Climbing cats can destroy furniture and draperies, break objects and accidentally injure themselves. Scratching and jumping are natural instincts, and cats will never stop climbing completely. Still, cats should be discouraged from climbing in dangerous or destructive ways. It is always easier to train a cat if the discipline starts when he is a kitten. Still, mature cats can be trained not to climb, as long as the owner is consistent and the environment is tailored to curtail the bad behaviour.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Things you need
- Packing tape
- Aluminium foil
- Vertical blinds
- Cat tree
- Cat window perch
- Cat scratching post
- Cat treats
- Small water gun
Block the path your cat uses to climb. Move the coffee table he uses to jump to the bookshelf, or place heavy objects in the way, such as potted plants, books or garden statues, to obstruct the jumping.
Cover surfaces where the cat climbs with material she will find unpleasant, such as packing tape or aluminium foil. Cats hate these two materials and will avoid them. Foul-smelling sprays can also be used to deter the cat from her usual climbing spots.
If your kitty likes to climb long fabric drapes, replace them with blinds or shades.
Give your cat an appealing alternate climbing area, like a jungle gym. Purchase a cat tree or craft one out of wood and carpet remnants. Install a window perch where he can sit and observe his surroundings without climbing furniture. Encourage kitty to use his new climbing equipment by rubbing it with catnip or hiding treats at the top of the cat tree.
Use a small water gun, bell or whistle if you catch your cat climbing. Spray her only lightly, and do not chase her.
Tips and warnings
- Keeping your cat's nails trimmed will help limit the natural instinct to climb and scratch. If he will not let you trim his nails yourself, your vet can do it for a small charge.
- Vinyl claw caps can also be purchased to cover your cat's claws. They are applied periodically, lasting for months.
- Avoid declawing the cat at all costs. De-clawing a cat is a controversial and traumatic procedure. Not all veterinarians perform the operation, and there may be laws against declawing in your area.
- Consult with a vet before giving the cat away because of his climbing habit. Some cats will grow out of mischievous phases, and others may have behaviour problems that need to be addressed medically.
- Never try to scare your cat out of climbing by setting a trap, physically punishing her or yelling. Cats can be deeply traumatised by frightening situations and will simply not respond to these disciplinary methods. Trust is essential in a healthy pet relationship.
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