“How To Get Your Cat To Do What You Want” by TJ Chisholm

Ha! Ha! Gotcha! It can’t be done. But I did get your attention, right?

Tuxedo Junior – aka “TJ”

The truth is, we can be pretty agreeable, so long as we think it’s our idea. After reading dad’s last blog article about declawing, I couldn’t sleep. I had nightmares about Thelma in a surgical gown sneaking up on me with a scalpel blade. After a cup of catnip tea, I could see more clearly and realized that the best way to conquer my fear was to meet it head on. So today I’m talking about us keeping our claws AND you keeping your furniture happy.

Give me a low five!

Let’s talk scratching posts…humanity’s greatest invention. I checked online and there’s a smorgasbord of designs out there. The most common surfaces are carpet, corrugated cardboard, sisal or a combination of these. They come upright, flat or in-between. There are cardboard houses, cardboard spaceships ( one of my personal favs ), cardboard surfers, and the classic figure eight, which can handle several cats at a time and is a good place to sleep too.

Now THIS is what I’m talking about!

Cat trees and posts are very popular. We can climb, scratch and catnap all with the same toy. Very economical. Crowd-pleasing. Designs with hidey-holes are especially fun! If you have more than one cat, we can have pyjama parties and stay up late telling dog jokes. ( Did you hear the one about the smart dog? NO, me neither!” Ha! Ha! Ha! No offense…I like dogs. But, well, you know…they eat poop. ) And don’t give up if we don’t like the first scratcher you get….you may not like that gaudy purple dress with the sequins from Aunt Vivian either. We all have individual preferences when it comes to texture and style. It would be fun if you play with us on the tree too and encourage us to use it 🙂

Me and Louise on our cat tree. Please excuse the toilet paper roll!

Get cat trees or scratching posts made out of double-looped berber if you can. Regular carpet tends to get stringy. We love it, but you humans might consider it unsightly.

Make sure whatever scratcher you get is long enough, tall enough, and stable enough for us to stretch out full length. And, you can also make a scratcher for us instead of buying one. There are artsy ones made out of driftwood and carpeted sleeping shelves. Or, if you like a more working class kind of cat tree, use an old stepladder, make some shelves and hang some fun toys.

Here’s a great video of me with my friend Suzy playing on my cat condo:

Now, let’s talk real estate…. “Location, Location, Location”. This is a bit of trial and error. If we like the location, we’ll use the scratcher. If you put it down in the basement by the litterbox, good luck. No cat in their right mind wants to hang around down there long enough to scratch out a message or shed a few layers of claw. But we do like to look out windows and watch what the neighbours are doing….like that little pipsqueak chihuahua, Alfred. He lives up the street but likes to come down to pee in our yard. A window is like TV for cats so that is always a good place to put a scratcher. While you’re at it, add some catnip.

Remember also to keep our nails trimmed as needed with a special pair of cat toenail scissors to reduce damage to furniture. ( Did I mention we especially like expensive furniture? ) Trimming also prevents toenails curling around and growing into our pads. Most of us are pretty reasonable when it comes to nail trims although there are a few psychos out there. It does help if one person holds us and whispers sweet nothings (or has a very firm grip) while the other person does the actual trimming. Just press gently down on a toe and out pops the nail for you to trim. NEVER, EVER cut into the pink part! That really hurts. Here’s a great video showing how to trim our nails:

While we’re on the topic, you can also get something called Soft Paws to protect your furniture. These are little vinyl caps that go over the nails and are held in place with adhesive. They last about 4-6 weeks before they need to be replaced. And if you don’t mind the look of it, you can put strips of double-sided tape on your furniture to stop us from scatching. We don’t like to get that stuff on our paws and after awhile we’ll learn to leave your sofa alone. Then you can remove it and…voila!

So, that’s it for me. I’m going to get a good night’s sleep tonight >^..^<

Love and hugs to all,

Published by Hugh Chisholm

I'm a retired veterinarian with a passion for outdoor photography. And cats.

2 thoughts on ““How To Get Your Cat To Do What You Want” by TJ Chisholm

  1. Thanks for the tips, TJ!
    Now if only you could come and have a friendly chat with my Tuxedo Socrates about his less than desirable behaviours……..


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