Kitten Has a Bad Scratching Habit

CatChannel and CAT FANCY cat behaviorist Marilyn Krieger, CCBC, shares tips to redirect young cat scratching behavior.

By Marilyn Krieger, CCBC | Posted: July 15, 2011, 3 a.m. EDT

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Q: I know cats need to scratch and mark their territory. My 10-month-old kitten has a cat tree/scratching post that she uses, but this kitten still insists on jumping at all of the doorframes in my condo. She stands at an open door and jumps straight up several times. She is declawed, but has still managed to scratch the woodwork and wall about 24 to 30 inches above the floor with her back claws. How do I change her behavior?  
 
A: Young cats and kittens are naturally very active and need outlets for their energy. Giving your kitten high places to climb, interactive toys and many play sessions every day will help focus your kitten on more acceptable activities other than destroying the doorframes in your condo. Create vertical territory such as tall cat trees and high shelves, near the targeted doors, along with toys such as TurboScratchers and puzzle boxes to help keep your young cat focused away from the door frames.

Increasing the number of scratchers will also help divert your kitten’s attentions away from the doors. Even though your kitten is declawed, she needs more than one scratching post. Cats scratch for a variety of reasons including giving themselves manicures. In addition to marking territory, cats scratch when they are feeling playful, after a good nap and when they feel conflicted. Your kitten needs both cat scratching posts and horizontal scratchers located throughout the house, including next to the targeted doors.   

At the same time you provide your rambunctious young cat alternative activities to do and places to climb, block the doorframes so that they become uncomfortable places to jump on. Apply double-sided tape to the doorframes to deter your kitten; it doesn’t feel good on the paws. Your kitten will find it feels better and is more satisfying to jump on the tall furniture and shelves and to scratch the scratchers.

Adopting another kitten can also stop the behavior because the two kittens will keep each other entertained. If you are considering bringing another kitten into your house, instead of declawing the kitten, train your cat to not scratch the furniture.  

Read more articles by Marilyn Krieger here>>

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P    P, MD

7/31/2011 12:04:38 AM

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