Tonawanda News

Features

November 7, 2012

CRITTER COMPANIONS: Answers to some questions about your pets

Tonawanda News — This week’s column aims to answer some of the popular questions I have received. If you have a critter companion question, you can visit us on Facebook and it may be answered in this spot next month.

QUESTION: How do I get my cat to stop scratching on the furniture? Tracie D., Niagara Falls

ANSWER: I can understand if both your furniture and your nerves are shredded. I would strongly advise against declawing your cat. Scratching is a natural behavior in cats and can’t be stopped. So our advice is redirection. I just moved from a wood-floor house to a carpeted apartment. This made me a little nervous about my two cats and their claws.

Cats scratch for a few reasons, some of which include exercise, scenting and pleasure. To redirect your cat you will need to invest in something they can scratch like a scratching post. 

The best posts are ones where the cats can stretch out fully. Scratching posts that are short and unsteady almost never work. I found one on sale for about $75. It is almost 4 feet tall and has poles wrapped with both sisal rope and a carpet material. My cats took to it immediately. 

Another substrate is a condensed cardboard pad with a honeycomb design in it. I didn’t buy into it at first, but my one cat really likes shredding it. As they are in the process of scratching, I jump off the couch and place a treat where they were scratching to help solidify the thought “If I scratch here, I get treats.”

To help minimize the effect of scratching mistakes and general health I also clip my cats’ front nails on a regular basis.

•••

Q: I have a 2-year-old love bird, named Honey, and would like to adopt a bird as a companion for her. How should I introduce them? Barbara F., Lockport

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