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Important - Read First
Whatever behavior your cat is doing that you want to deter, is natural to their species. If you simply cut off the access to scratching items, high spaces, etc. you will cause stress on your cat and other unwanted behaviors may begin. With cats it is very important to provide "this, not that" - which means if you deter them from something you have to provide them an outlet for that behavior somewhere else. For instance, if kitty is clawing your chair, he needs a tall scratching post next to that chair along with the carpet runner deterrent. If your cat is climbing on shelves or counters, you'll need to provide more vertical space in the form of tall cat trees, shelving, etc. while using the sofa scram or other deterrents. If you block a window to remove the threat of outside cats, you should leave the TV on for your cat. There are many YouTube cat TV channels here. You'll find many of these other items to use hand-in-hand with the deterrents on the Enrichment page.
Sponsored by Dallas Pets Alive, this webinar covers common cat destruction issues, including scratching/clawing furniture and carpet, eating plants, trash rummaging, and pica.
I've been searching for years for a great furniture protector product and finally found it! I wish I'd found it before my leather couch was torn to shreds. I tried the double-stick tape, only to have it peel off the top color layer of the sofa. Ug. THIS stuff though, not only sticks to leather AND thick/nubby fabrics, it also didn't damage my butter soft leather! I'm very impressed and recommend it if you want to protect furniture from cat claws.
Be sure you are providing adequate clawing places for your cat before you use a deterrent.
Carpet Runner Deterrent When a cat is scratching your furniture, counter surfing, or urinating outside the litter box, often an uncomfortable walking surface is a good deterrent. Deterrents don't work by themselves; you still need to get to the root of the behavior issue and give your cat proper outlets for the behavior. I recommend using a carpet runner, nubs up to deter a cat from walking on certain surfaces. Carpet runners are sold in hardware stores but often the nubs are too far apart. This one is recommended by a client.
When you are using the plastic carpet runner for scratching deterrent on furniture, simply poke holes in each corner and attach it to your upholstered furniture with these nifty screws.
Serious Points Mat
For outdoor use, or indoors for those felines who seem to have leather feet and will walk on the carpet runner points, here is the heavy duty option.
Curved Fencing System
This will keep your cats in the yard, or other cats out of your yard. It is versatile in the material it attaches to - chain link, wood, railing, etc. It is great to use on balconies to keep cats off railings.
Motion Activated Spray Can of Air - SSSCAT
When using noise deterrents it's important the cat doesn't associate the sound with you. This is why I don't advise yelling at your cat or shaking a can with coins in it - the cat knows it's YOU doing it and that will result in 2 things: the cat will become afraid/not trusting of you; it will erode your bond, and the cat knows he only gets punished when you're there, so he just does it when you're not home = ineffective!
Instead there are several remote activated devices to consider - this one uses a puff of air (it's the same contents as the canned air spray you use to clean off your keyboard. This is great to use for training counter surfing or keeping your cat from areas that are unsafe. Be sure to read the paragraph at the top though...you will need to replace the behavior with outlets that allow your cat to express themselves in natural ways; jumping up on high things is a natural behavior for cats.
Sonic Sound Mat
This mat works with a very high pitched, loud noise when the cat steps on it. I do not recommend using shock mats - and I really don't like using these but if it's the difference between keeping a cat and surrendering it, use it.
BUT it's important to remember, your cat is getting up onto your sofa, counter, etc. to either be higher or see something outside, so you need to provide him ample vertical space and lounging spots in front of a window for mental stimulation and entertainment. If you haven't already, read my opening comment at the top of this section.
Remote Noise Maker
It's important that you don't yell or shake coin cans at your cat - or squirt him with water. The cat will associate you as the deliverable of these punishments/deterrents, and it will begin to erode the bond you have with your cat; he will become fearful of you.
Instead, use a remote control noise maker. This one is used by a client who is deterring outside cats from taunting his cats through the window. It's also good to use when cats are fighting or scratching furniture. Remember to always have an attractant when you use a deterrent and reassure your cat after the noise happens - he will be afraid.
Use positive reinforcement to encourage your cat's good behaviors.
The only time I recommend you using the air horn is when you have cats that are having a terrible fight. NEVER try to break up a cat fight! You could become seriously injured in the process. PLEASE learn the difference between play aggression and fear/dominance aggression. Only use the air horn if I have specifically told you to do so in a behavior modification plan. Do not try this on your own or it could cause a divide between you and your cat and worsen your behavior issues.
Cat Introductions - Door Gap Step
It's not in a cat's nature to instantly accept a new feline friend. Going slow and following the introduction steps is very important so a successful, long-term companionship. One of the steps is to create a gap in the door where the door can not open or close more than a certain distance - enough for them to see and paw at one another, but not wide enough for one to get through. I recommend putting a block of wood or something in the gap and using a strap system like this one to keep the door from opening or closing. This one makes it easy for you to come and go through the door.
Through a horrible personal experience, I now tie up all my blind cords. I was fostering a deformed small cat (she has Radial Hypoplasia, which means her front legs are bent like chicken wings) and she managed to get up, and enjoy spending time on, Pico’s cat tree that looks out onto the catio. I was working all day at the shelter and came home to find her dangling from the blind cord by her back leg. It looked like she’d been there for hours. An emergency clinic visit, and $600 later, thankfully confirmed no broken bones or dislocated joints. When we foster tiny kittens I tie up cords but it never occurred to me to tie them up with a larger cat. NOW I have cord safety keepers on all of the windows. I highly recommend you get them too before you have an unfortunate incident.
Baby Gate with Cat Door
When you tell me you can't have an uncovered litter box because the dog is eating the cat poop, or your toddler keeps playing in the "sand" - I'm going to tell you go get one of these baby gates with a cat door! Comes in black too!
Dislike for the litter box is one of the leading causes of cats urinating outside the box. Cats tend to feel trapped in covered litter boxes. I've even seen incidents where one cat sits on top of the box and swats the cat going in and out!
When you install a deterrent (like the nubs above) you have to counter that with an alternative behavior outlet. You can't tell a cat simply "no" - you have to tell it what you want instead; this, not that. So when you deter a cat from scratching a surface, get a tall scratching post (see above) and use a scratch attractant on it to get your cat started scratching there, rather than your sofa (or chair or whatever.) Feliway's Scratch Attract uses both visual and olfactory attractants to encourage your cat to scratch where it is put. Amazing stuff and yes, it really works!
Finally, an adhesive product suitable for leather! I tried the double sided tape on my leather sofa and it destroyed it. This is a great protective film suitable for all types of surfaces. Be sure to provide adequate scratching surfaces if you're taking one away. Go to the enrichment section for scratching devices.
Rubber Nail Caps
As a last resort try rubber nail caps - I say "last resort" because they are uncomfortable for your cat, but MUCH better than considering declawing. For the facts on declawing click here. The way these nail covers work is you put a couple drops of nail glue (included) into the cap, squeeze the cap so the glue gets up on all the edges, and slip over your cat's nail. They last about 4-6 weeks, depending on your cat's ability to chew them off, nail growth and adhesive.
Remember, always provide good scratching surfaces for your cat to use - you can't expect him to leave the furniture alone if he doesn't have a place of his own to scratch. Scratching is a natural behavior for cats. Climbing and scratching posts can be found on the enrichment product page.
Outside cats can wreak havoc on your cat's behavior. When your cat sees cats outside they do what they normally do in the wild - they mark their territory. This is done through urine, feces and clawing, which leaves not only a visual marker but also a scent. I typically recommend humane deterrents such as coffee grounds, citrus peels, carpet runners points up etc. but occasionally you get a pesky cat that ignores all of those and have to revert to something more "scary". The scarecrow motion-activated sprinkler is a good option.
Cat who go outside hunt – because it’s in their nature to do so. They might even kill prey and not eat it. They are natural born “killers”. So if you let your cat outside, you might hear from your bird-loving neighbors. How to help save those birds:
You can put extra loud bells on your cat: https://amzn.to/3ikIDfy to help alert the prey, cat is coming. It also helps you in hearing where your cat is.
There are also Birdsafe collar covers https://amzn.to/3GJ2qyK that warm birds of a cat’s presence. You put it over your cat’s collar (purchased separately).
Until you can be assured there are no cats visible from your windows, I recommend using a window block to prevent your cat from seeing them. This one is inexpensive, easy to install, and works with static cling so it's also easy to remove when the outdoor deterrents begin to work.
This is a homeopathic stress reliever. It is flower essences and is put on food. I use 4 drops per meal on Tabasco's food - not for emotional stress, but as a support for multiple physical ailments he's going through. Very much like the Feliway Pheromone plug ins, this by itself is not a magic wand to make all your cat troubles go away. But when used in conjunction with other stress relieving strategies, it helps!
Pheromone Diffuser Cats will feel more calm when you plug in a pheromone diffuser. It is not a magic wand that can change your cat's behavior by itself, but when used/layered with other calming products and enrichment strategies, along with behavior modification plans, it really helps.
I recommend using the multi cat diffuser, not the classic. The pheromones are slightly different and I find this to be more effective.
Calming Travel Wipes
The second thing you need for your vet visit is Feliway's calming wipes. Simply wipe the inside of the carrier about 10 minutes prior to departure.
You can wipe the inside of your vehicle with the calming wipes too, as well as any other tool you may be using for shelter work or fostering stressed out cats and kittens.
I prefer the Feliway brand to other pheromone manufacturers.
The best calming pheromone diffuser! Feliway’s new Optimum Cat works better than all of the predecessors. Pheromones can help reduce signs of stress – use it when you have conflict between cats, or are expecting a change (move, new baby, etc.) Pheromones by themselves won’t totally change cat behavior, but they do help to take the edge off. Typically, there are underlying issues causing the stress that need to be addressed, but pheromone diffusers help as you work to fix the issues.
I recommend this cat only product for fleas. If your cat is indoors only, and you don't have other animals bringing in fleas, you can probably control them with natural products. Check out this blog I did on those products. I'm personally against using chemical treatments on indoor cats because I had a horrible experience with a foster cat who had (and continues to have occasional) seizures after an application of Revolution for cats. I think the Catego product is more mild than the other brands and would be what I use if I felt I needed regular chemical flea control.
Check out this awesome Flea + Tick Pet Brush
The Cedarcide dispenses directly onto your cat's skin through the bristles.
Cedarcide is an amazing, all natural pet pest control. Use this in place of other traditional flea and tick medication to kill fleas and ticks and repel mosquitos. Heart worms are a real threat to cats and are caused from mosquito bites so this is an important thing to pay attention to!
However, some pets have an adverse reaction to traditional pest prevention. I had a foster cat who recently had a terrible seizure after an application of Revolution, but Tabasco has no trouble with it at all.
I've opted to use the all natural, safe Cedarcide going forward and I encourage you to look into doing the same. Cedarcide helps support our efforts with every purchase you make.
Sometimes, even with the best of desensitization measures, you’ll find a cat who absolutely will not allow you to trim his nails without biting you. I recommend a good dose of calming oils about 30 minutes prior to a manicure. I also have fingerless Kevlar gloves I wear when needed – they soften the bite blow and yet my fingers can feel to do the work.
But every now and then I have that one cat…and the space helmet muzzle works perfectly. Cats will freak out when you put it on – as you would if someone put one on you – so use it only in dire situations. Sometimes a harness vest (various styles available) will act as a calming shirt – try that before the muzzle.