how to prevent "army crawling"

This is a place to gain some understanding of cat behavior and to assist people in training their cats and dealing with common behavior problems, regardless of the method(s) used. Keep in mind that you may be receiving advice from other cat owners and lovers...not professionals. If you have a major problem, always seek the advice of a trainer or behaviorist!


Purred: Tue Jun 25, '13 12:44pm PST 
Hey there. So I'm a first time cat owner and Caius, my kitten, is about 3-4 months old and developed this habit of "army crawling" on the couch arms....what I mean by that is he has one side of his legs on one side of the couch arm, and the other side on the other...he then proceeds to pull himself along the couch quickly with his claws, digging into the couch. I'm really trying to break this behavior before it becomes an every day habit, but he seems to have zero interest in his scratching post that we bought for him. I'm considering geting a cat condo/cat tree but they are CRAZY expensive (I don't want to spend over $50-$70 for one). I'm hoping that maybe it will give him something he can climb on and claw, and deflect his attention from the couch. Any suggestions on where I can get a good cat condo for that price, or any suggestions on other ways to break that habit?


It's all about- me.
Purred: Tue Jun 25, '13 1:30pm PST 
You can build a condo complex out of cardboard boxes and give him an inexpensive cardboard scratching pad for the time being. I think he'll grow out of this behavior as he gets older.

Merlin - An Angel- Forever

Purred: Tue Jun 25, '13 5:29pm PST 
A second kitten will help smile Many cats love to have a friend to play with and chase around smile But if you can't have a second cat, then a cat tree and lots of toys and cardboard boxes smile Petco and PetSmart often have cat tress and condos on sale. Sometimes you can find cheap small cat trees and condos at Wal Mart and other places but the quality tends to be very very cheap, like flimsy plywood tat wobbles at the slightest touch and cheap falling apart carpet shrug

Here's a pretty good inexpensive modular cat furniture: http://www.kittycityusa.com/ Human bought the different kits at Target and Wal Mart and made a big jungle gym thing for Leroy and Emma smile You can see part of it here http://www.catster.com/cats/1163019/photo/5243116 It didn't last too long with both Leroy and Emma constantly playing on it shrug The company has a newer sturdier version now.

A couple of strong thick sturdy boxes make a good hiding places and a condo smile You can cut holes out and glue the boxes together to make a two level condo. use your imagination to turn the boxes into a fun cheap DIY condo smile


Purred: Tue Jun 25, '13 6:34pm PST 
Soon after adoption, both my sister and I (Clio) wanted to sharpen our claws on the sofa. Thus, our owner gave us several sources of good scratching and now we aren't interested in anything else. We particularly like sisal material (you can buy at the hardware store and make your own posts with sisal and elmer's glue) and large cardboard box/scratchers like the Kitty Scratch Lounge where we can lay on our bellies while we scratch. We much prefer that to the sofa. Perhaps until your kitty grows out of the army crawling, you can also invest in some cheap arm chair covers (Target, K-Mart, Foster's and Smith) to offer a bit of protection. Or perhaps a plastic-type cover with a bit of Bitter Yuck sprayed on it will prevent your kitty from army crawling on the sofa arms. If you do go the expensive route, our owner also gave us an Armarkat tree (Amazon) that we get a ton of use out of. We love to sleep up high and it has a lot of sisal to scratch on. He might post a picture of us enjoying it a bit later.


I fetch,- therefore I am.

Purred: Tue Jun 25, '13 6:41pm PST 
Try some scratchers that are horizontal, angled and/or curved to stimulate interest. Not all cats prefer a vertical post. You can also try scratchers of different material, like sisal, carpet or corrugated cardboard. (Petco has some good examples on their website).

You can try something like Sticky Paws on the couch arms until Casius adjusts to using the new scratchers.

Good luck! Keep us posted!
cat on moon


Butt-kicker of- all other cats
Purred: Wed Jun 26, '13 5:19am PST 
THey can learn what a sharp NO, followed by a loud clap of your hands means. I managed to teach my kitten Stephano that he is not allowed to claw the couch, I would just catch him in the act and give the loud NO and scare him away. I have two cardboard scratchers which he likes and two cat trees. He gets praise and petted when he uses his scratchers, he gets yelled at and chased off when he scratches where he is not supposed to. He has learned. Also, it helps that when we are not at home, he is put up in his room, party because I have a doberman, who is fine with him, but I don't take any chances that he might aggravate the crap out of her and she might snap at him...which she never has. But by him being up, he is not allowed to have a claw fest and get into trouble while I'm not there. I think that is the key, being around them, especially in the beginning as much as possible, so you can catch them in the act before it becomes habit. This has worked for both of my male cats, neither one of them scratch the furniture. Now they will go rip roaring across the house chasing each other and fly across the couch and you hear those claws go into it, but they are not going up to it and scratching it, so we do see a few little snags on my supposedly cat proof microfiber suede couch, but in general, it's not bad at all.

Does he have a nice cat tree? There is one on sale at Wayfair right...actually two, I believe, for $38! And it is a nice size, it is Armarkat, and I have one almost identical to it that I paid $90 for and that was a deal. That has saved my life, my kitten LOVES this thing! He runs up and down it all day, scratches on it, he gets so much exercise running up and down this thing. I highly recommend one of those if you don't have one. $38....with free shipping!! Wearing him out will def help him calm down a bit smile


Purred: Wed Jun 26, '13 7:05am PST 
Thanks all! I'll keep you posted on how it goes!


Stella- Felinis--Queen- of All Kitties!
Purred: Wed Jun 26, '13 6:18pm PST 
It's Stella. There is a basic cat tree for sale at Wal-Mart for $40 that would be good for a kitten. It's a bit too small for us giant Gray kitties but we love it anyway. Purrs! wave