Teaching Your Cat to Scratch Properly

Is your kitty using your couch as a nail-care station? Cats have many wonderful qualities, but Fluffy’s manicure habits aren’t very popular with her human friends. We are here to help! In this article, a Marietta, GA veterinarian offers advice on teaching your furry little diva better scratching habits.

Why Fluffy Scratches

Fluffy isn’t deliberately trying to ruin your things. Our feline friends just have very a strong urge to scratch. After all, those little claws are crucial to kitties’ survival in the wild. Without them, cats couldn’t hunt their dinners, climb trees to escape predators, or defend themselves.

Breaking Bad Habits

Never punish Fluffy for scratching. Because it’s an instinctive behavior, your furball won’t understand why you’re reprimanding her, and may just feel scared, angry, or anxious. This can cause even more problems!


Try putting clear two-sided tape on the corners of couches or sofa Fluffy is scratching. Your furball will hate the sticky feeling. You can also squirt your cat with water, clap your hands, or make a loud noise. The trick is to startle your kitty without really scaring her.

Teaching Proper Manners

If you don’t want Fluffy scratching your things, you’ll need to offer her a good scratching post. Choose something sturdy: kitties don’t like wobbly scratching posts. You also want to pick something tall, so your cat can stretch out to her full length while she is doing her nails.

DIY Options

You can find some great DIY scratching post ideas online. Here’s a good one: make a scratching board by gluing a carpet sample to a square board. Hang it on your wall, just high enough so Fluffy has to sit up to use it.

Sweetening The Deal

To encourage Fluffy to use her nail-care station, offer her toys and treats near it. Sprinkling catnip around your kitty’s scratching post can also help.

Other Options

No luck? Consider clipping your cat’s claws. This is painless and temporary. You can also try claw caps, which are basically fake nails for kitties. Your furball can even sport fashionable colors, like pink or red! We only advise these things for indoor pets, however: if Fluffy goes outdoors, she’ll need her nails for safety purposes. Ask your vet for more information.

As your Marietta, GA veterinary hospital, we are here to serve all your pet’s veterinary care needs. Contact us anytime!

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