Those of us who are cat lovers know that our love of felines comes with a little frustration at times. One such time occurs when our kitties employ their claws to acts of destruction on your carpet or furniture.
We have all tried to train our cats to stop scratching the backs of our couches; many of us have experienced this is not a simple matter to correct. While some people resort to yelling or shooting water at their cat's nose, there is a much more effective way to correct this issue.
If you've taken basic psychology, you'll remember there are two types of reinforcement, positive and negative. Employ both reinforcement tactics to training your cat and you'll be through the woods before you know it.
Negative Reinforcement – The idea behind negative reinforcement is to take something away to impact behavior. When it comes to your cat scratching in areas you don't want destroyed, you want to provide motivation for your cat to stop scratching.
One of the most effective ways of providing this motivation is through a product called Sticky Paws (available or your favorite pet supply retailer). To use this product, place the tape on the areas your cat has been scratching.
Positive Reinforcement – Once you use the Sticky Paws, the next step is to provide the place where you want your cat to scratch. This can be as easy providing a scratch post, either large or small. These posts come in two varieties, cardboard and carpet, and either will do the trick.
Beyond just supplying the scratch post, you need to attract your cat to the post. A very easy way to develop this attraction is to spray the post with some Catnip Spray (Whiskercity makes one cats love). This can make for a playful transition from an undesired scratch area to a more appropriate one.
Old habits die hard – More so for us, the human, than for our cats sometimes. If you've been caught yelling at your kitty, this can be a difficult habit to break. You may have become accustomed to hollering every time you hear your cat scratching. When you put both the Sticky Paws as well as new scratch post in place, you'll want to become very intentional about checking where you kitty is scratching before open your internal megaphone.
Keep in mind all three of these areas. If you provide either the negative or positive reinforcement, you will be ineffective. To be successful you really need both. Likewise, if you continue to holler at your cat when they start scratching at your preferred scratch post, you'll prevent them from forming the habit of scratching at the right spot.