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Kitty Scratching Habits

August 16, 2022
Has your kitty scratched up your belongings? You’re not alone! Cats have a deep instinctual drive to keep their nails sharp. This isn’t a bad habit: it’s a survival instinct. Fluffy may also scratch to leave her scent on things, or to express happiness, relieve boredom … or perhaps just strike fear into our hearts. A New Albany, IN vet offers some insight into Fluffy’s nail-care regimen below.

Why Cats Scratch

Fluffy may look very proud of herself when she is tearing up your sofa, but that doesn’t mean she’s deliberately destroying your things. This is more akin to the relief of scratching an itch – literally. Those sharp little nails are multi-purrpose tools for our feline overlords. Cats use them to climb things, eat their food, defend themselves, and hunt for their dinner. (They also use them to grab our sleeves, but that’s another topic.)

Teaching Good Habits

Never punish Fluffy for scratching, even if she did tear up your new chair. She won’t understand what she did wrong, and may feel scared or confused, which may damage the bond and relationship between you. If your feline buddy is scratching improperly, you want to startle and/or annoy her, but without scaring or hurting her. Squirt bottles can be great for this. You can also clap your hands or make a loud noise. Also, be sure to reward your furry little diva for using her post properly. Toys, treats, and catnip can all be very helpful here!

Choosing A Manicure Station

So what do you do? Redirect your furball towards something more appropriate, like a scratching post or board. Pick something that’s fairly tall, so that Fluffy can stretch out to her full size when doing her nails. It should also be pretty sturdy: kitties can get wary of wobbly posts and towers.

Alternatives

Not having any luck getting Fluffy to stop shredding your furniture? You can clip her nails, though you’ll need to get her used to this. You can also look into claw caps, which are fake nails for kitties. Ask your vet for more information.

Playful Scratching

Fluffy has a habit of scratching her humans, either in play or anger. To break these bad habits, blow in her face, tell her ‘No,’ and then ignore her for a while. As your New Albany, IN pet hospital, we’re always happy to help. Call us anytime!
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