Weekly Tip - Cat Trees

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Aug 25, 2010, 3:15:34 PM8/25/10
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Weekly Tip

 

If you have a cat, you know about cat claws.  And cats need to exercise those claws.  You want them to do it somewhere other than your couch.  Cat trees are a great place that both you and your cat will be happy to use.

 

Cat scratch for a variety of reasons.  They communicate, relieve stress, and sharpen their claws by scratching.  They will stretch out their full bodies and re-align their spines while clawing.  They will usually claw up one or two places in the house.  It is our goal to focus on their claws on just one object - the cat tree.

 

“Cats tend to pick a small number of conspicuous objects in their environments to scratch such as trees, fence posts, the corner of the couch, etc., and return to them repeatedly. This is why the tree next door looks so scratched up and why your cat may find it difficult to leave your couch alone. The scratched surface leaves a highly visible mark that can be easily seen by other cats. In addition, cats have scent glands in their paws so that when they make scratching movements they leave odor cues that the cats can smell. The fact that cats leave scent marks by making scratching movements may be the reason that cats will continue to try to scratch objects even after they have been declawed. Declawed cats may still be leaving scent marks on objects they scratch.

We don’t know exactly what cats are communicating with their scratching. Both males and females do it, it is done inside and outside the home and even by cats living with no other cats around. It could be a territorial warning or just a marker that announces "Peaches lives here and is alive and well!" Cats don’t scratch up your furniture to spite you or just to be destructive, but for specific reasons, one of which is communicating. Cats also scratch to stretch, during play, and possibly as a greeting or to relieve frustration when prevented from doing other things they want to do.”  (http://www.animalbehavior.org/ABSAppliedBehavior/article-applied-behavior/why-cats-scratch-things)

 

How can I keep her from clawing my furniture? From Iams.com

Interrupt the behavior with a rattle can. Fill an empty soda can with pennies and tape the top shut. Shake the can or toss it near her. The noise will distract her and teach her that some behaviors result in loud noises. Also, give your cat a "legal" claw target, such as a scratching post to lessen her urge to claw the furniture.

 

You can use the rattle can method or you can also pick up a repellent spray.  Covering the forbidden object in tinfoil or double sided tape are also two other great methods for keeping kitty away from the furniture.  If you find your cat not using the cat tree right away, relax.  Sometimes kitty will be a little scared of the new object.  Try to leave it in one place to see if kitty will adjust.  Try using a catnip spray to arouse interest in the tree or just leave it there.  Just find a way that works for you and stick with it.  Consistency is key here.  If you allow your cat to scratch sometimes, but not all the time - both of you will be frustrated with the results.  

 

 

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