Thursday 28 February 2008

Cat Scratching - New Approach

cat paws

Cat Scratching is, as we know, entirely natural to a cat. Its purpose is to remove the outer casing of the claw and renew it. The problem arises because the cat is living amongst our treasured possessions. We care about our possessions, we care about our cats. But which takes precedence?

I know I am out on a limb here, but why are we so concerned about training cats to do this and that. Why are we so concerned about cats scratching furniture? If you want to live with a cat buy furniture that you don't care about too much - easy solution. Don't get so involved with "possessions".

The truth is that a cat scratching our possessions is our problem. So, we should be training ourselves to deal with it and not be trying to alter what comes naturally to a cat. It is so much easier to train ourselves to care less about possessions. This is good for us too. The older you get to more you realise that possessions are really very secondary to our wellbeing. In fact possessions often get in the way of living life more fully.

Happiness comes through what we do and who we are with; not through what we possess. So, in the continuing debate on training cats to scratch the right object, perhaps we should look at ourselves. On that subject, it is my belief that too many people treat cats as another possession. Wrong, so completely wrong.

Lets let cats behave as they naturally should. We like cats for what they are. Why change them?

If you don't buy in to this new (common sense) approach then there are some practical steps that can be taken for those new to keeping cats:
  • Buy leather furniture, the best quality you can (softer). Cats don't get the required effect with good quality leather furniture as the claws don't slide through it to remove the sheath of the claws. Your cat may scratch it once or twice and then stop.
  • Place double sided Sellotape on the area where she scratches, that will stop her.
  • Clip her front claws. Do this when she is young and habituate her to it. Do it very carefully to avoid cutting to deep.
  • Buy one old armchair for her to scratch on and the rest leather.
  • Don't smack or criticise your cat for scratching furniture. That will just make her nervous of you and she can't understand as it is normal for her. If you scratched you head and your partner shouted at you and told you to stop how would you feel? Confused and you'd blame your partner for being crazy.
  • If you are that concerned about your possessions don't keep a cat. Don't try and do both. You would be the wrong person to keep a cat. In my opinion all people who keep cats and who declaw them are the wrong people to keep cats. That probably makes about 20 million in the USA alone.
  • You can buy plastic sheaths that stick on the claws (Softpaws). These initially seem a good idea, but are they? A cat needs her claws. I don't think this idea is much better than declawing. How would you feel with plastic stuck to your fingers all the time? We need to feel and touch. A cat is the same.
Cat scratching - a new approach is required.

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