Tips to Stop Your Cat from Scratching You
19 February, 2013

As many cat owners know, our favorite felines love to scratch everything around the house and sometimes even you!  Since declawing is not an option, this scratching not only hurts your furniture, but can be extra painful when you or your friends are the target.  Every cat owner has been a victim at some time or another of their own cat’s sharp claws!  However, with time and patience, you can train a cat not to scratch you.

Below are some tips to help prevent your cat from scratching you.

Try to anticipate when your cat usually scratches you

Many cat owners know how to read cues that your cat is about to do something and scratching you is the same thing.  If you are petting or playing with your kitty, watch for signs like dilated pupils, skin rippling, or ceasing to purr. If your cat is staring at you and has their ears pointed backward or twitching, you should stop and give the cat some space (run for the hills!).

Maybe your cat likes to scratch you just when you walk in the house as a hello or as a wake-up greeting in the morning.  Whatever the case, if you know this is going to happen, you can encourage your cat to scratch something else, but not you.  (If you are in bed, put a pillow next to you or a toy that you would like your cat to scratch).


Provide your cat with other toys or places to scratch

The best tactic when dealing with scratching is not to try to stop your cat from scratching (they don’t respond well to this as scratching is a natural instinct and release), but instead to teach your cat what to scratch. Try to provide your cat with appropriate objects to scratch, such as scratching posts.

Buy fun toys that give your cat a release (which is sometimes why they scratch) and sprinkle catnip on them.  Try hanging toys or fishing rods on your cat’s posts and placing them in areas where your cats will want to climb and play.  And, as always, make sure to pet your cat and praise them when scratching their posts.  Cats respond very well to positive reinforcement.

Make sure to trim your cat’s nails regularly or put plastic caps on them

Make sure to clip your cat’s nails regularly.  While this is not an easy task, with time and practice, it can be done.  Make sure to trim your cats nails when they are sleepy and in a peaceful state of mind.  You can also see my article on “An Easy Guide for Clipping Your Cat’s Nails

You can also try putting plastic caps on your cat’s claws so that he or she won’t hurt you when scratching you or your furniture.  These special caps attach to your cat’s claws with an adhesive. They’re temporary, lasting four to six weeks so it’s best to really try a long term solution.

Other reasons your cat might scratch you

Your cat could be stressed

Your cat tends to pick up on varying emotions around the house and dislikes change. The best response to this is to restore calm and try to create a peaceful environment that will make your cat feel relaxed.  Turn down the television if it scares your kitty and make sure your kids or friends don’t yell around your cat.

Too much excitement and stimulation

Kittens are playful but sometimes they get too excited and transfer their playfulness into biting and scratching.  Again, the best way to divert your kitten’s attention is to provide him with his scratching post or a fun toy (instead of you!).

If none of the above seems to work with your cat, you should schedule an appointment with your veterinarian as there could be an underlying illness associated with the scratching.

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