My Cat Is Destroying the Furniture

Your cat Lucinda has your family wrapped around her pretty little paws. Lucinda loves everybody, and generally you love her back…except when she’s systematically demolishing your home’s couches, chairs, and table legs. Yes, you know cats like to scratch a lot, as this helps to trim their claws and strengthen their paw muscles. However, you didn’t think Lucinda would choose your home as her personal scratching post. Before you banish Lucinda to the bathroom, ask your Livonia veterinarian to treat Lucinda to a behavioral counseling session.


Poo-poo the Punishment

Regardless of your anti-scratching strategy, don’t punish Lucinda for her sins, as she won’t know what she did wrong. She might also figure that every time she interacts with you, she gets punished. Penalizing her probably won’t stop her behavior, either, as she’ll just keep scratching when you’re not home.


Reduce the Weapons’ Effectiveness

Get your vet to trim Lucinda’s claws, as duller feline razors might not inflict as much damage on your furniture. Your vet can easily perform this service during Lucinda’s next physical exam.


Doctor the Furniture

Now let’s make the furniture less attractive. Place sandpaper or plastic wrap on your upholstered chair or couch. Yes, it will look and sound a bit weird, and you’ll probably want to remove it before you sit down. However, Lucinda’s very touch-sensitive paws will likely avoid these abrasive or sticky surfaces, probably because they inhibit her scratching plans. She’ll probably appear quite annoyed about this turn of events as well.


Create Nearby Distractions

Assuming that you’ve discouraged Lucinda from digging at the strange-feeling furniture, give her something more appropriate to scratch, preferably an object with the same general texture. Let’s say she’s been working on your matching upholstered couch and loveseat, for example. Substitute a sisal-covered or carpeted scratching post a few feet away from her normal scratching destination. Maybe Lucinda likes to dig at antique dining table legs. Construct a sweet-smelling cedar scratching post with the same general dimensions.


Finally, periodically provide Lucinda with some choice new scratching surfaces so she doesn’t get bored. Ask your Livonia vet if it’s advisable to sprinkle catnip, or spray a feline pheromone, on the surfaces to make them especially appealing.

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