A Companion Animal Care Article from

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Debra L. Stitt © (and "Chance," the miracle cat)

I'm a kitty and I love my claws. I use them like you use your fingers. And, yes, I love to scratch but it's not my intent to hurt you or anything in the house; it's my way of defending myself, exercising and showing you how much pleasure I'm experiencing. I don't ask for much as I'm very easy to please when it comes to scratching. As a matter of fact, the furniture and carpeting are really not high on my list of favorable choices. If you give me what I need, I promise I’ll work with you on this and be a very good, and happy, kitty.

The things I love to scratch most are:

  • Rough rope like sisal
  • Soft wood-type items like bare tree limbs / trunks (pet stores carry these items
  • Sisal and / or wood on something that allows me to really stretch out

Boy, these things feel soooooo good. I can really dig in -- much more than with fabric or carpeting. Give me something like this and watch the look on my face as I am consumed in the pure pleasure of scratching. Can we say "kitty love eyes?" Also watch my back as this is a way for me to exercise those muscles -- you will see them ripple! I can't exercise them if you take my claws away from me.

I tend to do most of my scratching at certain times, as follows:

  • Right after I wake up
  • After you wake up
  • Before or after I eat
  • When you come home after being away

Now here's the real key. If you put my scratchers near these locations, we're golden. Please place them conveniently as follows:

  • Near my most favorite resting places
  • Near where you sleep
  • Near where I eat
  • By the door you use when you come home

There are all kinds of shapes and sizes of my favorite scratching posts / pads. My mom gets me a variety since my interests change from time to time. I like the ones that lay flat on the floor, the posts that are about 3' tall and then my ultimate, and all-time favorite, "tower of power" with all kinds of things to stimulate me including sisal scratching posts, carpeted tubes and shelves, etc.

Of course, I will require a little bit of training but it’s not that bad. I really, really do prefer the items I’ve talked about here. You get me hooked (no pun intended) on these, and you’ll never have to worry about your furniture.

If you read the other article about “Integration,” you can use that as a way of getting me acclimated to “doing the right thing.” I’m pretty smart and it won’t take me long at all to learn. I promise!

With all of this in mind, you will need to help me out a bit with my manicures. I may fuss a bit at first, but if you make it a pleasant experience by not yelling at me or scolding me too much during the process, I will get used to it. Give me my manicures every few weeks and make sure you use the appropriate tools that you can get from my doctor!

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