Cats are fun to be around and make great pets. One of the few downsides to adopting a kitty is the fact that they tend to scratch, and when they aren’t giving you love swipes, they are probably targeting the furniture. Fortunately, you don’t have to choose between having a cat and upgrading your living room décor because there are plenty of tips to stop cats from scratching furniture. Here what you need to know about how to get cats to stop scratching furniture:
Scratching Is Important to Cats
Scratching is an important and natural part of feline behavior. Some benefits of scratching for your cat include:
Exercise: Scratching provides an opportunity to stretch and exercise the muscles and tendons throughout their bodies.
Communication: Cats use scratching as a way to communicate with other cats; cat paws contain glands that release an odor to mark territory. If you have only one kitty, the feline will feel the need to let others know that this is their home by leaving their scent on the furniture.
It’s Healthy: Scratching is necessary for claw health and provides an opportunity to shed the outer nail husk.
It Feels Great: Scratching helps relieve stress and feels amazing. If you’ve ever observed your kitty digging their claws into their chosen scratching post, you may have noticed that they look incredibly content.
Never, Ever, Declaw Your Cat
This is NOT how to get cats to stop scratching. There was once a popular myth that declawing your cat is harmless. This is simply untrue. Declawing is actually a surgical procedure that amputates 1/3 of the cat’s paw. Cats who have been declawed often experience chronic pain and must be kept indoors because they’ve lost their primary method of self-defense, which is why most veterinarians and feline health experts are strongly against declawing. In fact, some cities have already banned declawing because it is considered inhumane.
How to Keep Cats From Scratching Furniture
Now that you understand that scratching is important to your cat and that declawing is never an option, the logical solution is to give your cat an alternative to scratching your furniture. Fortunately, there are many cat condos and scratching posts available at a variety of price points that will provide an alternate outlet for your feline. Before you invest, however, there are a few things to consider.
Consider Your Feline’s Preferences
When choosing an alternate place for your feline to scratch, you’ll want to consider their particular needs and likes. If your cat scratches the carpet more than furniture, a horizontal scratcher will be ideal. If your cat is scratching high on the furniture, you’ll want an upright post. There are also wedge-shaped posts for cats who like the in-between distance.
Material Is Important
Your cat scratching furniture is really a substitute for trees, so you’ll want to opt for a post that contains natural wood, and that is wound with sisal rope.
Don’t Be Afraid to Test Drive
In order to ensure that your cat will accept the new scratching post, you’ll want to run a test-drive. You’ll know that your kitty is comfortable if they are putting their entire body weight into the post.
More Than One
You may need more than one post to stop cat scratching of furniture depending on your cat’s habits. For instance, if your kitty is scratching both arms of the couch, you’ll want two posts.
How to Get Cats to Stop Scratching Couch: Aka Transitioning Your Kitty to Their New Post
There are a few tips and tricks on how to stop cats from scratching and to helping them transition to the appropriate scratching surface.
It helps to place the scratching post near the furniture that the feline likes to scratch. Instead of cat scratching couch, they can scratch the post
Entice Your Feline
Once you assemble the new post or cat condo, entice your cat to explore their new abode by rubbing it with catnip or hanging their favorite toy from the top. It’s also helpful to create a game that will encourage your kitty to scratch the post.
Shower your cat with praise, and even treats as they are exploring their new scratching post. Your positive encouragement will help kitty understand that this is a good place to play and scratch.
Negative Reinforcement or How to Keep Cats Off Furniture
Likewise, you keep cats from scratching furniture by making their favorite spotless appealing; you can cover the spot where they like to scratch with something that they won’t like, such as tinfoil or a double-sided tape like Sticky Paws. You can also try a citru-scented spray on the furniture. These won’t hurt your cat but will make the experience of scratching the furniture less enjoyable.
Continue Working Daily
Not all kitties will immediately transition to the scratching post, which is why you may need to demonstrate the behavior for a few days. Just as with the first time, you’ll want to shower them with treats when they scratch in the right place to reinforce the behavior.
What to Avoid and How to Stop Cats From Scratching the Couch and Carpet
As you train your kitty, there are a few things that you’ll want to avoid in order to optimize results.
Carpet Covered Cat Furniture
This is going to be confusing to your cat because they won’t be able to tell the difference between their scratching post and the carpet, which feels the same.
Training your kitty is a process. Sometimes there will be setbacks, which is why you may want to wait until your feline has fully adapted to the change before splurging on new furniture.
You don’t want your cat to associate your voice with punishment, which is why it’s recommended to let your cat know that they’re out of line with “hiss” or a ‘no.”
Don’t Get Rough
It can be frustrating to see your kitty scratching at the furniture after they have been given a perfectly good alternative. Remember, however, that the kitty is still transitioning and must build a positive experience with their new scratching post. If you catch your cat scratching the furniture, gently pick them up and move them to their new scratching post, encourage them to scratch the post, and praise them for scratching in the right place.
Don’t Delay Praise
Cats don’t have the longest attention spans when it comes to learning from humans, so you’ll want to praise your kitty immediately after they start scratching their post. If you praise later, the cat won’t know what they’ve done right.
Other Tips On How to Stop Cats From Scratching
If your cat can’t seem to accept the scratching post, try an anti-anxiety product such as Feliway.
If your cat has started scratching furniture seemingly out of nowhere and is exhibiting other new behaviors such as increased aggression or urinating outside the litter box, these may be signs of a health-related issue, and you should see a veterinarian.