Newsday Tuesday – Shredding Cats

One thing that prevents some people from having cats is the fact that they have claws and they like to use them. Here’s a picture of a box that Smokey shredded over time. A nice piece of artwork, isn’t it? In this case, it was no big deal—it was a box stored in the garage.

But many cats do this to the furniture in the home. I’ve never had a home without cats, which means I’ve always lived with at least slightly damaged furniture. Sure I’ve used pheromones, foil wraps, water bottle spray, and I’ve always had a cat tree and other items for the cats to do their scratching on.

As you may know, cats claw things to help keep their claws in shape—to help them shed, and it is part of their exercise routine, but also to mark their territory. They love their home and they want to make it theirs by embedding their scent all over the place. Their paw pads are full of scent glands.

Your cat doesn’t do these things to upset you. He doesn’t wake up one day and decide to destroy your furniture. Clawing is in a cat’s DNA. But shredding seems to fit into a different category.

Our tortie, Sophie, is a shredder. Give her a chance and she’ll shred your grocery list, the tissue paper you just bought, the newspaper, even paper money. Sophie used to steal faxes as they come in and shred them. Then what? She makes herself a little nest bed.

Yesterday, before a package arrived on our doorstep, Sophie clawed her little red blanket for several minutes until it was in just the right shaped wad and then she laid on it. She was a happy kitty until the box was delivered. Inside was her heart’s desire—paper packing material. She grabbed that paper and began shredding it immediately with her claws and her teeth and she made herself a better bed.

We put the shredded paper in the box and Sophie suddenly became the queen of everything as she sat in the box, her beloved paper surrounding her. What a beautiful afternoon it turned out to be for Sophie.


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