General Question

goose756's avatar

How can I get my cat to use his scratcher?

Asked by goose756 (655points) April 19th, 2009

We got a scratcher for my cat a few months ago when we got him and he never uses it! We’ve showed him a couple times and he’s done it MAYBE once or twice on his own but he insists on using the couch instead. I don’t want him to ruin the furniture, help!

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14 Answers

Jude's avatar

Rub some catnip on it?

goose756's avatar

@jmah we’ve tried that, he just licks it off or rubs himself all over it… :(

Jude's avatar

Have a look at this video.

A_Beaverhausen's avatar

play with him around it? maybe attach a play mouse to it? or you can just get him declawed.

augustlan's avatar

A while back, somebody recommended Soft Paws. They seem like a good alternative to declawing.

tinyfaery's avatar

Might just be that your cat doesn’t like that particular scratcher. You didn’t specify the type you have now, but you can try carpet, rope, cardboard and other types of materials. Might be your cat wants to scratch horizontally or vertically, or on a slant. You might have to try a few different combinations before you find the right thing.

There are also tricks to getting kitty to not scratch on the furniture. Try a squirt bottle. They sell products that smell bad to cats that you can spray on your furniture to deter scratching.

I always recommend the book Starting From Scratch. It’s a great book for retraining bad behavior.

And like august said, there is always Soft Paws.

miasmom's avatar

We always put the scratcher next to whatever our cat had been previously scratching and that always seemed to do the trick. We also used the two sided tape on the back of our couch because there little toes do not like to walk on that. Where is the cat scratching?

Since your cat is scratching on the couch, I would put the scratcher right up next to where they are scratching and see if they catch on…you could also use the double sided tape as a deterrent until they are used to it.

Jeruba's avatar

I have never known anybody to get a cat to use anything it didn’t feel like using. For some reason they are willing to use the sandbox. I have heard of effective deterrents—for example, putting sandpaper where you don’t want them to scratch—but not of ways to make them sleep or scratch or play with or in anything that didn’t appeal to them.

jrpowell's avatar

I use one of these. She seems to like it.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

Cats don’t like aluminum foil. You could try putting some on the area your cat likes to scratch and then place a scratching box or post near it. Make sure to reward the cat when he scratches in the correct location. Operant conditioning works for animals.

susanc's avatar

My cat is hyper cooperative, but he does like scratching the couch. I bought him a cardboard scratcher but he thought it was stupid. Then I bought him a tall columnar one with rope on it, which he now loves. At first we would BOTH scratch it in a friendly way – he liked that, it was companionable and also he liked the stretch he got from it. And the two-sided tape and the spray bottle are great unless your cat is an undeterrable sociopath.

You MUST NOT declaw your cat. It’s painful and, should he ever get out of the house,
he would be defenceless because he wouldn’t be able to fight and, worse, he wouldn’t be able to climb. DON’T DO IT.

You could clip his claws periodically – just the very tips, where there’s no flesh inside. It’s a nice bonding thing. Then they’re less sharp, but not gone. Gone is unfair.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

GA @susanc Declawing a cat is brutal and selfish act.

susanc's avatar

@The Compassionate Heretic: Back atcha, and thanks.

Garebo's avatar

I agree, aluminum foil as a deterent and catnip as bait. My cats are insane and rip trough them rather aggressively. Now, they just need to go catch those darn gophers that are stand’in up every time I drive in.

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