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TRAINING
A NON-SURGICAL WAY TO SAVE THE FURNITURE

Scratching is a natural behavior of the cat, which makes it very difficult to modify. The usual goal is to transfer the cats scratching instinct to a scratching post; it is virtually impossible to control the desire to scratch completely. In general, this kind of training requires a great deal of time at home. The following are training tips:
Cats seem to prefer to scratch upholstery with a vertical drag to the fabric. Furniture can be upholstered in an unacceptable fabric and a scratching post can be wrapped in an appropriate fabric (rather than the usual carpet).
Furniture can be made unacceptable by using plastic or even aluminum foil to cover the target pieces. Spray-on antiperspirants can be sprayed on the furniture as a repellent.
A larger log or tree branch seems to be very attractive to some cats.
Treats or catnip can be used to attract the cat to the scratching post.

The cat can be punished for the furniture scratching attempts, but it is important that the cat not connect the punishment with the person administering it (other wise the cat will simply learn no to scratch while that person is watching). Yelling, spanking, or shaking a can with pennies in it, is too directly associated with the person rather than the act of scratching. A water squirt bottle is better, but only if the cat does not see where the squirt comes from. Booby traps can be set up using balloons. If mouse traps are used, it is vital that they can be turned upside down so that the cat cannot possibly catch a foot in the trap. Stacked traps can be set up so that they pop upward when tripped, making a surprising noise. In this way, punishment can still be carried out when the owner is not at home.

Many owners are not excited about putting mousetraps up against their living room furniture, upholstering in aluminum foil, or decorating sofas and chairs with balloons. It is easy to see why a surgical solution would be attractive.