By Eve-Angeline Mitchell, Contributing Writer
One thing that increasing numbers of experts are saying is to let your cat's environment do the talking. Basically, you want to make your furniture, or your counters, places your cats just don't want to be. For instance, you could put crinkled aluminum foil on tabletops and countertops. The next time your cat jumps up there, the foil will feel strange and crunch loudly, startling them. You're nowhere around; they don't associate this unpleasant experience with you. They associate it with the environment. It makes them want to avoid that part of their environment.
But this isn't quite enough; your cat has natural instincts that he can't just turn off. Those instincts involve scratching, exploring, and climbing. So you need to be available to not only show your cat acceptable outlets for those instincts, but provide the positive reinforcement for those places.
Ultimately, how you provide vertical territory and acceptable scratching surfaces depends on what works best for your house and your situation. To get your cats to use these in place of counters, tables, and sofas, put treats on some of them, and give your cat a trail of treats to follow. Then let him explore. He'll associate the treats with the climbing surfaces, and develop positive associations.
You'll also want to give him gentle affection, such as praise and strokes or scratches on his favorite places, when he goes where you want him to. This will let him know that you consider these acceptable places for him to climb, scratch, and lounge to his heart's content, which will help to reduce his stress and maintain harmony in your home.
Eve-Angeline Mitchell is an experienced writer and blogger, and an animal rights and welfare advocate. She has been writing about cats, from pet cats to feral cats, to the history between cats and people, and even about bit cats, on Examiner.com for four years. She is also an avid do-it-yourselfer when it comes to home improvement and enjoys learning how to do new things.
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