How to train a kitten not to scratch
How to train a kitten not to scratch is one of the first things a new kitten owner often asks. In fact, scratching can be one of the most irritating and costly habits that a cat can have. It is important to understand that this behavior is completely normal and your kitty does not understand why he is not allowed to do it. There are several things you can try to break your kitten of this annoying feline trait.
How to train a kitten not to scratch, starts with a scratching post
When you bring your kitty home, it is necessary to have a cat scratching post. Scratching posts come in different sizes and different materials. Most kittens like a post that is tall enough for them to stretch fully. So, make sure you purchase a size post that will fit your kitten as he grows. In addition, it is important for the base to be stable, allowing your kitty to stretch, paw, scratch, and climb the post with complete support. Next, you will want to make the scratching post attract your kitty. You can accomplish this by using a catnip spray on the post or by attaching a catnip toy.
Make your furniture less attractive
You can make your furniture less attractive to your kitten by attaching double-sided sticky tape to the areas that may tempt them to scratch. Then, put the scratching post next to the furniture and gradually move the post away from your furniture a little bit each day. You may want to test the tape on an inconspicuous area of the furniture to make sure it doesn’t cause any damage.
If you aren’t in favor of decorating your furniture with double-sided tape, you may prefer a repellent spray such as Four Paws Keep Off. It is made specifically to keep your kitty off your curtains, drapes, furniture, or any other area you do not want them to explore. Most important, it is safe and won’t stain furniture or fabric. The only drawback is it only works for approximately 24 hours.
Clip your kitty’s claws regularly
Another important aspect of training your kitten not to scratch is to clip their front claws every couple of weeks. It doesn’t take long for sharp claws to rip and tear furniture, clothing, and anything cloth. Cat claw clippers are relatively inexpensive and easy to use and clipping your kitty’s claws is pretty simple. While holding your kitten, press his toe pad so his claw extends. Next, look for the quick, the pink part inside the claw. You shouldn’t have a problem seeing it because almost all cats have white claws. Finally, clip the sharp tip right below the quick. If you happen to clip the quick by mistake, you can stop the bleeding with Curicyn Blood Stop Powder.
Cap your kitty’s claws
Another alternative is the put plastic caps on your kitten’s claws. The caps attach to the claw with adhesive and are temporary, lasting between four to six weeks. Since the caps do not interfere with the normal extension and retraction of their nails, your kitty should not mind wearing them. Some brands even come in a variety of colors to match your kitten’s personality.
Declaw your kitten
Some people may decide to declaw their kitty to prevent scratching. However, it is a very controversial subject. In fact, the state of New York bans the practice of declawing. Other cities and towns throughout the United States have also passed legislation banning the surgery. While it may keep your kitten from scratching up the furniture, declawing is a very involved procedure. The surgery includes the amputation of the last digital bone, including the nail bed and claw on the front of each toe. In addition, your kitty will suffer from significant pain during the recovery, as well as being introduced to the risk of anesthesia, excessive bleeding, and postoperative complications, including infection. It can also significantly affect your cat’s ability to defend himself.
Utilizing behavior modification techniques
You can also try using behavior modification techniques to discourage your kitty from scratching. When you catch him in the act of scratching, loudly clap your hands or squirt him with water. Then, physically remove him from the area. This method should only be used as a last resort, as your kitty may become fearful of you.
Evaluate and decide what may work for you and your new kitten. While one thing may work for one cat owner, it may not work for another. You should also check with your veterinarian for the pros and cons of declawing if you are considering it.
ASPCA. (n.d.). Destructive Scratching. Common Cat Behavior Issues. Retrieved from https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/cat-care/common-cat-behavior-issues/destructive-scratching
Bourquin, B. (July 15, 2020). How to train your cat not to scratch the furniture. WikiHow. Retrieved from https://www.wikihow.com/Train-Your-Cat-Not-to-Scratch-the-Furniture
CatPusic Academy. (January 24, 2018). How to train your cat not to scratch furniture. [Video] YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oQcDiPKo7zI