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Positive Cat Parenting™

by Rolan Tripp, DVM and Susan Tripp, MS

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Destructive Clawing
Scratching and Declawing






Famous Quote

Cats are intended to teach us that not everything in nature has a purpose.

- Garrison Keillor

Scratch Buster Strips

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Destruction - Averting the feline wrecking crew

What is it?


When cats are given freedom to roam the house before they know right from wrong, household destruction is to be expected. After all, the cat does not know how much you paid for the indoor climbing things or rug. You must teach your cat how to exercise natural, normal feline behaviors in the household by teaching what is right before you can expect that cat to avoid what it wrong.

Keep saying to yourself, "If this is wrong, then what is right?".


Desirable scratching areas

Provide your cat with multiple areas to claw and stretch. After all, variety is the spice of life for our pets as well as for us.  Place multiple scratching posts of different sizes and materials around the house. Make sure you these posts are tall enough for the adult cat to really reach and stretch.  Many posts are too short. Also provide vertical and horizontal scratching surfaces.  your cat will likely develop scratching surface preference.  Rope, bark, wood, and carpet are all acceptable materials. 

Encourage appropriate clawing

Clawing helps cats release excess energy, mark territory, and stretch. Similarly, people exercise, bite their nails, or twirl their hair.  Each time you see your cat act interested in the scratching post, praise that good behavior.  With a soothing, purring-like voice say "Gooood Kitty".  You can help spark your cat's interest in scratching the right things by showing interest and scratching them yourself. You can also help jump start your cat's scratching by gently lifting and positioning your cat's paws up and then down the surface of the post.  If your cat is interested in catnip, apply it to the top and sides of the post.
Discourage inappropriate clawing

You can steer your cat away from scratching inappropriate items with bitter taste deterrents and aversive techniques. Let's say you catch your cat clawing on the couch.  Interrupt the behavior with a loud noise that is, preferably, not associated with you.  For example, toss a set of keys in that direction. Now, immediately redirect  the behavior by moving your cat to an approved scratching area.  Reward that behavior!  You want your cat to think, "that couch does scary things, so I think I'll scratch here instead."  As your cat begins to associate you with all things that are good in the world, the inappropriate behaviors begin to extinguish themselves. 

The overall strategy is to supervise the cat as he or she explores the home.  Praise the all behaviors you do want to continue. Interrupt any behavior you do NOT want.


"Helping you raise a fabulous feline friend for life."

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