How to keep cats from scratching trees

safety - How to stop adopted stray/feral cat from scratching trees?


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I'm in New Zealand. The cat (probably female), has been with us for 5 years, but my parents are sick of her killing our trees with her claws. We think she was abandoned by her previous owners and lived alone for some time. She took over after our own last cat died. She went from being untouchable to loving and sneaking indoors occasionally.

But she simply won't learn, no matter what we do to protect our backyard trees, to stop causing their demise. She can't be dewormed without a major effort or held for more than 30 seconds. But we know she desires to be more of pet, only she was just not raised right. I was often overseas, but came back because of covid. I really love her, but I have no money to move out right now and even if I did, I don't see how I could take her with me.

But I hate the idea of leaving her to just anyone the SPCA lets adopt her. Especially with her behavior, I'm worried she'll be abandoned or put down as she is at least 7 years old. I'm also worried that the experience of being forcibly removed would be traumatic for her. I'd love some practical advice on this one.

  • cats
  • safety
  • psychology
  • adoption
  • house-moving


Wouldn't it be a better solution to protect the trees from the cat than to remove the cat from the family?

First of all, it's impossible to teach a cat not to scratch on anything. The claws of cats grow in layers and must be shortened and sharpened. By scratching on hard, rough surfaces, preferably tree bark, cats shed the old outer layer of their claws, which makes them a tiny bit shorter and exposes the fresh, sharp layer underneath. This is an ingrained instinct and cannot be discouraged by punishment and it's the reason why every cat owner should also own a cat tree or scratching post.

Scratching posts are usually simple cardboard tubes that are wrapped in thin sisal or hemp rope. Try to find such a rope at home or in a hardware shop and wrap it around a few trees where your cat usually scratches. If there are too many trees to wrap them all, you can protect the remaining ones with chicken wire, pieces of old carpets or doormats or a similar fence.

The rope should be tight enough not to fall off the tree, but not so tight that the tree is constricted. I would rewrap the rope at least once a year (you can use the same rope again if it's still intact enough) to adjust it to the size of the tree trunk.


The cat will scratch somewhere. That's how their claws work.

Possible mitigation measures (in any combination):

  1. Offer the cat few better objects for scratching. Scratching pads, posts, raw boards of different wood, etc. ... it is important to fix them well enough so the cat doesn't move them much when scratching. Cats are not interested in scratching objects that move freely.

  2. Band the tree bases with something glossy (thick polyethylene and/or duct tape may work) until the cat chooses some other object.

  3. There are commercially available cat repellents and attractants in spray or liquid form. Ask local veterinarians and use repellent on the trees and attractant on the intended scratching objects.

  4. Protect the tree bases permanently with something impenetrable for cat claws that has acceptable aestetics.

You can't stop a cat from scratching but you can change its habits

One possibility, aside from making scratching posts which you should anyway, is to smear non-toxic grease (such as vaseline) on the trees. Cats hate getting their paws greasy and she'll soon learn. Once she gets in the habit of only using the scratching posts you can stop using the grease.

Note also that kitchen foil is good. Wrap that around the base and most cats won't want to touch it.


I agree with the comment by @Elmy. It is important to avoid using anything that is toxic to cats. This is not always the same as what is toxic to humans.


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Keep Your Cat off the Christmas Tree with These Tips

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  • Keep Your Cat off the Christmas Tree with These Tips


Cats and Christmas trees. They go together like…Well, they often don't really go together. Many cats like to bat at ornaments, pull things off, claw at presents underneath, and try to climb the tree. There have been many trees that came crashing down well before Christmas morning.

Luckily, there are some tips and tricks you can employ to help keep your tree standing and shining throughout the holiday season. And they keep your kitty happy too.

Dangers of Christmas for Cats

There are good reasons to keep your cat off the Christmas tree and out of the presents besides any inconvenience or ruined ornaments that might occur.

  • Broken ornaments can cause cuts on cats' mouths or paws.
  • Ribbon, tinsel, yarn, and string, either on the tree or as part of a present's wrappings, are all incredibly dangerous for cats. They can cause intestinal obstructions that require surgery to resolve.
  • Cats can be injured if they climb a Christmas tree and it falls on them.
  • Chewing on tree needles isn't healthy. They can poke your cat's mouth and may cause GI upset or toxicity if swallowed.

Tips for Keeping Your Cat off the Christmas Tree

Here are some of our best tips for keeping your cat and Christmas tree both safe this season. Use some or all of them as needed:

  • Spray the needles with deterrent spray.
  • Shake a can of coins or clap your hands loudly when your cat attempts to chew on the tree.
  • Provide an alternative, cat safe catnip or cat grass plant nearby for your cat to chew instead, and praise her when she does.
  • Water the tree well while you have it, so it drops fewer needles, and get it out of the house soon after the holiday before it starts dropping tons of them.
  • Remove chairs or other platforms from near the tree. These can serve as launching pads for your cat to use to jump into the tree, so get rid of as much of that temptation as you can.
  • Secure the tree to the wall if possible, to make it steadier and decrease the chance of it falling if your cat does scale it.
  • Place a strong, sturdy, sisal fabric-covered scratching post in the same room as the tree. This gives your cat a positive alternative to climbing or scratching at the tree. Be sure to praise your kitty for using the post, and don't put it close enough for her to use it to launch into the tree.
  • If your cat is still insistent about messing with the tree, consider using a deterrent like:
    • ScatMat: When a kitty steps on a ScatMat, she receives a tiny static spark, and most cats take that as a sign they shouldn't go near the mat again. You can use these for counters and other areas that are off-limits too.
  • Don't keep presents under the tree. Store them in a closet or somewhere else that's unreachable by your cat. That will keep her safe from ribbons and protect your gifts until the big day.
  • Don't use tinsel on the tree. Even if your cat seems to leave the tree alone, if she suddenly decides to grab some, the barbs on her tongue will pull it right down her throat, and then she'll be in danger of life-threatening intestinal obstruction.
  • Take care with the cords leading from the tree's lights to the electrical outlet. Cats might be drawn to the new wire, and biting it can cause death or severe burns. Block off access to the cord if possible.
  • Block off the tree's water, too, which might contain fertilizer, needles, and other dangerous chemicals or debris.
  • An artificial tree might help—it could be less enticing than a real tree for your cat. However, chewing the fake needles can be dangerous, and the ornaments and tree instability can still pose dangers.
  • Be sure to give your kitty enough attention and interactive play sessions during the Christmas season. A bored cat is much more likely to get into trouble, including bothering the tree, than a tired one.
  • Disclaimer: This website is not intended to replace professional consultation, diagnosis, or treatment by a licensed veterinarian. If you require any veterinary related advice, contact your veterinarian promptly. Information at PurrfectPost. com is exclusively of a general reference nature. Do not disregard veterinary advice or delay treatment as a result of accessing information at this site.

    How to wean a cat to tear furniture and wallpaper

    Why do cats have a passion for upholstered furniture?

    Before you figure out how to wean a cat to tear up furniture, you need to justify such pet behavior for yourself. The animal is not indifferent to upholstered furniture and wallpaper, because:

    • Follows instincts. Claws are the main defense of cats in the wild. To hunt and survive, they need to hone their claw skills. Now Barsik no longer produces his own food on his own, but it is not easy to forget thousands of years of evolution.
    • Sharpens claws. People file their nails with a nail file, dogs grind their claws while running on a hard surface, and in order to put their claws in order, you need to stick them as deep as possible into a hard surface and hold them with effort. Dead scales of claws remain on the upholstery, and new ones form in their place.
    • Stretching. You have probably noticed how the purr elegantly bends the back and stretches. At this time, he likes to touch with his paws, spoiling the upholstery.
    • Relieves stress. Sometimes a cat kills sofa upholstery especially carefully. She takes out her aggression in this way when she is angry or upset.
    • Marks territory. Cats have scent pads at the base of their paws. While scratching, the pet marks the object with its individual smell.

    When we have decided that it is vital for a fluffy to sharpen its claws, we should consider how to wean a cat to tear up furniture and wallpaper.

    Scratching posts

    There are many ways to wean a cat to tear wallpaper and furniture. The most popular of them - scratching post - a special item for scratching claws. They are horizontal and vertical, floor and wall, in the form of boards and columns. They are united by a soft surface - it is sheathed with a dense cloth or wrapped with a thick rope.

    The easiest way is to accustom a kitten to a scratching post. Put it in a conspicuous place, bring the crumbs and run your paws several times over its surface. Every time the purr uses the item for its intended purpose, praise him, give him a treat.

    In order not to think about how to wean a cat to tear wallpaper, put a scratching post in a passage place: near the sleeping bed, in the play area, next to the sofa. In a large apartment, you should purchase several scratching posts.


    Special sprayers , which, when applied to the surface, exude odors that are unpleasant for cats. But they quickly disappear - they must be applied every 2-3 hours.

    Nail trimming

    A universal way for all breeds, if you do not know how to wean a cat to tear up furniture. Every 2 weeks it is necessary to cut 1/3 of the nail with special scissors (manicure scissors will not work). This should be done at a certain angle and at a certain length.


    These are special caps for claws made of vinyl. With the help of glue, they are attached to the cat's claws, allowing him to realize himself and at the same time not spoil the interior.

    How to wean a cat to tear up furniture? A relaxed purr with glue should alternately put on all anti-scratches . Every 10-14 days the caps will fall off and need to be glued back on.

    At first, the animal will try to get rid of the “manicure”, but will soon get used to it. There are different sizes of anti-scratches on the market, depending on the length of the pet's claws (S, M, L). It is advisable to purchase several sizes at once.


    Not knowing how to wean a cat to tear up a sofa, some owners decide on inhumane measures. Onychectomy is a radical surgical procedure to remove claws in cats. The animal stops scratching furniture, but becomes disabled. The coordination of movements and posture is disturbed, the pet will no longer be able to gracefully jump and will fall down.

    Important points

    When purchasing a scratching post, put a few drops of valerian or motherwort on it (they attract cats). The scratching post should:

    • match the height of the pet;
    • be securely fastened and withstand pressure from the animal;
    • be of medium hardness and roughness.

    When choosing a spray, make sure that it does not cause allergies in the purr. Trimming nails is best left to the veterinarian at first. If you cut the claw too much, you can damage nearby vessels, infect an infection, or at least cause pain to your pet.

    If you don't know how to stop your cat from scratching furniture, don't forget to use traditional methods:

    • say “no” or “no” sharply and loudly;
    • lightly spray the pet with water from a spray bottle (this will not hurt, but the animal will be unpleasant).

    How to wean a cat to scratch furniture and wallpaper? Use scents. Cats do not like the smell of citrus, onion, and vinegar. Dilute citrus oil with water, and spray the liquid on damaged areas.

    5 proven ways to stop your cat from climbing on the table.

    Most cats and cats, especially at a young age, like to spend their time on tables, window sills, and sometimes even stove surfaces. In general, they definitely shouldn’t be there, and sometimes it’s just dangerous.

    If you are faced with such a nuisance, below are a few ways to help you wean your cat from climbing tables.

    Method 1. Training

    Training a cat should start from childhood. Methodically and purposefully prohibit jumping and walking around the table. It is also important to be consistent about what a cat can and cannot do. If she can walk when there is no food on the table and it is forbidden when food is on the table, then the cat will not understand the difference!

    Beating cats, grabbing by the scruff of the neck, etc. it is useless, moreover categorically it is impossible! In this case, there is a big risk that the cat will simply become aggressive and take revenge on you.

    Cons of this method: it takes a lot of time, effort, patience, and most importantly - not every freedom-loving cat lends itself to this method.

    Method 2. Modern technologies

    If you are a fan of innovative methods, then a motion sensor spray and compressed cold air will help you. For example, the Argus spray. This is a small device with a range of up to 2 meters, which is enough to install in front of the place that your pet has chosen. After the cat jumps on the table, it falls into the range of the motion sensor and the device releases a jet of cold air with a sharp sound. The cat understands everything in a second, you do not need to spend hours explaining and showing how the rules of behavior work. Watch a video clip of how such a device works

    A big plus is that the device does not affect the psyche of the animal in any way and is absolutely harmless. The downside may be the price of such a device. But the production guarantees 5 years of perfect work, and a good flower that the cat persistently tries to gnaw on the windowsill can cost more. Not to mention the sofa, if suddenly the cat decides to sharpen its claws on it.

    Method 3: Unpleasant odors

    To wean a cat from climbing on a table can be a method of "intimidation" with the help of unpleasant odors. If your cat does not like the smell of citrus, then you can rub the table with a slice of lemon or essential oil of any citrus, grapefruit is considered the most effective. You can put cotton napkins soaked in oil on the surface. Or fresh orange, grapefruit or lemon peels, they are less weak, but can also be effective.

    Cons of this method: the cat can simply throw off the wipes or ignore such smells. And not every housewife is ready to put up with the fact that she has orange peels lying on her table.

    Method 4 Water

    Many cats do not like water. If your pet belongs to this number of pets, feel free to proceed with manipulations. When the cat once again climbs onto the table, shoot it with water from a toy gun or from a squirt bottle (it's easy to make it yourself by piercing a few thin holes in a plastic bottle).

    An alternative way is to remove the cat from the table and lower it into a bowl of water - “wet the paws”. Repeat the steps each time until the cat understands what is good and what is bad.

    Of the minuses: not all cats are afraid of water, some even love it. And most importantly, in this situation there is a risk associated with the fact that the cat will begin to associate with negative emotions exactly you, and not the table. And you will lose your pet's trust and friendship.

    Method 5. Foil

    Cats don't like smooth, rustling surfaces, so cover the countertop with baking foil, fixing it around the edges. Stick a few wide strips of double-sided tape on top. When the pet once again decides to climb onto the table, he will be faced with the fact that the paws will begin to stick to the surface, and the claws will slide on the aluminum foil, making unpleasant sounds and giving away the location.

    Learn more