Cats were born to scratch, and they have the tools to do it with too. The best first step is to keep your cat’s claws trimmed. I do not support declawing cats, but I am a big proponent of good grooming, starting with regular nail trims every few weeks or as needed. Kitties sometimes get their claws stuck in things (including your favorite furniture), so trimming your pet’s nails is good for your pet as well.
Provide your cat with a good scratcher, be it a simple cardboard one, a small flat sisal board or a larger kitty tower. Some of the latter are really beautiful these days, coming in furniture-grade wood that will enhance your home’s decor while making your cat happy.
Sometimes, however, cats just get in a bad habit. If your cat is set on scratching a certain favorite item, here are some of the latest types of no-scratch products that are available:
- Cat-scratch prevention tape with medical-grade adhesive: Prevention tape has been around for a long time, but manufacturers are coming up with improved adhesives that really adhere to furniture and annoy cats. They usually won’t harm fabrics and more delicate materials.
- Cardboard scratchers combined with mazes: The simple cardboard scratcher, found even in many large grocery stores, has received a makeover. Some manufacturers have added a maze game to the bottom of it, making it doubly satisfying for your cat.
- Scratchers in cat-friendly shapes: Some new scratchers are shaped like waves, bridges and even beds, providing your pet with something to climb on, explore and scratch.
- Automated cat-deterrents: My favorite new gizmos are automated cat-deterrents, which have motion detectors. Once they detect that your cat is nearby, they automatically spray a harmless, nontoxic spray that most cats abhor. You just set up the device and forget about it until the spray runs out. Refills are then available. These can be used to prevent cats from urinating on carpeting and from doing other unwanted things.
Lastly, buy furniture with your cat in mind. Microfiber and some other materials are not as easy for cats to dig their claws into. And if you often hold your cat, it will no doubt prefer to knead on you. Sometimes needy cats are more kneady on furniture, so give your cat the attention it craves, and better behavior often results.