Pet Psychic's suggestions for how to keep indoor cat and kittens happy, prevent indoor cats from scratching furniture and biting their owners.
Kitten Ollie loves using an old Amazon delivery box as a scratching post and playing with a Hello Kitty musical coin bank.
People often ask me as a pet psychic what they can do to keep their indoor cat happy, prevent their cats and kittens from scratching their furniture and, even, from clawing and biting their people. This is a big problem these days now that cats are often living indoors. I often tell my clients to think of themselves as pioneers. If you think about it, less than 75 years ago, most cats and kittens lived outside and spent most of their time hunting, hiding and worrying about survival issues. That included marking their territory so that other cats would know not steal available prey. The outdoor cats did not have much time to think about much else. However, now we humans are keeping cats indoors and meeting all of their nutritional needs. So today's indoor cats have a lot of free time available but, they still have very strong hunting and prey drive and marking urges. On top of that, these days we are often feeding our feline friends high protein, low carb foods. So, thanks to us, our cats have plenty of energy to go out and hunt, mark their territory. If you think about it in terms of evolution, just 75 years is a very short time in the many years that cats have been on earth. Modern day cat's problem solving skills are still geared toward living outside just like they did 75 years ago. So today's cat is still hunting and marking to ensure that each cat gets as much prey as possible and has as much territory as possible to hunt, except they are doing those behaviors indoors. That is why I refer to modern day cat and kitten owners as pioneers. We are keeping cats in a new situation (indoors) and evolutionary-wise, cats have not caught up to living indoors. Modern day cats are still the hunters and markers of territory they were 75 years ago.
So what can the modern day cat and kitten owner do to prevent the cat from following the cat's natural instincts to mark their territory? If you see your cat or kitten scratching your furniture, realize it for what it is, your cat is not trying to ruin your day, instead feel glad that your cat has strong survival instincts, but give him or her an alternative that actually meets his needs to mark territory.
First you must understand why most cats will scratch your furniture despite the fact that you provided a perfectly good cat scratching post. As a pet psychic, cats have shown me several reasons which I explain below.
1) Cats perceive your sofa/furniture as the "alpha's throne" or where the alpha (you the head of the household) sit. By scratching the "alpha's throne," the cat is aligning himself or herself with the alpha, thus making himself the cat king or queen of your house. Basically, it is your cat's effort to show other cats that they need to stay off your cat's territory.
2) Also, as you may have noticed, cats tend to lick and bite each other pretty often. Cats know that you get mad when they scratch you, so by scratching were your scent is located (usually the arm of your sofa) they are scratching you by proxy. Scratching your furniture serves as a way to belong to your family without getting in trouble for scratching your arm.
3) Cats in the wild like to scratch tree trunks which serves two functions. One function is to mark their smell up high for other cats to notice and the other is to sharpen their claws. If you think about most sofa arms, that is as close to marking a tree trunk as the modern indoor cat gets these days.
So what can you do to stop your cat from scratching you and your furniture and sofa?
Below are a list of suggestions. I will be adding more suggestions each week.
* Don't scold your cat. That only makes your cat think that he or she is not doing a good job of marking the territory and will cause your cat to do it more often.
* Provide a cat scratching post that is vertical and is higher than the cat's body height. Think about how your cat likes to scratch the arm of your sofa which is somewhat vertical like a tree trunk. Look for scratching poles and posts that would resemble a tree trunk in a your cat's mind.
* Location, location, location..... Remember that when your cat is scratching your furniture, he or she is trying to align himself or herself with you the alpha. So, if you want your cat to migrate to scratching the cat post, make sure that you place the post near where you sit. The best location would be next to your sofa or chair. Don't put the cat scratching post in an area that a cat would think is unimportant or that has a minor social status in your home, such as a guest bedroom or basement where no one visits. Remember, you want your cat to feel like he or she is satisfying his need to be important and show the world that he or she is the dominant cat. Placing your cat's scratching post in a prominent position is showing your cat you love and value their role in your family.
* If possible, remember to show your cat that the scratching post is where the alpha's sit. So you may want to rub your arm against the scratching post every other day or so. This will give your cat an incentive to also mark the cat scratching post.
I will be adding more suggestions in the future so feel free to bookmark this page.
Thanks for reading.
Please note, the information in this article may not be used or shared without permission of the author.