Cats are fluffy, cuddly, and soft; except for those with sharp razor claws. Those razor-sharp claws can cause damage to your furniture, your home and you. In this article, we'd be discussing 11 ways you can stop your cat from scratching, so you could get back to cuddling.
Why do cats scratch and bite?
Aggressive scratching or biting usually occurs during a petting session, when you either ignore or don’t understand your cat’s body language.
While most kitties enjoy being pampered for hours, sometimes a cat could get overstimulated for one reason or another and might want to opt-out of a petting session, but finds it hard to make you stop.
An angry kitty signals its feelings with ears pulled back and narrowed eyes. In case you wait for the unavoidable tail lashing, you have waited too long, and may get rewarded with a scratch or a bite.
The rule is to carefully watch your cat's signals and desist from whatever you are doing to prevent escalation. As soon as you know what makes your cat angry, you can reduce these interactions or stop them completely.
What triggers aggression in some cats may be petting them for a long time, petting their belly, or being too careless when petting them at the base of their tail. Make sure you know what your cat likes and doesn't like and always follow their lead when pampering them.
Below are 11 tips to stop your cat from scratching or biting:
1. Offer alternatives
Make sure you provide your cat with things she can scratch on; after all, it is a healthy part of being a kitty.
Purchase various sizes (they should be large enough that your kitty can stretch out its paws and claws), textures and shapes so you can tell which one your cat likes and put them in the spots in your home your cat typically scratches.
2. Read your kitty
Learn how to read your kitty’s body language. In case your kitty is saying “I want to be alone,” you need to understand and respect that body language.
Most individuals get scratched or bitten because they pet their cat in a manner that she finds unpleasant, and this may get her furious. A major example is the cat’s belly. Most cats don’t like being rubbed or scratched on their belly. They find it irritating.
3. Don’t play rough
When cats are young, those claws are small and they do not have the strength they will when they grow older. Many individuals think it is fun and cute to wrestle a kitten, thus; allowing them to scratch and bite.
But, you are only teaching the kitty that scratching is cool and it will certainly become worse as the cat gets older. It is best not to use your hand as a toy during playtime with your cat.
4. Lure your cat to use the scratcher and redirect her attention
The moment you bring a new scratcher back home, lure your cat to use it instead of your home furniture.
You can simply do this by putting catnip on it, placing a favorite toy around it or hanging a toy above so she reaches up with her claws extended. Always applaud your cat whenever she goes for the scratcher.
You can find horizontal and vertical scratching tools made of different materials like cardboard, sisal, rope, and carpet. Meticulously observe your kitty, check what she reaches for, which can assist you in determining the pattern she may prefer.
It is advisable to invest in different patterns and tactically put them in areas where your cat tends to scratch.
Playful scratching of feet or hands usually happens simply because your kitty is bored and desperately needs a play object. Give her 10 to 15 minutes of active play with any available interactive toy.
Furthermore, you can direct them to a different outlet or a scratching post for their behavior. This helps in fulfilling the need of not just correcting them but it also gives them an outlet for their behavior that is proper.
5. Applaud your cat after using her scratcher
A key to letting your cat know that her scratcher is appropriate is catching her using it and applauding her. Be prepared with treats and offer her lots of goodies while petting her after she has used her scratcher.
6. Clicker training
You can in fact clicker train your kitty to utilize her scratcher. This may be a good solution in case you have a kitty that doesn’t seem interested in a scratcher.
You can visit YouTube to watch different great videos showing the basics of clicker training.
7. Handling training
Work on handling your cat positively. Begin with reaching your hand toward your kitty, to the side. Do not touch her. In case she doesn't take a swipe, then she should be rewarded with a treat.
Keep on doing this until you can gently touch your cat without her scratching you. Learn how to hold and handle her without getting scratched. Always remember to pay attention to her body language, and do not push your kitty past her comfort level or you may get scratched.
You can use aversive to make the area your kitty loves scratching on less attractive. Suggestions include putting foil over the area, turning carpet runner upside down, using double-sided sticky paws and tapes, etc.
However, you will have better luck, in case you focus on the positive training methods discussed above.
9. Trim its claws
Always trim your cat’s claws to keep them from overgrowing. There is no need to ever declaw a kitty because of regular scratching behavior, however, keeping those claws well-trimmed can make the scratches less painful.
10. Use ‘No’ or any other single word phrase to correct your cat
Use a particular word as your corrective word and stick to it. Do not scream it, but always say it clearly and loudly.
This may frighten the cat but serves in breaking the kitty's focus. While you have the attention of your cat, gently remove your hand from her clutches. Do not tug it away or else the kitty may think the play is still on and grab it again.
11. Grab the kitty by the scruff
Only do this in severe circumstances where you are scared your cat might keep on hurting you. It imitates the punishment a mother cat often gives to a disobedient kitten. Grasp the kitten by the scruff and pick her up and move her to a different location of the room or house.
This will serve as a means of breaking the behavior and removing them from the situation causing you or anyone else pain. Once this has been corrected, redirect their behaviors to something more appropriate.
Most times, in case a kitty or a cat is in the habit of scratching and biting, it becomes very challenging to train it out of such bad behavior.
It will take time and patience, however, you can teach your kitty that you prefer not being the main target of its scratches and bites, even if the kitty sees it as playtime.