Scratching is a normal characteristic of a healthy cat. It exercises the
foot muscles and removes dead tissue from the nails. It also has a
soothing, comforting effect that creates a tranquil disposition.
WHAT CAN YOU AS A PET OWNER DO TO PROTECT YOURSELF AND YOUR FURNITURE
WITHOUT HARMING YOUR CAT?
Give your cat a manicure.
It's best to start when it's a kitten. Take your pet to a professional
groomer, or you can do it yourself. Use a pair of clippers made especially
for cats. There are generally instructions packaged with the instrument on
how and where to trim the nails so as to avoid cutting into the quick (pink
area) inside the nails.
Provide your cat with his own furniture.
Your cat should be fluffy -- the scratching post should be rough and
coarse. Buy a sisal (a harsh, scratchy hemp product) scratching post or
make your own inexpensively. Just nail a piece of 2 x 4 board to an
inch-thick square base and cover both pieces with a carpet remnant (tightly
woven pile is best). You can even use a tree branch or a board angled
against a wall and secured so it won't fall over.
Train your cat.
When a kitten starts to scratch furniture, gently pull it off and place
its front paws on the scratching post. Keep the post in an easily
accessible place so the cat becomes accustomed to using it.
If an older cat persists in scratching furniture, give it a squirt of
luke-warm water from a child's water gun. Spray it any place but in the
face. At the same time, say a sharp (not loud) "No." Then take it back to
its scratching post.
Shake a small amount of pleasantly scented bath oil on a piece of cotton.
Attach the cotton to the part of the furniture that the cat scratches, It
will repel the cat as long as the aroma remains.
Your cat gives you love and loyalty. It's the most it can give. You owe
it the same love and loyalty. But you owe it one thing more --
to leave its paws with claws.
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