Fortunately, there are compromises
that offer you and Tiger a win-win resolution.
An often used psychological tool
with children applies equally to our furry friends: discourage bad
behavior and encourage/reward desirable behavior. Consistency and
repetition are the key words and are crucial to any re-training
program, and you must use your discouragement tools at the time of
the crime. If you delay even a few minutes, your cat will not
understand why he is being rebuked and the lesson will have been
lost. And never, never use physical punishment like hitting or
shaking your cat. That only teaches him that you are a bigger
bully, and can lead to even worse behavior on his part in the
Here are a few positive tips to
Trim Tiger's claws
This will not discourage him from
clawing furniture, but will render his weapons a little less
deadly. It's really very easy to do yourself, but if you're simply
not up to the job, your veterinarian will do it for a minimal fee.
Buy or build a scratching post or
Your cat should have at least one
post that's tall enough for a full vertical scratch, sturdy enough
to not topple over when he puts his full weight on it, and covered
with a nice rough material like sisal. A plush carpet post will
probably not interest kitty. If you have any carpentry skills, you
can build a decent post with a 4"x4" post secured to a 16" wide
(or more) sturdy base. Wrap the post with sisal or leave it bare,
or try both ways, for variety. Feel free to expand upon this basic
design and get creative. Play with your cat near the post and put
a little catnip on the post to make it more appealing. Pretend
you're a cat and scratch the post yourself; before you know it,
kitty might join you. Put scratching posts in places where your
cat is likely to scratch: near where he sleeps and around exits
and entries to rooms and the house.
Discourage undesirable behavior
Use the "pennies in a can" trick.
The instant you see kitty scratching the sofa, shake the can a
few times. They hate the racket and will usually stop.
Spray the area around your cat's
favorite scratching area with citrus-scented spray. (Test fabric
in an inconspicuous area first.)
Lay a few sheets of aluminum foil
over sofa arms and sides. Cats will usually avoid the area.
Try putting wide double-sided
tape over his favorite scratching surface. Cats dislike the
sticky feeling, and will avoid the area.
Buy a small plant mister spray
bottle and fill it with water. When you catch your cat in the
act, give him a spray with the bottle. Don't drench him; a quick
spray will suffice.
Reward good behavior (this is
Praise your cat profusely and give
him one of his favorite treats when he uses his scratching post.
His fertile little mind will soon associate loving hugs and tasty
treats with good behavior.