How to keep cats from scratching the couch

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Because cats act in the moment, it's important

Because cats act in the moment, it's important to have a scratching post right next to the couch. Photo Credit: AP

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Marc Morrone Newsday columnist Marc Morrone

Marc Morrone was born in 1960 in the Bronx and, when he was 2, his family moved to

Q. How do I get my cats to stop scratching on my leather furniture? They use their scratching post, as well. I have sprayed the furniture with anti-scratch spray and put aluminum foil on, but still the scratching continues. The new furniture already has claw holes. I can't keep them out of that room. --Joyce Sidorski, Inwood

A. You are doing everything correctly in rendering the new furniture unattractive to the cats. The only thing I would add is some strips of double-sided tape in the area where they are scratching, in addition to the foil.

You have to remember that cats act in the moment. So you need to have the post right there next to the couch for a while so that using the post rather than the furniture becomes second nature.

When it is finally a habit for the cat to only use the post rather than the deterrent-laden couch, you gradually can start to move the post away. When you see the cat no longer using the couch, remove the deterrents.

Q. My daughter had two cats (one female, one male, both fixed). She had to put the female to sleep because of cancer.

Since then, the male cat keeps meowing incessantly. First it was by the front door, and now it's practically all the time, except when he sleeps. How can she get him to stop? --J. Speirs, Mineola

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A. All life forms on planet earth deal with grief differently.

Some animals could care less when a companion is lost, and others like yours feel the loss a great deal.

There are scientists who would say that the cat misses its previous routine and does not miss its companion at all, but of course, we petkeepers know otherwise.

Time heals all wounds, so in time the cat will grow used to things and settle down. A lot of the problem is the boredom that a lot of indoor cats face these days.

Getting another cat or dog into the house would help, not so much that the new pet could replace the previous one but the new excitement and break in routine would get the cat's mind off its current issues.

Q. Our cocker spaniel was fully house-trained since we adopted him five years ago. Lately, he has picked a spot in the kitchen where he urinates a few days a week during the day, never at night. Initially, I thought he was rebelling since I haven't been walking him daily. This theory went out the window today when he urinated in the kitchen about two hours after a lengthy walk. What is he trying to tell us? Is he seeking attention? --Maritza Liriano, Bellmore

A. The idea of an animal rebelling by urinating or defecating or chewing on an object makes sense to us. But it is biologically and scientifically impossible. Animals just do not have enough folds in their brains for this kind of thinking.

That said, most likely your dog is just middle-aged now and cannot hold his urine as well as he used to. Have him checked by a vet.

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During the day, either you have to be on top of his signals a bit more to let him out more frequently or just wave the white flag and, since he is going in the same spot in the kitchen all the time anyway, just put down wee wee pads there.

Sometimes, life is just easier when we all compromise. Be glad that he is a cocker spaniel and not a great Dane, as I doubt there are wee wee pads big enough for that scenario.

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