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.
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