3 Tricks to Stop Your Cat From Scratching the Furniture
3 Tricks to Stop Your Cat From Scratching the Furniture
Scratching is a natural behavior for cats. It exercises their muscles, sharpens and cleans their claws, relieves stress and marks their territory to alert other pets. It’s also a behavior that has wrecked many couches, chairs and carpets. If your cat is scratching where you don’t want them to scratch, you may be at a loss for what to do.
Fortunately, there are ways to convince your cat to stop scratching your furniture so your home stays in tip-top condition. Here are our favorite tips.
How to stop cats from scratching furniture
Cats love scratching, but if your cat is scratching your furniture, you may be looking for a way to get them to scratch something else. There are many ways to stop your cats from scratching furniture, including trimming their nails, making your furniture less appealing, and providing an alternative surface for scratching. In fact, using these three methods in combination is the surest way to ensure your cat stops scratching your furniture and other surfaces you’d like to protect.
Do not declaw your cat
While you may have encountered declawed cats and enjoyed a scratch-free play session with them, declawing a cat is considered extremely cruel and is therefore never recommended as a way to deter cats from scratching furniture. In fact, the Humane Society strongly recommends against declawing cats:
“Declawing can cause paw pain, back pain, infection, tissue necrosis (tissue death), and lameness. Removing claws changes how a cat's foot meets the ground and can cause pain like wearing an uncomfortable pair of shoes. Improperly removed claws can regrow, causing nerve damage and bone spurs.”
In addition to these many health risks, scratching is one of the main ways cats mark their territory, because they have scent glands in their paws as well as in their face, which on surfaces around their home to indicate it’s theirs. Instead of declawing, you can teach your cat to scratch something other than your furniture.
Trim or cap your cat’s nails
Another way to combat your cat’s scratching problem is to tackle it at the core. Regularly trimming your cat’s claws will prevent them from becoming razor-sharp weapons, and your furniture will be out of harm’s way.
You can trim your cat’s nails at home, but take care: Trimming them incorrectly can easily cause injury (to your cat and yourself!) and put your cat in a lot of pain. The Humane Society has a tutorial on how to trim your cat’s claws at home. This is a simple process that is much safer and more humane than declawing. Trim every 2-3 weeks to keep furniture scratching to a minimum.
If your cat does not have the patience for having their nails trimmed, your furniture probably isn’t the only thing getting scratched. But all hope is not lost for feistier kitties! Instead of trimming their claws, you can put nail caps over each nail. This keeps your furniture safe while allowing your cats to stretch out and scratch as they please. However, this method doesn’t stop your cat from scratching and only protects your furniture when the caps are on their nails.
Make your furniture less appealing
Upholstered couches and chairs are prime targets for a cat’s sharp claws. With an herbal-scented deterrent spray or removable double-sided tape, you can make those surfaces uninviting, which will train your cat to scratch elsewhere. Cats dislike herbal scents and are sensitive to sticky surfaces, so they’ll avoid sprayed and taped areas.
Over time, your cat will be conditioned to avoid the furniture completely, and you can remove the tape and/or stop spraying. But if your cat returns to scratching your furniture, additional steps may be necessary to keep them away for good.
Provide alternative scratching surfaces
Since scratching is instinctive for cats, it’s unreasonable to try and train them to stop scratching altogether. You can, however, keep them away from your furniture by giving them something else to focus their claws on.
The best thing to give your cats is a scratching post. It’s important to make sure the scratching post is sturdy enough to not only be scratched, but also be pulled on. Once a cat has their claws sunk into the scratching post, they will use that as resistance to stretch out their body. A wobbly scratching post could cause your cat to fall over the first time they use it, which likely means they won’t return for a second visit!
Another option is a larger cat tree or cat tower. Putting this piece of pet furniture on the edge of your living room or bedroom is a great way to give your cat multiple surfaces to scratch as well as a perch from which to watch the action while simultaneously being out from underfoot.
Don’t throw away an old scratching post
Cats crave familiarity, and the scratching post your cat has been using for the past decade probably has a special place in your cat’s heart. After all, your cat has marked that scratching post as their territory: it’s full of the scents of home, along with roughed up fabric that is easier for your cat to get their claws into.
But when there is little to nothing left for your cat to scratch, you can re-cover your cat’s favorite scratching post with new material. A sisal carpet remnant that has been coated in catnip oil is ideal for this process. The catnip encourages your cats to dig right in once the new fabric is in place, and the sisal will stand up to their claws for years to come.
Scratching may be in a cat’s nature, but that doesn’t mean your furniture has to take a beating. With these tricks, you can prevent your cat from wreaking havoc in your home.