Encouraging Cat Scratching In All the Right Places
I’ve always hated the notion declaw; it is an amputation – period. Cat scratching is a common complaint, even explanation for people giving up cats or to declaw. Now there still another reason to minimize the perceived need to declaw – a product called Feliscratch, which encourages cats to scratch on posts.
I talk in this video about how our national director of production at Black Dog Radio Productions Jim Donato and his wife Tracy have welcomed a kitten into their lives (following the death of another cat). That’s great news. And this Tommy made himself right at home, feeling comfortable enough to scratch to identify his territory. The only problem is that he was scratching at furniture not a scratching post.
I offer several simple tips regarding cat scratching:
- Don’t consider declaw (happily Jim and Tracy never will consider declaw). A declaw is truly an elective amputation which may have lifetime implications of chronic pain (according to recent studies).
- Discourage scratching a places you don’t want the cat to scratch – drape a plastic office char mat with nubbies up over a sofa, or even remove items such as area rugs or use double-stick tape (or a manufactured product called Sticky Paws.
- Provide appropriate vertical and horizontal scratching posts, and use fishing-pole type toys to encourage a positive association, and depositing pheromones on the posts. Merely play with the cat and as the cat bats at the feather or fabric at the end of the pole, pheromones identifying the post belonging to the cat are naturally deposited. When this happens a few times the kitten or cat is likely to return to that place to scratch.
- Use the new scratching post magnet called Feliscratch, which uses a semiochemical (pheromone) message to help attract cats. The product should be applied to the scratching posts (not on your cat). Catnip is also in Feliscratch, and a blue colored dye (applied so it looks like another cat has scratched there), all combine to encourage cats to the posts in a very natural way.
I also talk about location of posts and what kind of posts most kitten prefer.
And when the kitten gets it right, never be afraid to offer praise (as we do when training dogs or for that matter, children).