Have you just bought yourself a brand new sofa and your kitty has decided to make it their very own scratching post? Is this the third time you have had to get your couch recovered? We’ve all been there!
Destructive cat scratching is a common problem many cat owners face—and, for this very reason, many cats often end up getting returned to shelters. But, it’s important to remember that a cat will choose to scratch a piece of furniture for many reasons.
So, in order to find the most appropriate solution to your cat scratch problems it’s best to analyze—and figure out, why your cat is destroying your furniture. In this article, we’ll do just that!
Why do Cats Scratch!
Cats scratch whatever object that’s around as this is a natural behavior for them. In the wild, cats will scratch the soil and trees; but indoors anything will do, from carpets to sofas and drapes, much to their owners’ disappointment.
No matter how much you dislike it, cats need to scratch something in order to remain healthy. Scratching hard surfaces removes the dead cell layer of their claws. This is very important even if your cat doesn’t need to hunt, as un-kept claws can lead to infections and other health-threatening issues.
Scratching also allows your cat to stretch their body and flex their paws which feels great after a nice long catnap where they have been sleeping all day and not moving around much.
Marking their territory is another reason why cats scratch. The scent-producing glands in their paws produce a specific odor that says, “this is my territory — go find another place to chill!”
Finally, another very important benefit of scratching is the release of energy. If you have a very active and playful cat you’ve probably seen them aggressively go to town on the carpet or couch. This helps them become calmer since all that scratching can really tire them out.
As we’ve mentioned, the reason why cats scratch is because it’s a natural behavior and actually has a lot of health benefits. It’s unrealistic and a little cruel to think that preventing your cat from scratching can be beneficial to your cat. By trying to stop them from scratching, you would be putting your cat’s happiness and well being at stake.
So does this mean it’s futile to stop cats from scratching furniture and you are doomed to live in a house with scratched up carpets, drapes and couches?
Luckily, there are cat scratching solutions to help keep your cats from scratching your furniture.
How to Scratch Proof your Furniture
The first step to stop your cats from scratching your furniture is to accept that scratching is a normal behavior. Because of this, instead on focusing your energy on stopping them from scratching, you can redirect them to an acceptable object.
Scratch Posts and Scratchpads
If your cat is scratching your furniture, chances are that you don’t have a scratch pole or one your cat likes. Scratching posts and scratchpads come in all shapes and sizes. A cat scratching post is typically made of sisal rope or sisal fabric. Sisal fabric tends to be a better option as the fibers in sisal rope can come loose and become uncomfortable for your cat when they scratch.
Either way, putting a scratching post in your home is the first step in saving your furniture and getting your cat to scratch something that is made just for them.
Secondly, look at the objects your cat scratches and where they’re located. Where is the furniture and carpet in question? Are they close to the entrance of a room? Are they near where your cat sleeps most of the time?
These locations are typically your cats’ favorite spots to get their claws out and scratch to their heart’s content. Once you know your cat’s scratch zone, try putting a scratching post in the area.
If you can afford to, try and put a few scratching posts around the house. This is a great idea especially if you have multiple cats. We placed a scratching post in the kitchen, the dining room and the family room. If you have the space a cat tree also works great. The best place for a cat tree works is in an area where your cat likes to spend most of their time.
Protect and Cover Your Furniture
The final step to keeping your carpet and furniture safe from those active claws is to cover them with things that are unpleasant for cats. A fabric cover, double-sided sticky tape, sheets of sandpaper or aluminum foil all can make good deterrents for your cat.
The next time Kitty goes to stick out their claws to ruin your perfectly good furniture these items will act as a cat scratch deterrent and they will hopefully use their cat scratching post instead. Keep these cat-repelling items there until your cat has fully graduated to using only their scratching post, scratchpad or cat tree.
To keep the cats from scratching our furniture we used a fabric slipcover on our couch and chair which did two things. It discouraged scratching, as our cats didn’t like it. Plus it kept the cat fur off the couch so when we had company over all we had to do was remove the slipcover and voila – clean fur-free, scratch free furniture!
Train Your Cat Where to Scratch
You can also ‘train’ your cat to use the scratching post. If you’re in the room and it looks like your cat is about to scratch a piece of furniture, calmly go over to where they are, take them to their scratching post and encourage them to scratch on their post. When they do scratch their post, remember to praise them for being a ‘good kitty’.
To get our cats to start using their scratching posts we would rub a little catnip into the post around the base. This made their scratching post more appealing. Try not to put too much catnip or your cat may have too much of a good time.
Trim Your Cats Claws
Something that might also lessen the amount of damage scratching can cause is to keep their claws trimmed. By carefully trimming just the tips of their claws it can go a long way to saving your furniture.
Trimming your cat’s claws should be done roughly once every week. We made a fun session with our cats when it was time to trim their claws. Each cat would get a brushing and their claws trimmed. When we were done, it was treats for everyone! It became a regular thing that our cats always looked forward to.
When trimming their claws we would trim the front claws a bit more than the back claws. We tried not to trim their paws too short. Have a good pair of nail clippers available that are nice and sharp. You can also check out this helpful video for the best way to trim your cat’s claws.
How to trim your cat’s claws! Easy way to clip a cat’s nails
Declawing our cats was never an option. We felt it was a cruel, unnecessary and inhumane procedure that we didn’t want any of our cats to have to suffer through. There is bleeding and pain, and it can cause future health complications.
There are ways to Stop Cats from Scratching the Furniture.
Having a cat that is destroying your furniture and carpet is no fun. But hopefully, if you follow these cat scratching solutions you will be able to stop your cats from scratching the furniture.
Scratching is a natural behavior. Provide your cat with a scratching post that they can scratch instead and teach your beloved kitty what’s acceptable to scratch and what’s not.