View Full Version : The cats are ruining all the furniture...HELP!!!

10-06-2000, 09:52 AM
Hi all,

My mothers' cats are ruining all of her furniture, they scratch on everything! She just called me in tears that the beautiful living room furniture that she saved money to buy for months and months, has almost been shreaded to the wood. She just bought the furniture in the end of July of this year, it's only a few months old! My poor mom! I cut the cats' nails about every 2-3 weeks and cut the nails just before the quick so I know they are never getting long before I cut them the next time. We never believed in declawing, we felt it was far too tramautic for cats, therefor, have never declawed ANY cat of ours....however, my mom does not have enough $ to buy new furniture every year because those 2 cats of hers destroy it. We bought a couple nice scratching posts, bought catnip spray and catnip flakes and put it around and on top of the scratching post, and we spray her furniture with this stinky stuff that cats are supposed to hate. Problem is that stinky stuff makes her house smell terrilbe and it still does not keep them from scratching up her furniture.

Her one cat, Mia, is about 14 years old. Her other cat, Mewton, is about 10. I feel that to declaw them at their current age would be so painful and tramautic and cruel, I almost would feel that they would rather be put to sleep then to have that done. I LOVE her cats, I would never think about doing anything to harm them in any way. I am just running out of ideas for non-cruel fixes. I don't want to declaw them. It's one thing to do that to a kitten, it's quite another to do it to an elderly cat. We have tried getting the cats to claw at the scratching post and they are COMPLETELY uninterested in them, even when they are loaded with wonderful smells like catnip sprays and catnip flakes, which I rub into the carpet of the post so it's extra sweet smelling.

Does anyone have any suggestions? Has anyone had this problem and had a wonderful fix for it? Is there anything else I can do becides surgery? If someone can help me I would SO much appreciate it! I feel so bad for my mom, she was so proud of her new furniture and it was SO beautiful! She's in love with those cats, I love them alot too but she's more of a cat person then I am and she's worrying herself sick. If all she can do is get them declawed then so be it, but it's a shame to do that to an elderly cat.

10-06-2000, 12:31 PM
I've heard about plastic nail covers that the vet can apply, with glue, to a cat's nails so that when they scratch it won't do damage. They do grow out with the nails and have to be re-applied when they do. This may be worth a try, and if it works, maybe you could learn to apply them?
This would be my first step, and then I would try behaviour modification....spray water at them when they scratch the furniture. I've also heard that tin foil paper put on the furniture is a deterrent, as they don't like to walk on it. Also blown up balloons placed in the places they scratch may help, if they pop one, it may scare them off.
Good luck!

[This message has been edited by dogncatluvr (edited October 06, 2000).]

10-06-2000, 04:11 PM
Congratulations on not declawing the cats.

The cats aren't uninterested in scratching posts, if they were they wouldn't be scratching the furniture. Although you've clearly made an effort, the techniques you've described really aren't considered very effective scratch training techniques, although they may help when used with other training methods.

Since I don't know what kind of scratching posts you have I don't know if they are tall enough and stable enough for your cats. We know something is keeping them away, I don't know if it the techniques you've used, the height, surface, direction, location, or stability, but something about them isn't right for these cats.

The use of anti-scratch spray has likely backfired in a big way. One reason cats scratch is to mark objects in their territory with their scent via the scent glands on the bottom of their paws. The use of the spray covers up and/or destroys the markings, requiring them to repeatedly re-mark the object. The next time your mom gets new furniture she should spray it with Feliway before exposing the cats to it. Feliway is a synthetic cat marking pheremone and will make them think the furniture has already been marked.

It would be awful to declaw them at this age, I doubt they'd be the same afterwards and they may have permanent pee problems and other behavior problems. I doubt she wants to trade her current scratching problems for a house and furniture that stinks of cat piss.

Sounds like Softpaws is the way to go for you, given their age, and I do think can still try using proven and effective training techniques as well.

Here is the Softpaws link: http://www.softpaws.com/

I highly recommend this book to you: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0140288546/

And these links contain alot of articles on scratch training and protecting the furniture during training.



[This message has been edited by EileenKay (edited October 06, 2000).]

10-06-2000, 06:12 PM
Thank you everyone for the wonderful advice and super links! I do believe you are right about the material of the scratching posts that we have. It's not the same material as the tapestry chair in the living room, which is the favorite of theirs. I am going to look into getting a different material, the kind of material similar to that of the chair. I do believe that could do it. I honestly think I can shake this habbit of theirs, it truly is an expensive one! They are SUCH nice cats, they love everyone, they are so sweet! I thank you and Mia & Mewton thank you too. They LOVE their fingernails and they want to keep them!

If you have any other suggestions please do reply. I'll either buy a new post with fabric similar to the one of the chair that they LOVE to shread or I'll make one. That sounds like a fun project, I have never built something but hey, i'm doing it for a good cause http://PetoftheDay.com/talk/smile.gif

10-07-2000, 01:01 PM
Adore, if the tapestry chair is one of the 'ruined' pieces of furniture that your mother wants to replace I suggest putting it elsewhere and leaving it as one of their permanent scratching posts.

I'm not as certain as you that just the fabric change to a post will do it, I hope you keep an open mind and review all the options and products discussed in the articles.

10-17-2000, 05:44 PM
Here's something else to try. Get a long piece of sticky tape and stick the ends of it together so you have a loop. Make sure the sticky side is facing out. Stick loops wherever the cats preferred scratching places are for a few days and they will soon go off the idea.

10-21-2000, 09:55 PM
I have good news about my moms cats...they have started using the scratching post for some reason now!!! Yeah for the kitties! Maybe they knew how much we did not want to get their claws hacked off and they decided to be good http://PetoftheDay.com/talk/smile.gif I would also like to add that they have not scratched the furniture anymore in about 1.5 weeks! My mom had stopped using that stinky spray on the furniture as soon as I was advised to stop using it and they don't seem interested in the furniture anymore. I am so proud of them http://PetoftheDay.com/talk/smile.gif It's so cute to see them scratching on the post like good little kitties. I thank everyone for the fine advise. This may not be the end of the furniture scratching problem but it sure looks to be coming to a close, and I know they have it in them to scratch on the post and not on the furniture. I bookmarked the "make your own kitty scratching post" and the "softpaws" links in case the problem happens again.

I guess I don't know as much about cats as I do about dogs but both my mother and I prase the cats for using the post and they seem to like the positive attention when we prase them. The seem to know that they get negetave energy when the scratch the furniture and they get positive energy when they scratch the posts. I am thankful for all the helpful advise...all of it! If it happens again I will remember the hints and check out the softpaws and maybe make a nice, big scratching post.

10-21-2000, 11:30 PM
Glad to hear the good news - progress!!! http://PetoftheDay.com/talk/smile.gif

10-22-2000, 03:28 PM
I am lucky. Mimi has her claws and occasionally will do that "stretch" and "claw" on the back of a chair or the carpet. I think her is more of a "give me some attention" than sharpening of her claws. I would NEVER declaw a cat. My sister has done it with all of hers and I have to admit they continue to be loving, but hers also stay indoors all the time, while my Mimi would kill me if she stayed inside all the time. My furniture would look quite different! She literally YELLS http://PetoftheDay.com/talk/eek.gif when she doesn't get her way.
So glad you have worked things out with your kitties. I know we had some expensive lessons with a cat I had growing up. Not only did he shred the best chairs, he also knocked over and broke things, as well as jumped on the kitchen counter and ate dinner! http://PetoftheDay.com/talk/biggrin.gif

11-15-2000, 08:47 AM
Another post regarding the fully clawed cats of my mothers: I hope you are not sick of hearing about them...

The male cat has stopped scratching on the furniture almost all together. The female cat has only scratched on it once since my last post. No WAY will they have to be declawed! I just wanted to let you all know. There's huge progress at my moms house. I figured out that when I clip there nails less frequently, they seem to scratch on the furniture less often. I decided to let the nails start to grow back before I trim them, for some reason it's really working. Both my mom and I am are proud of those kitties http://PetoftheDay.com/talk/smile.gif *snif* they are being so wonderful, and scratching on the post more and more often every day http://PetoftheDay.com/talk/smile.gif Thanks again, everyone, I just wanted to give you more good news on their progress. I am sure all you cat/animal lovers will be happy to hear good news.

I threw out that stinky spray crap that is supposed to keep pets off the furniture, the house smells better and that stuff was surely adding to their furniture scratching.

4 feline house
11-15-2000, 05:08 PM
Most of my cats stretch & scratch the carpet. I've been very lucky - even though I don't currently have a post, my current cats only occasionally and lightly scratch the furniture - only very minor damage that you have to get up close to see, on the "away" side of the couch. I heard long ago that standard floor carpet is hard to damage by cat scratching unless they're scratching a seam, and it must be true because I have yet to have a cat ruin the carpet from scratching it. Now, peeing is another problem! http://PetoftheDay.com/talk/frown.gif But fortunately, not a current one!