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Teaching Your Cat Proper Scratching Habits

June 15, 2017

Is your cat using your furniture as a manicure station? If so, you are not alone! In this article from Arapahoe Animal Hospital, your Boulder, CO vet serving Louisville and surrounding areas, you’ll learn about teaching your kitty proper scratching habits.

Why Cats Scratch

Fluffy isn’t deliberately trying to ruin your sofa, even if she does look very pleased with herself when she is scratching it. Cats have a very deep-seated urge to scratch. There is a very good reason for this. In the wild, our feline friends depend on their claws for survival. Kitties use those sharp little nails to defend themselves, hunt their dinners, and climb to reach shelter and safety. It’s no wonder that they learned so long ago to keep their claws in good shape.

Kitty Manicure Station

If you want your cat to stop scratching inappropriately, you’ll need to provide her with a good scratching post. Cats like to stretch while they are doing their nails, so pick something tall. Also, be sure to choose something sturdy. Fluffy may become wary of her scratching post if it topples over on her. You definitely don’t want that!


In order to get Fluffy to use her manicure station, you may need to sweeten the deal a bit. Offer your feline buddy toys, treats, and praise for scratching properly. It also won’t hurt to sprinkle catnip on it.

Stopping Bad Habits

Never punish your cat for scratching. Your kitty is just obeying her natural instincts, so she won’t really understand what she did wrong, and may feel frightened or confused. Instead, if you see your cat scratching improperly, you’ll want to discourage her without scaring her. How do you do this? Try squirting Fluffy with water, or making a loud noise. You can also try putting two-sided tape down on the corner of a wall where your furball is scratching. Another option is to block off your pet’s chosen spot with a pet-safe plant or an end table.

Other Options

No luck? Call us to schedule a quick peticure! Nail trims are quick and painless, and are a great—if temporary—way to keep Fluffy from shredding your belongings. Claw caps are another option. Ask your vet for more information.

Please contact Arapahoe Animal Hospital, your Boulder, CO vet, serving Louisville and surrounding areas, for all your pet’s veterinary care needs.