Scratching is a natural behavior for cats and it serves multiple purposes. It helps them to stretch, remove dead cells from their claws, and mark their territory with scent glands in their paws.
Unfortunately, this instinctive behavior can cause a lot of damage to our furniture if we don’t properly discourage it.
But there are ways to deter your cat from scratching your furniture without resorting to declawing or any other extreme measures.
Why Do Cats Scratch Furniture?
Cats are naturally curious creatures, and they love to explore their environment through scratching.
Scratching is also a natural behavior for cats as it helps them to stretch out their muscles and to sharpen their claws.
Unfortunately, this behavior can be destructive when it’s done on furniture.
The primary reason why cats scratch furniture is because it feels comfortable and provides them with a good grip.
In addition, cats also scratch to mark their territory by releasing scent from the glands in their paws.
As a result, cats may scratch furniture to establish dominance over their area and make it feel more like home.
Fortunately, there are several ways to redirect your cat’s scratching behavior away from the furniture.
Diverting Your Cat's Attention
Diverting your cat’s attention can be a great way to help discourage it from scratching the furniture.
Play with your cat for 10 minutes several times a day. Use toys that emulate hunting, such as feather wands or laser pointers (make sure you never shine the laser pointer directly in his eyes).
Many cats enjoy playing with interactive toys that allow them to chase, paw or pounce.
You can also try using citrus-scented air fresheners or sprays, as cats don’t like the smell of citrus.
Finally, make sure that you never punish your cat for scratching around the house. This could cause him to become stressed and anxious, leading to more behavior problems.
Instead, focus on providing positive reinforcement when he uses his scratching post, and make sure to offer plenty of toys for it to play with.
With patience and consistency, you can help your cat learn more appropriate behaviors.
Scratching posts are a great way to help deter your cat from scratching your furniture.
Scratching posts provide cats with an outlet for their natural instinct to scratch, helping them stay away from delicate fabrics and surfaces in your home.
By placing these scratching posts around the house, it can encourage your cat to use them instead of your furniture.
Make sure to place them near the areas or furniture your cat likes to scratch, as this will make it more appealing.
Also, make sure that the posts are sturdy and tall enough so they won’t tip over when cats use them.
To further encourage your cat to use them, you can also put some catnip at the base of the post.
Covering furniture with an object such as a blanket, towel, or piece of cloth can help stop cats from scratching it.
The material will feel different to them and they may be less likely to claw at it.
Make sure you cover the entire surface so your cat won’t find any exposed areas that are easy to scratch.
You may also want to try using double sided sticky tape around the edges of the furniture or putting aluminum foil or plastic sheeting on it.
These materials will create a surface that cats don’t like to touch, and they may avoid scratching your furniture if they can’t get comfortable with it.
You can purchase scratch guards that attach to the furniture, which provide a physical barrier between your cat’s claws and the furniture.
Trimming Your Cat’s Nails Regularly
Trimming your cat’s nails on a regular basis is one of the best ways to prevent your cat from scratching furniture. This helps keep the claws blunt and less likely to cause damage.
To do this safely, you will need some supplies: pet nail trimmers, styptic powder, and treats or catnip.
Start by getting your cat used to having her paws touched by massaging each paw gently and then rewarding her with treats or catnip.
Then, follow the instructions on the trimmers you have purchased – generally, you should cut just under the tip of the nail in a straight line and avoid cutting too close to your pet’s skin as this can cause bleeding.
If you do happen to cut too far and your cat begins to bleed, use the styptic powder to stop the blood flow.
Finally, be sure to reward your pet with treats or catnip afterwards – this will help her associate nail trimming with something positive.
With regular nail trimmings, you can help keep your cat’s nails blunt and less likely to cause damage to your furniture.
Scents And Citrus Oils
Many cats do not like the smell of scented oils, so placing a few drops on furniture that they tend to scratch will likely keep them away.
Citrus oils such as lemon or orange oil are considered safe for use around cats, and these can be used in the same way as scented oils.
However, it is important to remember that using too much of these oils may cause skin irritation or be toxic if ingested, so use caution and sparingly.
Cats have a strong sense of smell and can become accustomed to particular smells quickly, so switching up the type of scent occasionally is recommended.
By taking the time to understand why cats scratch and how it benefits them, you can take proactive steps to stop unwanted scratching.
Redirecting their behavior with appropriate alternatives such as cat trees, posts, or mats is a great way to protect your furniture while still providing your pet with what they need.
Using deterrents like double-sided tape on furniture may help keep cats from going back for more scratches in the future.
Through patience and consistent training of proper behaviors, you should be able to deter your cat from engaging in destructive scratching behaviors that could damage your furniture.