Scratching cats

Misunderstandings between pets and their owners can really tarnish their relationship. For example many a cat-lover despairs when their velvet-pawed pal scratches their sofa, the walls or other furniture. In doing this, the animal is exhibiting completely normal behaviour. The experts from Maxi Zoo can give you some tips on how to get cats to scratch – only where it’s allowed.

Cats have plenty of reasons for sharpening their claws after a rest, they stretch themselves out luxuriously and out they come. Scratching, of course is also about claw care. And cats mark their territory in this way. On the balls of their feet are glands which produce pheromones (biochemical messengers), so the scratching procedure not only gives out audible sounds and visible signs, it’s also a signal to other members of its species. In the wild, the creature would use its claws to mark a few trees in its territory.

In a flat or a house, a cat needs ample opportunity to be able to keep its claws sharp. As well as a big scratching tree, you should have ready several other smaller scratching options for your armchair tiger. This is the best way to prevent you furniture being ruined. Suitable positions for scratching boards, mats or special pieces of scratching furniture would be close to where your cat sleeps and rests, in the living room and places where the little tiger more often feels frustrated such as in the kitchen or near the table where the family eats.

A new scratching place

If your cat has been scratching in an undesirable place for a long time, a bit of skilled diversion is called for. First of all, provide an attractive alternative, as close as possible to the furniture used up till now for the business of claw sharpening. If your pet doesn’t make a start on the new scratching place of its own accord, you can gently carry her there as soon as puss wants to scratch elsewhere. Incidentally, valerian or catmint will make a good lure for your armchair tiger. You can rub it into the scratching tree or other such gadget. If that’s doesn’t do the trick, you can make moggie’s up till now favourite sofa scratching spot or wherever else unattractive – glue some firm plastic film or stick double-sided tape over it or use a scent that cats don’t like such as vinegar, orange or citrus oil. You can also get your pet to keep its distance with special sprays from the pet store.

Train your tabby

By the way, if you scold your cat, you’re giving her the attention and confirmation that she wants as lord of her manor. So that’s rather counter productive. You can re-educate your cat with a trick, even without words. Give puss a squirt of water when she approaches the wrong scratching spot. Have a water-pistol at the ready, or a spray bottle – both are good. This will spook your armchair tiger, so she won’t be so keen to visit the same spot again.

Scratching post

Even if your feline companion has access to the great outdoors, a scratching post is nevertheless a must. Sharpening their claws is part of the daily cat routine and typical of their comfort and territorial behaviour. The cat marks his or her own territory and ensures well-being. A scratching post also prevents our cats from misusing furniture and carpets as scratching posts. The right location is of utmost importance. Following a nap, the cat brings the body back up to speed by having a claw sharpening session before checking out the food situation. Therefore the strategic position of a scratching post is between the cat bed and food bowls. If a scratching post is positioned in a far away spot, your cat will probably ignore it and resort to using your furniture for scratching sessions. Hiding spots and platforms make scratching post particularly attractive to the cat. If your cat initially ignores the scratching post, try impregnating it with substances attractive to the cat like catnip or similar. Scratching posts are available in different sizes and colours, there is one to suit all tastes and budgets. Of course, the one you go for depends on the size of your house or flat. The top of the range giant model is ill-advised in a small apartment. Another alternative to free-standing scratching post are space-saving adjustable columns jammed in between floor and ceiling. The wrapping material is also important. Sisal rope will withstand eager cat claws for a long time. If you do not have space for a large scratching post, a scratching board, also covered with a furry material and sisal rope, will also do.
Call into your local store today to discuss your cat’s personal needs with our Maxi Zoo Pet Experts