Wednesday, November 15, 2017

How I Keep My Cats from Scratching the Crap Out of My Furniture

Ha ha, I don’t. I took my new kitten to the vet for his final round of booster shots the other day and the vet asked, with visible trepidation, “Are you thinking about declawing?”

I explained that I don’t believe in declawing and she sagged with relief. “Good,” she said, and smiled. “I don’t believe in it either.”

I’ve discussed this before, but it bears repeating: Declawing a cat is form of torture. When you get a cat declawed, they just chop off its toes halfway. It’s as if someone chopped off your fingers in between the first and second knuckle. And they don’t carefully remove them at the joint, either. They use a guillotine clipper, which is a surgical tool that operates like a cigar cutter, and they just chop the toes off. It causes all kinds of physical problems for the cat, like risk of infection and crippling arthritis, and psychological problems, too, because it leaves the cat unable to defend itself.

But anyway, I digress. Jim and I got a new couch recently, after our old couch collapsed during a party. The cats have already scratched the sh*t out of a two-seater Lazy Boy that was left in the house by a previous owner. I still keep it half out of a need for auxiliary seating and half because I keep hoping that the cats will focus their furious destructive energy on it instead of on the good furniture that I actually paid money for.

I mean, I also bought a giant cat tree for the cats. 

This freaking cat tree is as tall as I am, and I’m fairly tall for a woman. It’s bigger than some apartments I’ve had, and it incorporates no fewer than ten scratching posts. Now, it’s possible to train cats to scratch only specific things. When I only had Fatty, I had him trained pretty well, but then I got Max and he’s stubborn. No matter how many times I tell him “NO!” and squirt him with the water bottle, he just keeps doing what he wants to do. I’m 79% sure he’s pretending to be stupider than he is so I’ll let him get away with walking on the counters. He’s stubborn about that, too.

This beautiful douche.

The problem with that is that Fatty immediately decided, “Hey, if he gets to do whatever, I’m going to do whatever, too!” So now we’re back to the ripped and shredded square one.

I’ve tried putting cat repellent on Jim’s recliner, but the beautiful, stubborn douche still scratches it. After we got the couch, I bought some of these cat scratch guards to put on it:

I’ve been pondering them for years, but I’ve always been skeptical. They’re just strips of plastic that you pin to the corners of your sofa, chair, or ottoman, and they’re supposed to deter scratching. I always thought they’d just scratch the whole rest of the couch, instead. But neither Jim nor I wanted the new couch scratched up. It cost us $300, and we paid an extra $100 to have it delivered and the old couch taken away. We bought it at Big Lots, and they don’t deliver, but they gave us the number of a guy with a pickup truck, which is every big as questionable as it sounds. When I first agreed to the price, I thought I was getting ripped off, but that was before the dude and his two helpers spent the better part of an hour shoving it through my narrow, narrow doorway. They had to take the doors off, and one of the guys had to lie down on my stairwell in order to guide the couch up the stairs as the other two guys shoved from outside with all their might. It was worth $100, is what I’m saying.

Anyway, I digress. Jim and I didn’t want the cats scratching the new couch, so I ordered the cat scratch guards on Amazon right away. They came in a giant box with lots of padding, just in case the thin strips of flexible plastic might get broken in the mail.

“If the cats scratch up this couch…” Jim began, while I was showing him the cat scratch guards.

“I’m not getting them declawed,” I interrupted him, even though we'd already had this conversation.

“…then we’ll just have to buy secondhand couches from now on,” he continued.

But I’m happy to report that I applied the cat scratch guards to my couch over a week ago, and so far, they seem to be working. Even the beautiful douche hasn’t scratched the couch, which is just as well, because my next step is to fit him with Soft Paws, since he’s clearly the problem.

Then he'll look dainty, like this fellow.
~ Image by Myllissa on Wikimedia Commons