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Is your adorable feline shredding your couch and clawing your curtains? You need help: fast! Discover how to stop your cat from scratching the furniture.
Have you come home to find your soft furnishings shredded by your furry little bundle of joy? If you’re fed up with claw marks on couches, mutilated wall coverings and door surrounds that look as if they’ve been attacked by a bear, you’re not alone!
Cats scratching where they shouldn’t is a common problem that is not only irritating but can become expensive.
Thankfully, there’s plenty you can do to gently teach your cat where’s a good place to claw… and deter them from eyeing up your chairs or doors for their next scratching session.
Scratching is natural cat behavior
Cat’s scratch to exercise, as well as to keep their claws in good, sharp condition. They also have a specific scent on their paw pads that is transferred to the item they’re scratching. This helps to delineate their territory.
While we can’t smell the scent, it sends out a clear signal to other cats that your cat owns this particular piece of space! And they’ll do this whether you have other cats or not.
Stop your cat from scratching what they shouldn’t
Because it’s a natural behavior, you won’t be able to stop it—but you can school your cat to scratch elsewhere, and to leave your furniture alone. Here are three strategies that work wonders for most of our cat-owning clients:
- Buy a scratching post: A well-made, sturdy scratching post (or two, or three) provides your cat with a permitted scratching area. Make the scratching post a more tempting option by scenting it with cat nip. If there’s a piece of furniture your cat regularly scratches, try placing a scratching post directly in front of the usual target.
- Allow your cat outside: Cats need exercise. An indoor cat that’s bored and under-exercised is more likely to scratch up your interior than one who’s allowed out and has access to trees or shrubs that they can scratch naturally. Although it’s not always possible, a cat that’s allowed outdoors is usually less likely to scratch indoors.
- Protect your furniture: In the short term, until your cat gets used to using scratching posts, it’s probably worth investing in scratch guards. These are pieces of heavy-duty, self-adhesive vinyl that can be attached to couches and other surfaces that are prime scratch targets. They protect the underlying surface, at the same time as being dissatisfying to scratch, hopefully prompting your cat to discover the delights your scratching post has to offer!
What to do if you see your cat scratching?
Never, ever, ever hit your cat, throw things at the him or her, or otherwise physically chastise it for what is a natural behavior.
It is permissible to say a sharp “no.” And some people find that tossing a small object NEAR the cat when you catch them in the act of scratching in the wrong place will be a sufficient distraction.
Over time, and with patience, you can train your cat to use a scratching post to get its exercise, reducing the risk that your furniture will be savaged.
But if you’ve tried all of the above and are still sitting on a cat-clawed couch, try our in-person or virtual cat training at College for Pets. We’ll take on your cat’s problem behaviors, and help you stop your cat from scratching the furniture, so you don’t have to! Get in touch to find out more.