PM
The cardboard scratchers that Chico posted are great! My Cat Noel especially loves it. She likes getting her nails deep into and tearing through the cardboard. Does Rupert have a favorite spot to scratch on the couch? I would use double sided tape on his favorite spot. Good luck :thumbs up

Frenchy
January 3rd, 2009, 03:20 PM
Oh the joys of having a cat(s). :D
You could try moving his scratching posts to right in front of the furniture arms he seems to be going after.

I did that with the kitty condo (and put some cat nip on it too) It worked ! :thumbs up

14+kitties
January 3rd, 2009, 03:22 PM
I don't have any cat experience, but this suggestion would hold for dogs, hamsters, and ferrets, too. If you allow them access to a 2x4 make sure that it's untreated wood. The treated woods can be toxic.

Thanks hazel. :o I guess I assumed people would know not to get treated wood. My bad.

hazelrunpack
January 3rd, 2009, 03:36 PM
Thanks hazel. :o I guess I assumed people would know not to get treated wood. My bad.

I never knew how toxic it was till our discussion with the contractor who fixed our first deck. I'd never had much experience with the treated stuff before then. Sort of an eye-opener.... :o