The Definitive Guide to Saving Your Couch from Your Cat
This is not “rocket science” and yet I am continually
surprised by the number of feline behaviorists that have successfully
kept kitty from urinating on the carpet, from biting the house
guests, and cruising the countertops but when it comes to
saving the couch, they go blank. On the contrary, the behavior
consultants at Cats International
consider this to be the easiest behavior problem to solve.
Think about it… If you had just gotten a new puppy and
the puppy was digging up your expensive landscaping, would your
first thought be to have your puppy’s toes surgically removed? I
expect that you would naturally and intelligently opt to engage
in a training program.
Elective mutilation, also
referred to as “declawing” is never the answer. While
some cat owners feel that they are solving the scratching problem
with surgery, later they may discover that this choice may have
pre-disposed their cat to avoiding the litter box, as well other
problems such as shyness and biting problems. Take
away one form of defense (the paw swipe) and the cat will use
its teeth. This is just common sense.
Now some people don’t realize that cats are just as easily
trained as dogs. The truth is that you may have already
done an excellent job training your cat to scratch the couch.
Does this sound familiar?
Kitty starts tearing at
the couch or your favorite
You and other family members
run from all parts of the
house to chase kitty away
from the scratching target.
From kitty’s standpoint, this event rates high as
an ego-booster (one little
scratch and the family is at his feet!) Now, if the family chooses
to yell and chase the cat around the house, this game is now elevated
to High Priority!
Now, time for the reconnaissance mission…or how to undo
the damage we’ve done.
- Let’s start with an understanding that scratching serves
many useful and healthy
purposes for cats.
- Cats need to stretch and exercise and condition their nails
- Every cat household should have at least two cat-appealing
scratching posts in high-traffic
- The post should be at least 32” high
- It should be sturdy and unable to be tipped
- Sisal material or rope are the preferred scratching materials
(don’t use carpeting!)
- Place the post in front of the problem area
- Praise the cat every time he uses the post (positive reinforcement—works!)
- Our favorite post is the Ultimate Scratching Post made by
Now we all know that cats are very territorial animals and marking
is an important occupation for cats. In order to feel secure
in their home territory, they routinely patrol the area and mark
it by rubbing or scratching. The scratching post offers
an excellent outlet for this natural behavior.
Now the cat is in love
with the post. You may have rubbed some catnip on the sisal
post or perhaps you just scratched the post with your fingernails
to entice kitty. Don’t think for a moment that he
hasn’t forgotten his old haunts and he may be interested
in re-visiting the old areas. (After all, he worked hard to mark
This is our opportunity
to prove that we can be
just as clever as cats. We
have a rather unfair advantage, however, as there are now a multitude
of very effective deterrents to help us. When kitty checks
out an old spot or a brand new one, we can go to our arsenal of
deterrents. The best part is that there is no yelling or
running around and it works when you are sleeping or out of the
These are our “Secret Weapons”
If sprayed in problem areas
on a regular basis, it will give the cat the impression that
the area is already marked—no need to scratch. Can
be purchased through the Doctors Foster and Smith Catalog (1-800-826-7206)
This clear, double-sided
tape is inexpensive and
can be applied to almost
any surface. Cats
dislike anything sticking to their paws. Can be found in
most pet stores or in the Doctors Foster and Smith Catalog.
This motion detector hisses
when the cat approaches the problem area. Even the most
fearless of cats clear the area when it activates. This
product can be purchased through the Doctors Foster and Smith
Vinyl carpet runner
If the back-side of the
vinyl carpet runner has a very prickly feel, it
can be cut and placed in the area that you want your cat to
Solid Air Fresheners
Cats dislike perfume. An air freshener may keep the cat
away from an area until it has evaporated. (Never put it
near the litter box or a feeding area). Scented dryer sheets
may have the same effect.
Now that we have given you all our secrets of success, please
share them with others.
No cat should have to experience the pain and permanent mutilation
that is the result of the declawing procedure.
Cats International has never failed to solve an inappropriate
scratching problem. Now you can do it too!