trying to get attention by scratching on chairs? - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-18-2006, 10:46 PM Thread Starter
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trying to get attention by scratching on chairs?

This behaviour has been happening for about a month now.

Ariel has this toy that she is just amazingly attached to. It's like a feather boa on a stick, and she carries it around the house with her and grooms it. She's learned that if she brings it to myself and my boyfriend, usually when we are studying at the computer table, one of us will get up and play with her. She's like a dog - she'll bring it over, drop it, and start meowing.

But, when we don't play with her, or when we're doing other things like eating dinner, and we don't pay her the attention she wants, she'll start scratching on the upholstered, tapestry-like chairs at the computer table. We live at my inlaws', so the chairs aren't even mine, and they're practically destroyed. My boyfriend's mum isn't really angry, but she would like something to be done about the situation.

Ariel is good about using her scratching posts (and she has a variety)... I don't feel like she's doing this because she actually really likes scratching there, but because when she does, she gets attention that we weren't giving her in the first place. We clap our hands and shout and spritz her with water but she just runs back five minutes later and starts scratching, unless we give in and play with her.

Possibly if we ignore her she'll learn that scratching the chairs won't work, but until she picks up on that, the chairs are just going to fall apart. Even with her nails clipped regularly, she still pulls threads out of the upholstery.

I'm thinking about trying those SoftClaws, but I'm worried she'll just pull them off and eat them. Are they non-toxic? Would they hurt her if she ate one... or five? Is there any way to discourage her from scratching the chairs to get attention?

Ariel and her "baby"
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-18-2006, 11:13 PM
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When my cats don't get the attention they're looking for they'll sometimes do something they know I don't like. Little children!!
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-19-2006, 01:21 AM
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I think I would try taking this toy away from her and putting it in a closet or some other area where she can't get at it. And only bring it out when you want to play with her. Hopefully she won't replace it with a different toy.

BTW, these types of interactive toys are much more fun for the cat when they don't have access to them all the time.

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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-16-2007, 02:01 PM
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Funny enough, my cat has just started this behavior as well. Annie has always been great about sticking to her scratching post. When we bought a new couch set about 8 months ago we were a little worried that she might start scratching it but it wasn't a problem at all. Lately though, she's been starting to scratch the sides and back of both the couch and loveseat. Luckily, the set is made out of micro-suade, and so she hasn't yet been able to make a tear. It does make a funny sound though, like "whurr, whurr, whurr..." when she scratches, so I think maybe she's just trying to get our attention. Especially since she still frequently uses her scratching post.

We've been trying to correct the behavior by giving her treats and praise when she uses the post, and using sharp noises when she scratches the chairs. We've tried the squirt bottle, but we can't find a way to do it without her seeing us so I don't think it will really correct the behavior. Plus, after a squirt, she just comes back a few minutes later to repeat the behavior. I'm pretty sure that giving treats for scratching the post is not working either. It's actually pretty funny. Now, sometimes she gets in a routine where she'll repeatedly give a few half-hearted scratches to the post and then look at me like "where's my treat?".

Any advice?
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-16-2007, 11:33 PM
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Simba is so blatant that he will stretch up on the couch, then look around to see if anyone is paying attention before actually scratching . Doesn't matter what we have tried he still does things like that until he gets the attention that he wants.

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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-17-2007, 12:41 AM
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Our older female Jiggy does that. She knows she's not supposed to but when I object, she flops over like a lump (with claws still in couch) and looks up with those big eyes. Just like kids is right. The turds (Siamese) don't claw the furniture at all.
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-21-2007, 04:44 PM
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My cat Gabby started to destroy my couch about a month ago and I had no idea what to do. I tried the spray bottle with a firm "No", but as soon as I wasn't looking she was back at it.
I didn't want to use the soft claws, because I wanted to correct the behavior not just protect the furniture. The first thing I did was to put clear double sided tape like this
on the areas where she liked to scratch. It was really easy to apply and you can't see it at all. And even though she has numerous different types of scratching posts, I also put cardboard scratchers right next to the spots where she was scratching. So far she hasn't even tried to touch the couch! Hope this helps.


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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-21-2007, 05:59 PM Thread Starter
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Well, I might as well update since the thread's been brought up.

Basically, the cat won.

We tried sticky tape, but my sleeves would get stuck to it, and we would have to reapply it every other day because the tape would get furry and dusty and sometimes she would just rip it right off. Softclaws didn't work too well either, I think more due to the nature of the upholstery - it's like woven tapestry - so even with her claws capped she could still catch the threads and pull them out. It might have been a better solution if we'd had smooth upholstery, like leather that she couldn't catch. After a few months of just letting her rip the bejeezus out of the chairs, she got bored and rarely does it any more. Not that that's a favourable solution to us, but I'm sure it was to her.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-08-2007, 04:55 PM
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The scratching may not be seeking attention, it could just be that they want to scratch. If you haven't got a scratching post get one, and when they scratch something else say "Nooooooooo!" in a low tone of voice, then put the scratching post infront of the thing they were scratching and scratch it a few times with your finger nails to encourage your cats to scratch the post instead of your furniture.
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 11-08-2007, 10:12 PM
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We were given THE MOST COMFORTABLE recliner...but it was covered in a hideous orange-y/yellow color, nubbley fabric. The kitties have scratched it to shreds at the corners.
I have decided to have it recovered in DENIM. Denim is washable and sturdy.
I also bought a super-tall sisal scratching post from PetCo a few months ago and they now seem to prefer scratching that, instead of the recliner.

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