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My cat likes to scratch on the wood work. How can I stop that? I have heard that jalapeno peppers will do the trick or citrus. Does that work? Please help!
Don't use peppers! I made the mistake of suggesting this in the past, but then I read on ThriftyFun that the heat from the peppers can get into a pet's eyes... They can even scratch their eyes out because it hurts them so much! A cat can touch the pepper then touch his eye while cleaning himself.
What has worked for me is, I found out that my cat greatly preferred one of those mats you wipe you feet on. Not just ANY mat, but the kind made from natural jute or sisal that's not woven but stands up straight (it's kind of fluffy like carpeting) & he can run his claws right through it. I cut up the mat into 2 pieces then glued it to several priority mail boxes (cardboard) but you could also use a stiff piece of wood.
I then leaned these against the wall or furniture where he likes to scratch & he goes for the natural fiber mat instead of other things! If you can't find one of these mats, (mats are usually woven or have loops) you might try those cardboard scratching blocks they sell at Walmart. My cat also loves scratching & biting cardboard. (he doesn't eat it, but I think it cleans his teeth) They also sell a catnip spray to attract them to the cardboard scratching posts or blocks. They also sell a cardboard scratching post attachment that's impregnated with catnip at Walmart too. Be sure any sisal or jute mat has fibers that stick up & aren't loops or woven so your cat can run his claws through it.
* My vet said that cats like & need to scratch because it feels good to them. If they don't scratch they get a build up of microscopic flakes of protein on their nails... They need to scratch to remove this build up or it can bother them. It also helps if you keep their nails trimmed.
Lastly, you can take a piece of wood or cardboard & place double-stick tape on it then place it where your cat scratches. (maybe with thumb tacks that are pounded WELL into the wall with a hammer (so you cat won't eat one!) or using that removable tape or putty. Cats hate the way the sticky tape feels!
Here's a quote from the web: (why do cats scratch)
Scratching removes the old nail sheath so cats have nice, new claws on a regular basis. Scratching also helps cats stretch, which feels good.
They also scratch to mark their territory. Not only do they leave claw marks, which act as a visual message, they leave a scent released from the glands located in the pads of their paws.
Cats tend to pick out a favorite object to scratch on a regular basis. They seem to prefer nice broad, vertical surfaces (like the back of a chair or sofa) with a texture they can really sink their claws into. They also like soft wood and carpet.
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How can I stop my cats from more clawing door frames and elsewhere? They have scratching posts, but they started this behavior while I was on a three week trip and the cats had cat sitters. It was probably a protest at my being gone, but it's a habit now. I do trim their nails when I can. De-clawing is not an option. Help.
By Cateyes from Lake County, OH
I stopped this by putting some Vaseline in those areas. The cats don't like the way it feels on their paws. (01/15/2010)
I have tried several methods to stop this behavior. The most effective has been Comfort Zone spray with feliway. It is a "happy cat" pheromone. Cats will not "mark", spray, or scratch where you spray it. It has no odor and does not mark what you spray it on. It worked like a charm (I was a skeptic). I have also used the sticky strips sold in pet shops for the ends of my sofa. They worked, too. They haven't touched the new sofa. I have also heard cheap cologne works, but I haven't tried that yet. Good luck. (01/15/2010)
Cats dislike orange peels if you leave some orange peels around the item, the cat will soon learn to stay away. (01/17/2010)
A employee at Petsmart told me to get the catnip spray they sell and spray it every two weeks on the areas we wanted her to scratch, like kitty condo, scratching posts, etc. He had many cats and was a foster dad to rescued cats so I figured he knew what he was talking about. Our baby was 7 years old when we adopted her and died last year of cancer at age 16. She never once scratched any of the furniture. I also sprayed her toys which she loved dearly. (02/14/2010)
By Helena C
He already has one of those huge cat houses (7 feet) with a built-in rope type scratching post attached which he never uses, even though I have put catnip on it numerous times. There has also been a wooden ladder installed to the top bunk that has one leg looking like my woodwork. Any help would be appreciated.
Our cat has done this too. I tried all sorts of different scratching posts to tempt him to use something else.
Happily, we were given a great toy/scratching disk that he loves now. Its a disk shaped toy, about 14-16" diameter with a trough around the outside that a ball fits into. In the middle there is corrugated cardboard set in on the edge just for scratching. You are supposed to put catnip in the cardboard and we have once or twice. He now uses the cardboard instead of our woodwork.
A super "discipline" method for cats is a spray bottle of water. Make sure it has a good squirt/stream rather than a mist and when the cat is doing something you prefer he stop, give him a squirt with the water bottle. You could also use a water pistol. I wish we had used this when our older cat was new to us, but did not. We now have a new kitten in addition to our old cat, and the squirt bottle is working pretty well.
Good luck! (02/22/2005)
First, try putting a scratching post that you want him to use, right in front of where he is scratching that you *don't* want. Every time he uses the post instead of the wall, be sure to praise him a lot and give him a treat.
Once he is using that instead, slowly move it a little bit each day, as long as he continues to use it, back to where you want it. The point being to condition him away from the bad area and into the good. If he starts to back slide, put it back and leave it there longer, and leave longer periods in between your slow movement back to where you want it.
When you catch him scratching on the wrong place, say "No!" and move his paws from the wrong place to the right place. He'll probably run right away at that moment, but it will usually stick in his brain after a while. Plus, it helps get the scent from his glands (there are some in his feet, that's part of the scratching thing) onto the right place.
Second, you can try putting tin foil or double stick tape on any surface you don't want him to scratch. Cats don't like the feel of these materials on their paws and will avoid it (has worked so-so for me in the past).
Third, there are some sprays you can get at the pet store that have scents cats don't like but are fine for us, very cilantro-like. You can try that, although that one has been very hit or miss for me.
Finally, it sounds like he likes actual wood more than some of the other materials you are providing. I had the same problem with my cat a while back. He seemed to like something he could really sink his claws into. Is there some other actual wood he *could* scratch? Maybe give him a nice tall, thick 8x8 piece of wood as his scratching post. If he has an "okay" one, maybe he'll leave the others alone!
Further back in this newsletter someone posted using a small amount of cayenne pepper to deter cats from scratching her furniture.
Try dusting a small amount of it on the areas the cat scratches. Use a cosmetic powder puff so you can control the amount on the wood. BE CAREFUL not to get it up your nose! (02/22/2005)
By Fran Marie
My kitties love to scratch on a log for the fireplace.
Jennifer from Northern Virginia (02/22/2005)
Your cat has scent glands in his feet and scratching is a way of marking his territory. My cat used to scratch, I used the squirting of water and also wiped the wood down with vinegar which the cat did not like to be near. (02/22/2005)
I don't know if this will work for cats but it does for dogs. Apply Vick's Vapor rub or any mentholated rub on a piece of cloth. Attach the cloth to the area where the cat scratches. Dogs don't like the odor, I would think cats wouldn't like it either. Good luck.