Let’s face it. Cats have the natural instinct to scratch. There’s a number of reasons for this, one being that it’s an important part of their grooming routine.
They scratch certain surfaces to get rid of the dead outer layer of their nail and to reveal the new nail underneath.
More reasons your cat scratches may include:
- to mark their territory by leaving their scent, left behind by the scent glands in their paws
- to visually mark their territory
- to exercise/stretch
You get the point.
While you can’t suppress your kitty’s urge to scratch, you can arrange your home a certain way to keep her scratching tendencies away from your furniture.
I’d like to preface this post by saying, please, never ever declaw your cat. It’s extremely painful for them as it’s not only getting rid of the nail, but the toe bones present in the paw itself.
Declawing your cat will likely lead to chronic pain, infection, nerve damage, and a permanent limp.
This unnecessary surgery will also often trigger bad behavior such as litter box issues due to the litter feeling too harsh on their partially amputated paws. It can also lead to aggressive tendencies like biting due to the cat’s teeth now being their only defense against threats.
Many places have banned declawing due to it being inhumane and cruel.
Stray away from declawing and other cruel surgeries and use these four tips instead!
Place scratching posts around your house for your cat to use
A scratching post is a must so that your cat has a healthy outlet for her natural tendencies.
And if your cat has been scratching up your furniture, not only do you want to have a scratching post somewhere in your home, you want to have the right style post in the correct location.
If your cat is passing up her scratching post for your couch, the type of scratching post you have may be the root of the problem.
Some cats like vertical scratching posts, and some prefer horizontal ones. Experiment with different ones to see which kind your kitty likes best.
As for location, consider placing the scratching post next to the spot on your furniture you cat likes to scratch. You should place one scratching post by each of these areas, so you may very well need to purchase multiple posts.
Even if you don’t want the scratching post in this location, don’t worry. It’ll only be there for two weeks, or until your kitty is accustomed to using her scratching post. Then, as Purrfectpost put it, you can “you can begin moving the scratching post to your preferred spot, at the rate of an inch or so a day.“
This makes it so that your pet can slowly adjust to the new location of her scratching post.
Doing this will provide a healthy alternative to your beloved sofa while letting your kitty fulfill her scratching needs in a familiar environment. Win-win!
Correct your cat’s bad behavior when you see it
If you ever catch your kitty scratching your furniture or any other problem areas, nicely direct her to the nearest scratching post.
As for other ways to discipline your cat when you catch her scratching your furniture, spray bottles are extremely controversial as to whether or not they’re effective.
I personally feel like there are better ways to discipline cats. Because what spray bottles will do is teach your cat to to do the action when you’re not around and to associate you, the owner, with negative feelings (being sprayed with water).
For this reason, when it comes to disciplining cats, I prefer ways that will make them instead associate those negative feelings with bad behaviors like scratching furniture.
So like I said, just nudge your cat in the right direction if you see her performing the bad behavior and eventually she will catch on with the help of this next tip.
Regularly trim your cat’s nails
Definitely trim your cat’s nails every two weeks or so. Not only is it an important part of a cat’s grooming needs, but it will be harder for your cat to do any serious damage to your furniture by scratching it because her nails won’t be as sharp.
Help your cat create positive associations (and negative ones)
Help your feline friend create positive associations with using her scratching posts by putting some catnip on them to draw her to them. When your cat does use her post, immediately give her a treat so that she associates the action with receiving a treat.
On the flip side, it’s a good idea to also let your cat associate your furniture with something negative. For instance, spray the spot which your kitty likes to scratch with a cat repellent spray. They’re effective because your cat will dislike the new scent and start to avoid it. Voilà. No more scratching!
For those on a budget, you can make your own repellent at home instead! It’s as easy as mixing one part apple cider vinegar and one part water. However, there are many other alternatives in your home that you can use when making a D.I.Y repellent spray.
Of course every cat is different and the ingredients used in one spray may be more effective for your cat than the ingredients in another. So you may have to try a few different “recipes” before finding the one that works best for your cat.
Let your cat create another negative association with your furniture by changing the surface of the furniture in your home.
No, this doesn’t mean go out and buy new furniture (unless it’s in your budget, then hey, by all means).
But nope, it’s definitely not necessary.
All you need to do is purchase a cat scratch deterrent tape (or any double sided tape) that you can place on problem areas. And because I’m all for spending on a budget, you can instead use what may already be in your home: tinfoil. Secure it over the desired area and it will create an uncomfortable surface for your cat to scratch.
You can try using a blanket too.
Once your cat is accustomed to using her scratching posts (it may take up to two weeks) and is no longer scratching the furniture, it’s time to do your happy dance. You can finally remove all of the makeshift surfaces and live a life free of torn apart furniture, woo-hoo!
Any tips I missed? Feel free to comment your suggestions below!
Read my other post, 12 Things You Must Do Before Bringing a Home a New Cat.