Tips on teaching kitten to not scratch sheets / me?

pmv

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I have three cats, two of them being kittens around 7 months old. One of them, Copper, likes to come into my bed at night. Mostly this is fine and he just lays on or next to me, but one behavior in particular is annoying and painful - he likes to "dig" in the bed sheets, particularly around my legs and feet. Apart from the fact that decent bed sheets are expensive and I don't want them clawed up, it can lead to quite painful scratches to my legs and feet when the small layer of fabric fails to protect my skin from his claws.

He doesn't really react much to either a verbal "no" or a hiss; at best he'll stop for a moment and resume immediately. I'm not really looking to keep him out of the bed entirely - he's usually fine - but I do want him to not use claws on my sheets. Any thoughts? I've been trying to increase play time / intensity to wear him out more and bring his energy down a notch but he's a kitten.
 

Mamanyt1953

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Yeah, there's just so much energy you can drain off a kitten before they've drained yours off, entirely. They have two gears, dead asleep and warp speed, don't they? At that age, they're exploring everything, and any movement you make under those sheets is taken as an invitation to play. It will taper off in time on its own. Which is good to know for the future, but what about now? There are two things, short of kicking him out at night (and I know you don't want that), that I can think of off of the top of my head. The first is to clip his claws on a regular basis so that you aren't dealing with a paw full of needles. It really isn't difficult (although it can require patience), and doing it regularly will make it even easier. Do invest in clippers designed for cats' claws. The nice thing is that with cat claws you can easily see the quick and avoid cutting too short. This video will show you how to do that:

how to clip a cat's claws - Bing video

The second thing is that you may be able to put caps on his claws. They are fairly inexpensive, and can be applied at home. If you are hesitant, your vet can show you how to do this. However, they do shed off pretty regularly, so replacing caps will be ongoing.

Both methods have their pros and cons, but I hope one of them will do the trick for you.
 

maggie101

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Sooner you start to clip and brush his teeth,the easier it will get. When my cat was younger I locked her out of my bedroom. She loves to play at night. When she starts banging on the door, I let her in. In my living room she has lots of room to run around,climb up and down her tower,lots of toys to bat around and chew. Finally ready for bed. Some times a late night snack. I have a timer for canned food
 
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pmv

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Is he actually scratching or trying to knead? If it's kneading, a small fuzzy blanket next to you that you can redirect him to might work.
He does knead, but it's a separate behavior and it's cute enough that I don't mind even if there's a little bit of claw in it.

Apart from kneading, he'll do two other behaviors. Sometimes he'll grab a foot and try to play with it (wrapping his legs around mine and biting mainly), which is annoying, but he does inhibit his bites so he doesn't do any real damage.

The main behavior of concern looks honestly like digging more than anything else - perhaps he's trying to get under the sheets or he's trying to use the sheets and blankets as a scratching surface.

The good news is that it seems to be significantly dropping in frequency, so most nights at most I have to move him to the other side of the bed when he's trying to nibble on my feet.
 

CatladyJan

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He does knead, but it's a separate behavior and it's cute enough that I don't mind even if there's a little bit of claw in it.

Apart from kneading, he'll do two other behaviors. Sometimes he'll grab a foot and try to play with it (wrapping his legs around mine and biting mainly), which is annoying, but he does inhibit his bites so he doesn't do any real damage.

The main behavior of concern looks honestly like digging more than anything else - perhaps he's trying to get under the sheets or he's trying to use the sheets and blankets as a scratching surface.

The good news is that it seems to be significantly dropping in frequency, so most nights at most I have to move him to the other side of the bed when he's trying to nibble on my feet.
You got to get your sleep you may have to kick him out until he's older.
 
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pmv

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You got to get your sleep you may have to kick him out until he's older.
I should note, it's not as bad as it sounds. He is mostly active when I go to bed and when the sun comes up - for the vast majority of the night, he sleeps quietly next to me and doesn't cause issues, so I'm hoping to avoid having to kick him out of the room.

Clipping his claws is definitely a good idea and something I should do anyway.
 
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