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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 03-01-2007, 04:01 PM Thread Starter
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clip nails

My cat used to be very cooperative when I clip his nails. Now it’s almost impossible just to cut one nail. As soon as he sees the nail clipper, he will run away to hide. And even if I managed to catch him, he will kick and scratch me. Sometimes even with my boy friend’s help we can’t do it without getting hurt. I have carpet throughout the house. To my cat it’s just a huge scratching field. How do I get him cooperative with weekly nail cutting routine, or how do I stop his scratching behavior. I’ve bought him scratching post, but he still prefers the carpet which he can scratch anywhere any time.
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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 03-01-2007, 05:32 PM
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Nail clipping has obviously become a bad experience for your cat... it could be possible that you have accidentally cut too close a couple times or maybe the nail split causing some pain and making him afraid of getting his nails cut. Unfourtunately, this is bound to happen once in a while...
In order to get your cat to tollerate having his nails clipped again, you need to turn a negative experience into a positive one.

I would suggest starting by just handling your cat as if he were going to have his nails clipped. Hold him the way you would and handle his paws a little bit only for a short while, then immediately follow it with a treat and lots of pets and praise. Do this frequently until he comes to tolerate it well and associates it with the good things. Next, you can move on to clipping a nail or 2. Do only just one or 2 and then immediately follow with the treat and praise. As he becomes used to it, you can start clipping more at a time. Also, always use a good pair of sharp clippers and make sure you don't cut to close. You want to always try to make nail clipping a positive experience for him.

As for training him to use his scratching post, you want to make that a positive experience as well. If he starts scratching the carpet, don't punish, but instead direct him to his scratching post and reward him with a treat and praise. You can encourage him to use the scratching post by playing with him near it and encouraging him to jump and claw on it. You can also try rubbing it with catnip.
You may also need to get a variety of different scratchers. If your cat likes the carpet, try a scratcher that is horizontal or on an incline. Try different materials as well. Some cats prefer carpet while others like sisal or cardboard. Vertical scratching posts should be very sturdy and they should be as tall or taller than your cat is standing up with paws outstretched. If you have a big cat, that may mean that you need a scratching post that is 4' tall.
If you are a little bit handy, you can make a good scratching post by fastening a post to a sheet of plywood and wrapping the post in sisal rope or carpet, or even leaving the post bare if your cat prefers natural wood.
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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 03-01-2007, 06:56 PM
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If he doesn't use the scratching post it's because he doesn't like it. You have to find out what he'd rather scratch. Different cats like to scratch different things: some like carpet, some sisal twine, some sisal fabric, some cardboard, some wood; some like vertical surfaces, some angled, some flat. And one scratching device for a whole house is ridiculous....you don't expect a cat to walk to the next room when they have the urge to scratch NOW and there's some nice furniture handy?

The biggest problems I've seen with scratching posts that don't get used by cats is they're too short and too easy to tip. A scratching post needs to be a good three feet tall and you should be able to tip it 45 degrees and still have it go back to vertical.
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