Eliminating Cat Scratching Problems without Declawing

Cat scratching is a normal and healthy feline behavior. All cats scratch to a certain degree, but some are more destructive than others in this behavior. It is a rare cat owner who has never encountered a damaged piece of furniture, door, wall or other surface in his home. While declawing is a surefire way to eliminate the problems of cat scratching, there are also other ways to reduce the destructive scratching that your cat may commit.

Find Alternate Objects for Scratching

If your cat enjoys scratching the furniture or another surface in your home that you would like to preserve, be aware of his need to scratch and help him to transfer his behavior to an appropriate site. Cats scratch as a way of marking their territory, and it is not reasonable to expect that you can entirely stop your pet from scratching. However, you can help him to refocus his attentions elsewhere.

Consider purchasing a cat scratching post for your pet. These come in a variety of materials and designs in order to suit every cat's tastes. Some pets prefer to scratch other surfaces, like cardboard. Experiment with different posts and objects for scratching in order to determine what your pet prefers.

Encourage Healthy Scratching

Many cats scratch the most as they are waking up. Place your cat's scratching post close to the place where he spends the most time sleeping. Choose a spot next a window where your cat can lay in the sun and direct him toward the post if he scratches in other places. In time, your cat may come to prefer scratching on the post over scratching on other surfaces.

Avoid Punishment

Cats don't react well to punishment for scratching. Because scratching is a healthy and natural behavior, your cat will likely wonder why he is being reprimanded for his behavior. It is not likely that punishing your cat will eliminate his scratching. It is more likely that your cat will come to fear or lash out at you, or that he will refrain from scratching only when you are present. When you are away and have less control over the situation, your cat may continue to scratch in places where he shouldn't.

Use Toys and Special Furniture

An owner can often reduce his cat's scratching by keeping the pet occupied in other ways. Provide your cat with a selection of appropriate cat toys in order to encourage him to release his energy in other ways. Most pet stores offer a selection of specially designed cat furniture that cats can play with and scratch. It is important to not provide your cat with anything that resembles an object or surface which should be avoided, as scratching this likeness may encourage your cat to execute a similar behavior in inappropriate places.

Cat scratching can also be moderated by allowing your pet to spend more time outside. Between all of these potential mediators, you should be able to control your pet's scratching to a certain degree. If he still scratches excessively, consult with a veterinarian about your remaining options.