Okay, I’m no veterinarian, but I come in contact with cats everyday in the course of  providing carpet cleaning in Portland, Oregon. Pets can bring unparalleled happiness and joy to a home. Cats have interesting personalities and behaviors when compared to dogs. Among other habits, cats are famous for their tendency to scratch with their claws. I have been known to provide carpet repairs for areas where cats have scratched the carpet. When I find customers who have learned to re-train their cat’s bad behaviors I pay attention. My customers have passed on a few tips that I wanted to share with you.

First of all, understand that scratching for a cats is as natural as eating.  Cats scratch carpets for several reasons. They sharpen their claws,  mark their territory, and stretch their muscles.   You notice that sats often scratch when getting up from a nap. Punishing a cat for scratching will only serve to frustrate the cat. They will change behavior alright. They will scratch when you are not around. Cats respond well to redirection and positive reinforcement as opposed to punishment.   You have to work with their nature and train them in the way that they learn.

Provide an alternative. One should get a scratching post before buying the cat or shortly after. Once a cat gets started on your carpet or furniture then you have to break them of that habit while teaching them to use the post  It’s easier to have only one task to teach. You can purchase a cat scratching post from a pet store or for less money at a local discount outlet.  You can easily make one with a piece of plywood, a 2 by 4, and some scrap carpet. If you have a big house, you may want to get more than one. You want them readily available to your cat.  Buy some good quality cat nip to rub on the post. The cat nip will attract your cat to the post.

Protect  problems area on the carpet or furniture. Cats like most of us are creatures of habit. They like to scratch in the same place over and over. They will pick their favorite couch or section of carpet. If we can discourage use of that area, they will more readily seek the cat post. I came across a an article on how to stop cats from scratching that had some great ideas for protecting your house and train the cat. The article cited recommended that you tape tin foil, or plastic wrap, or a carpet runner bumpy side up to the cat’s favorite scratching site. Cats don’t like any of those surfaces. They will avoid touching that area. If you’ve provided an attractive alternative in the form of a cat post, they will go there.

The article mentioned spraying an area with vinegar, and it is true that cats don’t like vinegar, but neither does your carpet. They also mention squirt guns or pennies in a can to scare the cat when they attempt scratching in the wrong place. If your cover the offended areas and provide a scratching post, you really shouldn’t have to resort to scare tactics.

I did find the motion detector idea interesting.  This lady had one room that the cat liked to scratch. She set up a motion detection with a loud alarm.  I guess that would do it as long as you didn’t mind hearing the alarm during the learning process. Whatever you decide remember to not make the cat angry and want to get even by peeing or spraying the carpet. Cat urine removal and treatment can be difficult!

Hope you find this information helpful. …Until next time Sean.