We generally associate chewed-up furnishings and general mayhem with mischievous or anxious dogs, but cats can do their fair share of damage too.
Cats can use their claws to scratch and shred furniture, stereo speakers, doorways, cabinets, clothes...you name it. Claw-scratching not only helps cats to shed their claw sheaths, but also helps leaves a visible and chemical (scent) marker that defines their territory. Some cats will also chew certain materials such as leather, fabric and cardboard.
To stop cats ripping their way through your cushions, provide satisfying alternatives for them to claw. Try fabric or carpet, bark-covered logs, softwood remnants or sisal fibre. Try out various locations, experimenting with both vertical and horizontal scratching posts. And until your pet discovers these satisfying new options, cover the areas you don't want damaged with smooth plastic.
To prevent your cat from chewing or ingesting cardboard, ribbons, telephone cords, fabrics, sewing thread, needles and other irresistible items, keep them all out of reach.
In some cases, your cat may be showing a form of compulsive disorder. If you are worried that your cat is a little bit too destructive, contact your vet.
The information contained in this article is not a substitute for individual veterinary or behavioural advice and is for information purposes only. You should always consult a veterinary surgeon if you have any concerns about your pet’s health. He or she will be able to take a complete medical history and physically examine your pet, to then recommend appropriate individual advice or treatment options. For detailed behavioural advice tailored specifically for your pet, we recommend that you contact a qualified pet behaviourist. For further details of local canine and feline behaviourists practising in your area and how they offer help for with problem pets, please contact The Coape Association of Pet Behaviourists and Trainers at www.capbt.org, or the Association of Pet Dog Trainers at www.apdt.co.uk. Do bear in mind that while dog trainers can take you on as a client directly, pet behaviourists will always require a referral from your veterinary surgeon