You can best prevent destructive chewing and investigation by providing an environment that meets your cat’s needs.

Cat-proof your home by building a play center where your cat can climb, perch, and scratch. Provide a few toys your cat can bat around, such as spring-mounted, dangling, or bouncy toys. Indoor cats with little access to grass or other vegetable matter may chew house plants. Offer them lettuce, catnip, or a kitty herb garden in exchange.

To keep your cat away from problem areas, first try child locks, barricades, or closed doors. For persistent problems or areas that cannot be barricaded, use remote punishment, taste and odor aversion, or booby traps as deterrents. Never use physical punishment ? it may cause your cat to fear you and to stay away from the problem area only when you are around.

Scratching is a normal behavior that allows your cat to condition its claws as it marks its territory. It also provides an opportunity for a nice stretch.

To prevent destructive scratching, keep your cat away from tempting areas, trim its nails regularly, and provide a proper scratching post. Encourage your cat to use a scratching post by placing one near its favorite sleeping area and perhaps a second post in a prominent area.

If your cat continues to scratch in an inappropriate area, put a post in there. Food rewards will help keep your cat interested in the post and away from your furniture. If scratching persists, cover the scratched surface with plastic or short strips of double-sided tape. Another option is to use plastic coverings that fit over your cat’s nails. These are available from your veterinarian.

If you have sincerely tried to solve the problem but still encounter destructive scratching, declawing may be a final consideration. It is certainly a better alternative than banning the cat outdoors or taking it to an animal shelter. In numerous studies, declawing has been shown not to have detrimental effects on a cat’s behavior or personality.
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Anita Hampton http://www.eliminatecatodour.com

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