There are several reasons why cats start scratching the couch and walls. And once you understand these root causes, you can begin to address the question of how to wean the cat from scratching the wallpaper and furniture.
Previously we have given some universal tips on how to train the cat to the litter box and save the couch and slippers.
Why a cat scratches the wallpaper
When a cat dents the furniture or walls, there are several reasons for this. Some are purely physiological, while others are psychological and behavioral.
The first is based on the animal’s natural need to protect itself and its territory. A cat needs sharp claws, and since the apartment has no natural “sharpeners” such as trees, other objects that remind the cat of the wild will do.
Another physiological reason is the fight for territory – a cat scratching the walls or furniture and leaving its own personal smell, which signals to the other animals that the “place is occupied”. This can happen if you, or even your neighbors, get another animal. And after all, claw grinding is not a bad exercise for the cat’s spine.
And the psychological reasons include great stress. It can be caused by moving, by other animals in the apartment, by the birth of a child, by repairs… In general, cats are very stressful! The fight for territory also belongs to psychology.
As for behavioral causes, there are three factors:
- The first is a habit. If the cat had been pecking at the wallpaper all his life before he came to you, why should he not continue? Weaning from this habit can be more difficult than fostering it from scratch.
- The second – too early weaned the kitten from its mother. He did not have time to adopt the basics of behavior in the world and will be guided by natural instincts.
- The third – is just because. The cat is offended at you for something, or it just does not pay any attention to you and likes to watch you run and fuss over the torn things.
- So let’s try to figure out how to stop the cat from scratching the wallpaper and furniture.
How to wean a cat from scratching the furniture and wallpaper
If the cat scratches the wallpaper due to physiological reasons, it is useless to scold it or to punish it. And if it is due to psychological – you need to reduce or altogether remove the factors that influence the behavior of the animal.
The most basic way to teach the cat to scratch the wallpaper and furniture is to buy her a scratching post. The most universal options are vertical or corner posts with jute rope. Also, you should look closely at the scratching post lined with sisal fiber, which most resembles the texture of wood. You can also look at carpeted items.
A scratching post should be higher than a pet standing on its hind legs and should be stable. It is better to place it in places that are affected the most by your pet’s claws. Keep in mind that if there are several pets in the house, each should have its own scratching post. Why do they need unnecessary stress?
In order for the cat to stop scratching the wallpaper and switch to the scratching post, you need to show her how to use it – bring the pet up and run its paw over the surface. This will need to be repeated several times. You should also praise the cat and give him a treat when he sharpened his claws correctly. A piece of wallpaper glued to the scratching post will also help to attract the cat’s attention to it or treat it with a special spray, such as Valerian or catnip.
If the cat scratches the furniture or walls and stubbornly refuses to use the scratcher, you should try to treat the “forbidden” surfaces with special products, which you can buy in pet stores. Citrus, black pepper, and wormwood are very unpleasant aromas for cats and are usually well tolerated by humans. Vinegar or perfume diluted in water can also be used. However, such treatment will have to be done very often. And you should not do it in all places at once – the extra stress of an unpleasant smell for the cat will only make the situation worse.
You could try training the cat (if it has not already trained you). Some cat breeds are quite responsive to training that is applied to dogs. But in most cases, training consists of forming negative associations in the cat. As soon as the pet wants to scratch the wallpaper or the couch, you can clap your hands loudly, and splash water on it… In general any unpleasant but painless impact – after a few times it will remember. As long as she does not remember it…
A more radical way to wean her off the couch is to clip her claws. If you are not sure you can do it properly, it is better to consult a professional. You should do this procedure twice a month using a claw trimmer. Only the tip should be cut, if you touch it further, it will bleed.