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How do you get your cat to use the scratching post instear of the furniture?
I adopted a new cat - 2 years old- and the foster Mom said he didn't scratch the furniture. She was very wrong. I bought two different types of scratching pads, but he doesn't use them. Any tips??
 

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When I first adopted my girls, I put them each in a safe room and the safe room had no furniture that was likely to be scratched (no couches, etc.). I then played with them around their scratching posts...dangling toys above or around the posts and so forth. Once I moved the girls out of their safe rooms, I brought the scratch pads and mats with me and they continued to use those rather than my furniture. Catnip is also a good idea, as Digikid suggested.

If it's possible to ask the former foster Mom what kind of post/mat she used, then I would do so. Otherwise, you'll have to experiment with posts and mats made of different materials, etc. Given that cats like to both stretch and scratch, a tall scratch post (twice the cat's length) is a good investment.

I would try to put a scratch mat/post close to where she sleeps, because stretching and scratching is something cats like to do when they first wake up. I would also try to put something over any furniture that she's currently scratching (what you might use depends on what she's scratching). When cats scratch, they leave both visual and scent markings behind, and those markings attract them back to the same spot over and over. So, covering up the markings so as not to keep attracting her back there would be a good move. You can also try spraying the furniture with a scent cats don't like (such as lemon air freshener). Alternatively, limit her access to those rooms where she's scratching furniture until she gets accustomed to using her scratch posts. Once she starts depositing her scent/visual markings on the scratch posts, she'll return to them rather than your furniture.
 

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I agree with Susan. Asking the foster mom is very important advice. Cats have all sorts of scratching preferences. Some like vertical scratchers, some horizontal. Then there is the whole material thing. Some like wood, carpet, cardboard, rope, etc. Location is also key which was pointed out. If the scratching posts are in a back room when the cat spends most of it's time in the living room then the cat has obviously chosen a different room for it's territory and by default will scratch the items in that area. I have also found that my cats prefer when their scratching post is near a window.

Like Susan also said scratching does claim territory, your cat is in a new place and now has a new territory. In a sense you can take it as a compliment, your new fur baby has officially deemed your home as it's home :) If the kitty is scratching cloth furniture like a couch the deterrent I like to use is double sided tape. They don't care for it much.
 

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My cats love this kind:






hate this kind





They scratch the legs of my cat tree, they like tall, tall, tall. They like to be able to stand up and really stretch and scratch.
 

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MowMow seconds the above opinion. He won't scratch on sisal and won't use a flat scratcher. Has to be the incline and cardboard.
 

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You'll just have to experiment with different types of scratching items. My boy loves his carpeted cat tree with sissal on the posts; whereas my girls scratching preference is a cardboard egg carton on the floor or a carpeted doormat. Refresh the scratching item with catnip once a week.

Praise lavishly when you do see cat scratch on the item you want.
 

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I have read somewhere that sometimes cats scratch things like door frames etc when they are a little stressed out. It could just be that he is a little spooked over his move and that it will eventually die down on its own.

I cant add anything that hasn't already been said about encouraging him to use the scratching post.

Good luck
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for the responses.
I talked to his foster and she said she had a tall cat tree with sisal rope on the legs. BUT- his nails were incredibly long when I got him so I don't know how much he used the cat tree.
I have cardboard kind and a verticle rug kind.
I'll just have to keep trying different things like you all say.

This will be my first day back to work since getting him. I don't know if I should put him back in his "alone room", or let him wander.
I'll have to get to the pet store and check the double sided tape and other deterrent ideas.

I have heard foil on the countertops works, winder if I can cover the arms of the furniture with that too?

He was not trained to stay off counters and desks, so I will have that to deal with also. He lived with dogs, so the foster let the cats use the counters and tables as a safe place away from the dogs. sigh.
 

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This will be my first day back to work since getting him. I don't know if I should put him back in his "alone room", or let him wander.
I vote for keeping him in his "alone room" while you are at work. It is a place he can feel safe, and it keeps your belongings safe and your counter tops kitty-germ-free.
 

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Scratching posts and other devices do not wear your kitties nails down. Most that claim to do this do not work I have found (oh how I wish they did!) They actually sharpen the cats nails. That is why you can trim them and a week later they have sharp little points again. A cat could use it's post daily and still have long nails. You will have to still trim his little feet even when you find a scratcher he likes.

Just remember that the key to it all is to truly stay calm and patient (I know, easier said then done :p). Reinforce positive behavior with treats and praise.
 
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