Pet Corner

Keeping Up With Your Furry Friend

A cat kneading its claws on your sweater is an expression of contentment, an acknowledgment that you’re family.
Sam Mazzotta, February 2018

Q: Why do cats do what they do? Why do they tear ornaments off the Christmas tree, knock glasses off the coffee table, attack our shoelaces and knead their claws into our sweater? Is there any way to get them to stop doing all of these things? — Frayed Sweater and Nerves, in Toronto

A: After years of studying this conundrum, I can honestly say most cats won’t respond to pleas, begging or even treats. Well, sometimes they’ll respond to treats. But they’ll go right back to doing what they enjoy most: destroying all that you love.

Having a cat means making a few compromises in your life, particularly in the interior-decorating department. It means being more careful about setting expensive glassware on the countertop. It means a Christmas tree whose bottom third remains undecorated, or adorned with unbreakable, pet-safe ornaments.

It means patiently retying your shoelaces after your cat has pounced on them. It means buying a new sweater every fall, or keeping your favorite ones in a drawer to wear on special occasions only.

The tradeoff, however, is that you have a companion for many happy years. A cat kneading his or her claws on your sweater while curled up in your lap is an expression of contentment, an acknowledgment that you’re family. You don’t have to give up all the breakable things that you love in order to live with your cat, you just need to make a few concessions to keep both your cat and your glassware safe.


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