Destructive Cat Scratching

How to Stop Destructive Scratching 

| March 11, 2022

You brought home the fancy new scratching post and introduced your cat to it. This mysterious rope-made object is the last line of defense between your prized sofa and your cat’s claws. But hold on, your cat seems to be more interested in the box it came in. 

Encourage use of new scratching options

Now that you’ve brought these beautiful scratchers into your home, it’s time to get your cat interested in them. We don’t mean curious about them. We mean interested enough to use them as scratching surfaces. Here are some tips. 

Think about location and number of scratchers

Since cats communicate a message by scratching, it is important to position scratchers in a high traffic area, and not tucked away in a corner. By providing multiple scratchers, distributed around the house, you can ensure that there is an appropriate option nearby when your cat feels the itch to scratch. 

Bring out the Catnip

Sprinkling a little catnip on a scratcher has been shown to increase the likelihood cats will use them. 

Practice positive reinforcement

Whenever you see your cat using the scratcher, reward this behaviour with a treat, praise, or petting. 

Discourage scratching elsewhere

Once you have done everything you can to make the appropriate scratching option as appealing as you can, it is time to make the old targets unappealing as possible. You can do this by thoroughly cleaning the area with an enzymatic spray to remove any scents that may be attracting them to the old targets. After cleaning, you can spray a scent that will repel the cat. You can try mixing water with lemon, cayenne pepper or peppermint. Lastly, make it difficult for the cat to access the surface by covering it with clear tape. Using double sided carpet tape will have the bonus of the unpleasant sticky feeling when they touch it. 

Don’t punish

Punishing your cat for scratching may scare your cat and damage your bond. Instead, focus on rewarding their good behaviours. 

Do not declaw

This is not a simple manicure. It is a painful and dangerous procedure. It is comparable to removing the last bone on a human’s fingers. It is inhumane and unnecessary.