UCB Parents Advice about Pets

Protecting furniture from cats

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    Stopping cats from clawing furniture

    I wonder if anyone out there has any suggestions for keeping cats from clawing your furniture to death! My house mate has two cats, and at this point I am having to keep them locked out of the living room when we are not home - which is not fun. They are both indoor/outdoor cats, but still get their claws into my sofa. HELP!! Jody
    This is in response to the person wanting info on keeping cats from scratching furniture. We have two cats - one 11, the other her son 10 who we've had all their lives. They are indoor/outdoor cats who have free prowl of the whole house whether we're home or not. All of our furniture is perfectly intact. Arm yourself with four things: a scratching post made from a natural rope wrapped around a post (from the pet store), a squirt bottle, some throws, and a couple or several of these "scratching boxes" (for wont of a more descriptive name) from the pet store. These are extremely simple, extremely inexpensive rectangular "boxes" (about 6"wide x 1 1/2'long x l l/2"deep) made of cardboard with strips of cardboard packed in together on their sides - unfortunately the product name is not on the product itself and I don't remember what they're called. One cat uses the post, the other doesn't, but they both LOVE to sharpen their claws on the cardboard "boxes".

    So, place the "boxes" next to the spots on the furniture where they like to scratch, put some throws over the arms of the furniture, and put the scratching post where it is easily available. I would continue to keep them out of the room when you're not there until you feel that they're trained. When you are in that room, keep the squirt bottle right next to you (it has to be within immediate reach, because you won't have a chance to run across the room to get it). As soon as they put a foot in position to scratch give them a squirt with the water bottle accompanied with a loud "NO!" They should get the message pretty quickly. But the urge to scratch is so powerful that I still have to "remind" my darlings periodically (but really very rarely). At this point though the loud "NO" and simply picking up the water bottle is usually enough. Our cats also know what they're allowed to climb up on and what they're not - kitchen counters are out of bounds as are the dining table and desk. Good luck. Joan


    We have had some luck using a product called Boundary that we spray on the furniture but you also need to put a scratching post nearby since they have already started the habit of scratching in that area. The product needs to be used for awhile. Also if you have the luxury of time, sitting nearby with a squirtgun can also help break the habit. Lark
    It might help to get a kitty scratching post. You can get a variety of sizes and styles (including "condo units") at most pet shops. They're cardboard tubes covered with rope and carpet. Our 2 kittens will use that over our furniture most of the time. We also have a "kitty toy" that is pressed corogated cardboard that they claw. I believe there are some sprays that will repel animals, but they may repel people too. I'd try the scratching post....give them an alternative. June
    I have a few ideas for the person with the cat clawing problems. It's a tough issue to completely solve, but there are some things that may help. First of all, covering the "attractive" areas of the sofa with something that the cats won't like having their claws in -- like newspaper, waxed paper, aluminum foil. This is just for the short term. Before covering the areas, clean them thoroughly with an upholstery cleaner, and then use Nature's Miracle on the areas -- it's an enzymatic cleaner that will break down the scents that the cats have been putting on the couches to "mark" them (from glands near their foot pads). Then, invest in or make a couple of scratching posts that you can put near the sofa -- maybe even (gently) rub the cats' front feet/legs on the posts to start the marking process. The hope is that while the areas they've been clawing are not smelling like marking spots and are covered with something that's no fun to scratch, the cats begin the new habit of scratching something you want them to scratch. After the habit has been established, slowly move the posts to a less conspicuous part of the room. Then, remove the barriers on the sofa. With luck, the cats won't return to the old scratching-spot. But to be safe, I'd be sure that once the sofa is uncovered they're supervised when they're in the room with the sofa, until you're sure that the trick has worked. Best of luck. And if all else fails, try Soft Paws (ask your vet). Anonymous
    For cats who claw furniture. I think I got these through Foster and Smith Catalog. They are little plastic "caps" that you glue on the claws of the cats with something that smells like -and probably is - superglue. They come in a couple of different sizes and a variety of colors. Clear, Black, Purple etc. As the claws grow the caps fall off and you have to replace them. I used them on my cat when our baby was a newborn and only put them on the front feet. This was defiitely less cruel than de-clawing. I'm not sure it will help with clawing furniture but it might give you some reprieve while you try other things. I would also suggest spraying all your furniture with this stuff that sort of repels cats and provide them with a scratching post or a cheap wicker basket that isn't sprayed (maybe something they have already started to tear up) and they might stick to that one article. Good Luck.Cindy
    I have a couple of recommendations. First, buy a cat scratching post if you don't have one. Yes, it's ugly - yes, you could put one together yourself - we bought one for $35 and it's been worth every penny. Next, place it near the cat's current favorite scratching place. Then rub cat nip on it at semi-regular intervals. Over time, move the post away from your furniture. To discourage the cats from continuing to utilize your sofa, etc., you can try a few things. 1) Rent a rug doctor and steam clean the scratched areas (cats lay down a scent from their paws and this encourages them to continue using the same spot); 2) cover the area with a blanket when you are out (a blanket will shift under their paws and won't provide a satisfying scratching experience); 3) discourage scratching by pinning tape, sticky-side up, to the scratched areas for a period of time (cats hate sticky stuff on their paws); 4) attach inflated balloons to the area for a period of time (I haven't tried this, but you can imagine how it works); and finally 5) use a squirt bottle/gun to tag the cat when you catch him scratching your furniture then leave the squirt gun on/near the scratched area when you're out of the house (to preserve your relationship, it's best not to let the cat see you spray her - let it be the swift justice of a vengeful squirt-gun god). Good luck! Peter
    We've used a product called "No Scratch" made by Pet Organics. Bought it at a pet store chain. It purports to be all natural and it worked to deter the cats from even sitting on the couch. Good luck! Inbal
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