How can you put a stop to your cats or cats from scratching the furniture? The sofa, chairs, curtains etc. First we should understand why our feline friends are always scratching the furniture.
Why Do Cats Scratch Furniture?
Well, scratching is a very normal activity of cats – very similar to when we would cut and file our nails. It wouldn’t be a problem if they weren’t to use undesirable objects to scratch on – our much-loved home furnishings. To make matters worse, it is rarely possible to make amends to this furniture and a great deal of money can be lost because of it. Sometimes, this misbehavior can be the one reason why so many cat owners give up on their pets and send them to rescue homes.
Hopefully though, with the advice you find here, you can keep your cats and keep your furnishings in good condition! We can help you find the right methods to teach your cat to scratch an object that is designated for that sole purpose, such as a scratch-post or mat. A cat has a need to scratch with their claws to keep them sharp and to remove the old, often damaged outer claw. It also coincides with the habit of stretching their limbs and tendons.
Furthermore, whilst scratching an object, cats are also marking their territory with pheromones from the glands in the paws – a smell not so easily detected by their owners, but easily recognized by other cats and pets within the household. At the end of the day, the need to scratch cannot be stopped altogether – but there are some methods we can try to make them scratch something more appropriate than your beautiful sofa!
How To Prevent Scratching of Furniture:
- First of all you will need to provide an object or several around the house, where your cat can tend to its claws. The aim is to make this designated scratching item more attractive to your cat. All the while, take steps in making the furniture unattractive for them to scratch. There are many scratch items to choose from – it might be a post with a cat bed joined to it, it could be a mat near to the door or even have something hanging from a door handle (this last one is especially useful in preventing curtain scratchers). If you can, cover any furniture where the cat was formerly scratching, with some double sided tape or plastic sheeting. At least until your cat has learned its lesson!
- To get your feline friend interested in the new scratching alternative – try using catnip around the area or like we mentioned before, place it near to their bed so that then they wake they can have a good old stretch!
- It will take some time for them to change bad habits, so each time they return to the furniture make sure to be on hand to gently remove them and bring them to the scratch post. Use praise or treats to show them that they have made you proud. Never hurt the cat by hitting or screaming at them – it rarely helps the situation. I have found that picking my cat up after catching it scratching furniture and carrying it to the scratching post, talking to it gently, placing its paws on the post and moving them in a scratching motion…praising them the whole time, telling them how smart they are…works wonders. Every time I see them subsequently using the scratching post I reinforce the praise with “good girl” or “good boy” in a happy tone.
- Water sprays are acceptable to use. When your cat digs his or her claws into your furnishings, have the spray bottle at hand to give them a short blast of water. They will likely dart off immediately, but it might not stop them from scratching when your back is turned – so crafty they can be!
- Finally, you could trim the cat’s claws. I would recommend that you seek advice before you do this as it is easy to cause damage and upset your cat. I am accustomed to trimming my cat’s nails whenever I see that they are getting too long. I have a good pair of clippers and I know not to cut too far down. It just takes practice and with 5 cats I get plenty of practice.