Your big gray tabby Tommy is a “can do” cat who loves a challenge. He quickly mastered his treat puzzle, gaining access to the snacks in record time. Next, your resourceful cat managed to balance his considerable bulk on your window for some birdwatching. While you congratulated him for those achievements, his latest exploits aren’t amusing. Tommy has decided to destroy your living room’s exquisite upholstered couch, loveseat, and two matching chairs. Since he doesn’t want to play favorites, he makes sure the pieces have equal damage. While scratching helps to build your cat’s paw muscles and hone his claws, your furniture isn’t the place for a workout. Your Seacoast veterinarian will give your feline housemate some behavioral counseling.
Duller Little Daggers
Your cat can’t inflict as much damage with duller weapons. Ask your vet to clip your little miscreant’s claws during his next physical checkup. If your furniture won’t last until then, the hospital’s staff can schedule a short nail-trimming appointment.
Frustrating Scratching Experience
If Tommy hates his scratching experience, maybe he’ll be less likely to repeat it. Cover his targets with abrasive sandpaper or sticky plastic wrap. When the rough sandpaper irritates your cat’s paws, or the clingy plastic wrap tries to immobilize his feet, he’ll probably retreat to another room. Since he’ll eventually come back, keep the furniture covered until you’re positive he’s given up the ghost.
More Acceptable Scratching Surface
Now that you’ve gotten Tommy’s attention, redirect his focus with an acceptable scratching surface with a similar feel. Position a sisal-wrapped or carpeted scratching post near his favorite target. If he’s currently fascinated with the furniture legs, an aromatic cedar post might entice your digging-obsessed cat.
Punishment Not Appropriate
While you’d like to give Tommy a long “time out,” don’t punish him, as he won’t understand the error of his ways. Even worse, he’ll conclude that he’ll receive the same treatment whenever he encounters you. Also, remember that your opportunistic cat will just wait until you leave to resume his furniture shredding activities.
Periodically add more scratching surfaces so adventurous Tommy doesn’t become bored. Ask your Seacoast veterinarian if sprinkling objects with catnip or a feline pheromone will so intoxicate your cat that he forgets about the furniture. If your cat’s engaged in inappropriate digging behavior, call us for expert assistance.