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Old 12-26-2013, 02:59 PM
 
455 posts, read 735,777 times
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Not sure if this has been asked before, but I'm certain many people here have gone through this.

My poor couch is being eviscerated every day by two sets of extremely sharp cat claws. They do it when I'm at work, because they know they can get away with it that way. I often imagine them waiting until I leave, then spending hours just clawing away at it. Maybe one cat keeps watch for my car in the window, while the other one scratches, then they swap. This must go on for hours, judging by the damage and the sharpness of their talons.

We have tried to clip them, but they will not have it. My sister (who owns these ferocious, vindictive beasts) has tried the little nail covers you glue on, but they gnaw them off within a day. I have heard about sprays, but I'm unsure about their effectiveness. These two cats would likely brave sentient, robot vacuum cleaners vacuuming at excessive decibel levels in order to get a chance to claw the couch, so I don't know if a scent is going to be of much offense to them.

Is there a solution?
I wouldn't think of mandating a de-clawing. I don't think any animal would deserve that. Perhaps a very thick comforter or six would do the job?
We have a scratch post. They never touch the thing.

What are your effective solutions to guarding the flesh of your furniture from these destructive attacks?
Thanks.
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Old 12-26-2013, 03:49 PM
 
Location: Colorado
9,895 posts, read 6,340,959 times
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Personally, I don't bother. I have an ugly (but incredibly comfortable) old sofa, which I bought a beautiful microfiber couch cover throw thing for, it really covers the entire ugly surface, but when my cat goes to scratch on it, he slinks up under the hanging cover in the back and claws away. He does what he wants and no one has to look at it. That's MY solution. I love how stress free it is.

Other solutions I've often heard about:
- Scratching posts and such.
- Scents such as bitter apple or citrus which don't offend human noses, but really do bug cats. Trust me, a HUGE part of the sofa scratching is the marking of territory with the scent from kitty paws. It's a serious instinctive need cats have, so you'll never stop them from needing to do it entirely, but if they go to mark and instead of putting delightful paw-scent on the sofa, they get icky horrid stinky citrus on their paws...
- There are 2-sided tapes you can put on like the corners where they scratch. Sounds ugly to me.
- Feliway diffusers supposedly work well for calming cats down, one of the driving motivators in the instinct to scratch is stress. The more the place smells like the cat, and is covered in the cat's own marks, the more the cat knows it is safe, and the more calm is the cat. Feliway is a plug in that generates the scent from a cat's facial glands (like when they nuzzle against objects or people) and in theory helps with all sorts of stressed-cat problem behaviors. I haven't tried it personally, so don't know how well it works. I think the big box pet stores have it, and I know Amazon does.

Good luck!
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Old 12-26-2013, 04:43 PM
 
5,891 posts, read 11,819,554 times
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Quote:
We have a scratch post. They never touch the thing.
What kind of scratching post do you have? Many cats require something a bit more substantial than those little things that look like a finger poking up out of a base. If you have one of those I suggest you turn it on it's side, it may create more interest.

The cats need more things to scratch on. Do they have a cat tree? Does anyone ever play with them? They may be bored.

I suggest you add a variety of scratching surfaces for them. Tall sturdy posts of sisal, curved scratchers, cardboard scratchers (they come in curved, flat or slanted, offer one of each!)

They should also have some kind of tower or cat tree for jumping and climbing on. Cats need to climb and jump and be up high, do they have anything like that?

So here is what I would do. I would cover the areas of the couch they are scratching on with terrycloth toweling. Cats don't like to scratch on terry cloth. Pin it tight, so they can't get under it.

Provide a variety of made-for cat scratchers as described above. Give them time to get used to them and use them.

Provide elevated spaces for both of them. This can be a high book shelf cleared off, shelves affixed to the wall, a cat tree, or something of your own design. My cats have a tower (a tall book case) that they access by a series of steps (graduated height book cases) They also have a tower I created out of one of those 4 tier plastic utility shelf sets you can get cheap at any walmart type store. (it is anchored to the wall). There are other pieces of furniture that are cleared on top for their enjoyment also.

Be sure they get at least two interactive play sessions daily, to burn off energy and dispel boredom. The more a cat is played with by the humans, the more mental stimulation the cat gets, the more he will find ways to amuse himself at other times.

What kind of interactive toys do they have? Do you need ideas on Games to play with them?

Provide a cardboard box for a box fort. A paper bag makes a good fort too (cut off any handles).

Okay, this is getting a bit long. Feel free to pick through it and ask for any clarification you need. I have three cats and looking around from my desk I can see 9 different scratchers for the cats. None of my furniture is scratched.
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Old 12-27-2013, 09:29 AM
 
455 posts, read 735,777 times
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Thanks, Catsmom.

To answer a few of your questions, they do have a lot of elevated surfaces just naturally around the place, however, only the older boy cat really does anything with them. The only place I don't allow him is on the counters and kitchen table. Everything else is fair game. The girl kitten generally never goes higher than the windowsill or the couch, but I think that's just a function of how small she is. She does always perch on the couch, though, and she likes to run across it when they're chasing each other. I think she's already addicted to the couch. It's basically like a cat fort, because behind it there's a tunnel between the back bottom portion of the back rest and the wall, and then two perch locations, one being the very top of the back rest, and the seat. Then there are the throw pillows she hides in. I can see its appeal, and I don't know how a legit cat fort is going to measure up, but it's worth a shot!

As far as exercise, after they get their soft cat food in the evening, they get wild hairs up their butts and tear through the apartment (which is carpeted) for like 20 minutes straight, so they're getting exercise at least when I'm home. They play fight each other all the time, so I assume this happens when I'm away as well. I used to play a lot with the boy one when I had time, but then the girl one was adopted and now he's not really interested in regular games with me except for just laying on his back spread eagle while getting his belly patted.

As for toys, the boy cat doesn't really play with them anymore. He's a bit older now, and prefers to just play fight the kitten because it moves and plays back. The kitten does, though. Constantly. I have to hide all the toys that make noise before I go to bed, otherwise I wouldn't be able to sleep.

Anyway, I think I might invest in one of those carpeted multi-level cat forts with scratch posts and other things on it and see how that goes.
Thanks for the ideas!
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Old 12-27-2013, 09:50 AM
 
Location: FL
1,117 posts, read 1,616,420 times
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Soup sounds like you're invested in those kitties, how nice since you say they belong to your sister =) Double sided tape might work, cats don't like how it feels. I used packing tape as a table cloth on my table to train my cat to stay off when he was a kitten now all my cats know where they can and can't go. They have their own microwave cart as their food station, keeps the dogs away =) But they stay off the counters and the table.
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Old 12-27-2013, 11:03 AM
 
455 posts, read 735,777 times
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Yea, Orion, they grow on me. I was raised around many cats, so I have a natural affection for them.
Once I got over the sheer amount of fur coming off the boy one (he's a Maine Coon) and investing in bulk supplies of lint rollers, he's not so bad to like. The newer kitten is afraid of me, so there isn't any real connection there, but she's good for the boy because he grew up around other cats so he needs that.

As for the counter tops, I almost have him trained to not go up there, at least when I'm around. If he forgets I'm around and I catch him up there, I just do a "tsss!" sound and he jumps down. Not sure how I'll deal with the kitten when she gets big enough. The tape idea might come in handy! For both of them.
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Old 12-27-2013, 11:06 AM
 
Location: SW Missouri
15,575 posts, read 29,334,385 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Soup Sandwich View Post
Not sure if this has been asked before, but I'm certain many people here have gone through this.

My poor couch is being eviscerated every day by two sets of extremely sharp cat claws. They do it when I'm at work, because they know they can get away with it that way. I often imagine them waiting until I leave, then spending hours just clawing away at it. Maybe one cat keeps watch for my car in the window, while the other one scratches, then they swap. This must go on for hours, judging by the damage and the sharpness of their talons.

We have tried to clip them, but they will not have it. My sister (who owns these ferocious, vindictive beasts) has tried the little nail covers you glue on, but they gnaw them off within a day. I have heard about sprays, but I'm unsure about their effectiveness. These two cats would likely brave sentient, robot vacuum cleaners vacuuming at excessive decibel levels in order to get a chance to claw the couch, so I don't know if a scent is going to be of much offense to them.

Is there a solution?
I wouldn't think of mandating a de-clawing. I don't think any animal would deserve that. Perhaps a very thick comforter or six would do the job?
We have a scratch post. They never touch the thing.

What are your effective solutions to guarding the flesh of your furniture from these destructive attacks?
Thanks.
After living 28 years with a sofa that I purchased for $130, we decided to get a new one last year. To save it from the claws of my three kitties we put heavy blankets and sheets over it and make sure they are tucked in all around so that the kitties cannot get up UNDER to sharpen their claws. SO far it has acted as a reasonable deterrent. That, however has not helped the door frame where they just love to reach waaaaaaaaay up and scratch. Oh well. Door frames can be sanded and painted and replaced, if necessary.

20yrsinBranson
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Old 12-27-2013, 11:18 AM
 
Location: Des Moines Metro
4,984 posts, read 5,495,932 times
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I decided that one can either have animals or nice furniture. I'd rather have animals.

I've used the "cover the couch with thick blankets" trick. It works. Better is to find some sort of wooden frame couch with removeable cushions that can be swapped out every few years. These are easier to find if you have an Amish settlement nearby. The cats will generally leave the wood alone and puppies can be discouraged from chewing on it with applications of "bitter apple," available in pet stores and online.

One friend who rescues cats swapped the sofa for two elderly recliners, which she keeps covered in blankets that are refreshed with "bitter apple" spray on occasion. The rest of her furniture is metal and glass.
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Old 12-27-2013, 11:41 AM
 
Location: Colorado
9,895 posts, read 6,340,959 times
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Here's the couch I covered up, it's one of those really comfy but ugly things. Still, I like to think I've made the best of it:



When we bought this house, I was very tempted to buy fancy new furniture (this was before I'd made up my mind to get a cat.) It wasn't long after we rescued Nimbus that I was really, REALLY glad I'd stayed with the old stuff. Besides which, it's a peeve I've got with American society and my own life that in contrast to my Grandparents' generation that mended and kept things and made them last, people in my day and age just dispose of stuff and replace it too much, which is irresponsible on a lot of levels....so this was also a way for me to feel good about being thrifty.
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Old 12-28-2013, 12:12 PM
Status: "Even better than okay" (set 24 days ago)
 
Location: Coastal New Jersey
51,558 posts, read 50,819,831 times
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A couple of mine like to scratch this one spot that's at the back corner of the couch. They worn a medium-size hole through now. And yes, they have other things to scratch, they just like to do that spot on the couch.

I don't really care. On the rare occasion that someone might see it, an afghan draped over the corner hides it nicely.
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