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Teaching Fluffy Proper Scratching Habits

Is your cat using your sofa as a manicure station? If so, you certainly aren’t alone. Kitties have many wonderful traits: they’re cute, cuddly, lovable, and often quite hilarious. Fluffy isn’t purrfect, however. In fact, our feline friends have some bad habits, such as scratching. Below, a Greenwood, IN vet offers advice on teaching your kitty proper nail-care habits.

Understanding Kitty’s Need To Scratch

No matter how smug your furball looks when she’s scratching your sofa, she really isn’t deliberately trying to ruin your things. In the wild, kitties depend on their nails for hunting and defense, as well as for climbing to safety. Understandably, cats learned long ago to take good care of their claws. Trees provide perfect scratching posts in the Great Outdoors. Your housecat, however, will settle for the next best thing, which, unfortunately, may be your sofa.

Suitable Options

The first thing you’ll need to do is provide your kitty with suitable manicure station. Cat towers are great, because they promote healthy activities like climbing and jumping. They also give Fluffy a napping spot and a lookout point. You can also use a scratching post or board. Choose something sturdy, that doesn’t wobble: your feline friend may become wary of her scratching post if it topples over on her. You’ll also want to be sure to pick something tall enough to allow your cat to stretch out to her full length. Fluffy needs a good stretch after all those naps!

Breaking Bad Habits

Once you’ve got a good scratching post, you’ll need to encourage Fluffy to use it, while discouraging her from utilizing your furniture. Never punish your kitty for scratching: this won’t work, because scratching is an instinctive behavior. Instead, put clear two-sided tape on her favorite scratching spot, or block her access to it with a plant or end table. If your cat scratches improperly, make a loud noise, or squirt her with water. When your furball uses her scratching post, immediately reward her with treats, toys, and compliments.

Other Options

If you aren’t having any luck, consider clipping Fluffy’s nails. This is painless and temporary, and will keep her from ruining your things. If you’re uneasy giving your kitty a pawdicure, just call us to schedule a quick nail trim.

Does your kitty need a manicure? We can help! Please contact us, your Greenwood, IN animal clinic, anytime.

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