Pet Q&A: How to dissuade cat from clawing couch

NewsdayMarch 22, 2013 

Q: How do I get my cats to stop scratching my leather furniture? They use their scratching post as well. I have sprayed the furniture with anti-scratch spray and put aluminum foil on, but the scratching continues. The new furniture already has claw holes.

A: You are doing everything correctly in rendering the new furniture unattractive to the cats. The only thing I would add is some strips of double-sided tape in the area where they are scratching, in addition to the foil.

You have to remember that cats act in the moment. So you need to have the post right there next to the couch for a while so that using the post rather than the furniture becomes second nature.

When it is finally a habit for the cat to only use the post rather than the deterrent-laden couch, you gradually can start to move the post away. When you see the cat no longer using the couch, remove the deterrents.

Q: My daughter had two cats (one female, one male, both fixed). She had to put the female to sleep because of cancer. Since then, the male cat meows incessantly. How can she get him to stop?

A: All life forms on planet Earth deal with grief differently.

Some animals could care less when a companion is lost, and others, like your daughter's, feel the loss a great deal. There are scientists who would say the cat misses its previous routine and does not miss its companion at all, but, of course, we petkeepers know otherwise.

Time heals all wounds, so in time the cat will grow used to things and settle down. A lot of the problem is the boredom a lot of indoor cats face these days.

Getting another cat or dog into the house would help, not so much that the new pet could replace the previous one, but the new excitement and break in routine would get the cat's mind off its current issues.

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