Hello. happy new year to everyone :)
My cat Dippy, by name and nature, has recently been moved from our cabin, where it has lived outdoors virtually always, to our small flat here in town. She was showing signs of arthritis in the damp & colder weather and we could no longer afford to visit the cabin daily anyway. She's 15.
She's settled fairly well, seemingly not needing to move around a lot and enjoying our company. She's used to her litter tray and shows little sign of wanting to go outside.
There is no yard, garden or balcony here and we are in a quiet but medieval back street with no access to open spaces. She pokes her head out of the front door occasionally, sits on the doorstep and runs back inside at the first sight of other cats, cars or people.!(upload://mmHAn39W6w1a2UuDU7kaudLJkv3.jpg)
I've grown some cat nip for her in a small pot on the window sill here where she sits, but she seems never to use it, I've made a scratching board with hemp string, which she also studiously ignores, preferring to claw the settee cover every time, or my foot.
I wonder, how unhealthy might she actually risk becoming, without purging and keeping her nails short? In the battle of huffy stand offs between cat and owner/pet of the cat, I am definitely loosing and wasting my time. My cat is either secretly laughing at me or very stupid.
What I'd like to know is, are there any tips and tricks or alternatives to get her to use the scratching board or the catnip?
Melissa thanks, yes I will try a log or some bark. Her favourite sctatching post at the cabin was a tree. After Lynnes scientific study below, I will probably need to make it higher up, and sturdy, like the original tree. Perhaps we should all move back to the cabin or grow a tree through the flat!
Re the cat nip, she still doesn't use it, but I put some in pots on the doorstep outside and now might have to move it because it's attracting all the local cats and this will put her off ever going outside.
Lynne you are a professional cat expert. what an absoloutely fascinating bit of science ,THANK YOU!
I think you'd find the whole fact sheet useful, here is another extract that I think would help
Feline facial pheromones – aromatherapy for cats!
All cats produce secretions from glands in their cheeks that provide a unique scent. Cats use this scent to mark their territory and the smell gives them a sense of security and reassurance. Research has shown that cats will not scratch or spray urine in areas where this pheromone is deposited. The individual cat's scent can be collected and rubbed on the areas that have been scratched to provide a more positive and relaxed atmosphere. A part of this scent is common to all cats and a synthetic version called Feliway (manufactured by Ceva Animal Health Ltd) is available in spray and diffuser form (this plugs into an electrical socket) from veterinary practices.
Collecting a cat's facial pheromones
This can be done in an easy four-step way
1. Use a small soft natural fibre cloth or fine cotton gloves (available from pharmacies)
2. Stroke firmly around the cat's head, using the cloth or gloves with particular emphasis on the cheeks, chin and forehead
3. Rub the impregnated cloth/gloves against the surface that has been scratched
4. Repeat the process until the cat's scratching is redirected elsewhere
Hi Jo, Here is an extract from a fact sheet that we have at Chats du Quercy - please email me for the full version it is a lot longer!! firstname.lastname@example.org
CATS SCRATCH BOTH INDOORS AND OUT for several reasons. If we want to tackle some of the problems associated with scratching indoors we need to understand the cat's motivations and preferences for this behaviour.
Why do cats scratch?
It is a common misconception that cats ‘sharpen' their claws by scratching. What actually happens is the worn outer husk of the claw is detached, using a resistant material, revealing a sharp new surface underneath. Scratching also exercises the muscles of the forelimbs.
Scratching is also used as a form of territorial communication or marking behaviour. Scent and sweat glands in between the pads of the paws mix to produce a unique smell. When claws are scraped down a surface the scent is deposited and the combination of the mark, discarded claw husks and the smell provides a strong visual and scent message to other cats.
Where do cats scratch?
Cats will choose a variety of surfaces both vertical and horizontal depending on their individual preferences. If the location is vertical the cat will usually extend itself to full stretch and then rhythmically scratch, alternating between the fore paws. In your case Jo, the scratch post may simply be not tall enough for her? Some cats will choose a horizontal surface or scratch by lying down and pulling their bodyweight along the floor. The surfaces chosen are usually fixed and non-yielding to resist the force exerted by the cat at this time.
Cat that have limited or no access to outdoors.
There are also those that choose to spend more time in the comfort and safety of the home and just feel more relaxed about maintaining their claws in a secure environment! Scratching can also be used as a precursor for play or even as an attention seeking tool by the more manipulative and social individuals. Popular substrates indoors include soft woods (eg, pine), fabrics, textured wallpaper and carpet. Popular locations include doorframes, furniture and stairs. Cats will often scratch vigorously in the presence of their owners or other cats as a sign of territorial confidence. However if the scratched locations are widespread throughout the home, particularly around doorways and windows, then it is likely that the cat is signaling a general sense of insecurity. Whether the scratching represents claw maintenance, marking or both depends on the dynamics of the feline household, the pattern of locations and various other factors. If attractive scratching posts or areas are not provided indoors it is likely that damage will occur to furniture, wallpaper or carpet!
Try wooden logs for her nails. I have a couple of split logs laying on the floor and they get used. They will be, perhaps, more famiiliar to Dippy than rope and do a better job for her manicure. I also always grow little pots of orge for purging; there are always pots in various stages in a sunny window. You can buy a big bag of seeds for cheap at a garden centre. All my cats and kittens nibble on it.
Good for you for bringing your girl to a warm, dry, safe place. Happy new year to you and Dippy!
Hello cat fiends:blush: I was just perusing these old posts and I thought I would let you know that the ‘old’ Dippy cat the subject of this post, is still alive, aged 20yrs, -not had a days sickness apart from the odd flea battles and she is still living with us in our tiny flat. She’s still using the sctratch log and the cat grass indoors and barely moves from her favourite spot. Think shes going for the oldest cat record maybe. Thanks to everyone for all the great advie and happy new year 2017