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Positive Cat Parenting™

by Rolan Tripp, DVM and Susan Tripp, MS

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Destructive Clawing






Scratch Buster Strips

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An Ounce of Prevention - Cat Proof Your Home 

Why do cats destroy household items?

Normal cat curiosity leads cats to find and explore household objects with their mouths and claws.
Curiosity, hunger, and seeking safety are all natural instincts that drive exploration.

Why cat proof?

Swallowing non-food items can lead to emergency surgery.
Unwanted cat climbing and exploration can lead to household destruction. Cats need outlets for active minds and meet their basic needs to scratch, claw and climb.

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 and redirect to a wanted behavior.

What to do

When your cat is introduced to your home,
supervise teachable moments. Interrupt behaviors to prevent bad habits such as clawing furniture or climbing drapes.

Praise and offer food treats for behaviors you do want such as using cat scratching posts, climbing trees and cat toys. As your cat explores, think
, "If this is wrong, what is right?" Then redirect your cat to what's right and praise that!

  • Make sure your home is completely cat proofed. Remove strings, pins, and other small objects that may be accidentally ingested during play.
  • Provide cat climbing and scratching posts and use praise and treats to teach and reinforce good habits
  • Secure windows, screens and doors. Cats love to dash out open doors. Window screens may fall out with a rambunctious cat bouncing off them in wild play.
  • Keep household cleaners and antifreeze safely locked up or out of reach.
  • Remove houseplants - many are poisonous. Besides that, potting soil may be more attractive than the litter box.
  • Keep dryer door and toilet seats closed. Curious cats can bake in dryers and drown in a toilets.
  • Watch out for a hidden cat under the rocking chair and recliner.

What if I don't want to cat-proof my home?

Block access to furniture that may be scratched or that you want to protect from cat fur. Make the furniture unattractive to the cat by covering it with saran wrap or tin foil when you are not there to supervise. Keep your cat in one safe room or keep doors closed in rooms you don't want your cat to access. Keep your cat confined to a cat condo or playpen.

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