cat scratching

How to Prevent Cats from Scratching Furniture

Scratching is a cat’s favorite pastime. It’s part of their very nature. They do it when they’re playing, stretching, marking their territory, or defending themselves. It also serves a function: sharpening their claws. When cats scratch against certain surfaces, it helps remove worn outer claws and make way for new ones. What do cats do with those new, sharp claws? They scratch some more.

Unfortunately, some of the things they scratch might hold value to you. It could be drapes, an upholstered arm chair or a floor speaker. Suddenly, the scratching is perceived as a bad habit and can drive a wedge between you and your beloved cat.

If your cat is scratching furniture, fear not. Follow these steps to encourage your cat to scratch the things you want, not the things you don’t.

Redirect Your Cat’s Behavior Toward ‘Approved’ Scratching Objects

Cats are going to scratch. It’s not about trying to prevent the behavior. It’s about redirecting it toward something they’re allowed to scratch. The options are endless from scratching posts and playmats to toys and inclined scratchers. They’re all specifically designed to fulfill a cat’s need to scratch — so they can stop scratching your furniture.

Try Different Materials to Find What They Like

No two cats are exactly the same. Some may love sinking their claws into cardboard, while others prefer carpet or upholstery. Try out a few different materials until you’re able to narrow in on what your cat likes. This Cardboard Couch Cat Scratcher is designed for lounging and scratching. (Just imagine all the Netflix shows you could binge watch together.) If you’re looking for something more durable, this KONG Naturals Double Cat Scratcher is another great option. It’s made from renewable materials, infused with KONG Premium Catnip and is reversible for longer-lasting fun.

Piquing their Interest in a Scratcher

It may seem like a good idea to bring the cat over to the scratcher, pick up its paws and mimic the scratching motion to teach her, “Hey! Scratch here instead!” However, this might backfire, making the cat fearful of the very thing you want her to use. Instead, add a pinch of catnip to encourage play or scratching. Another option is Feliway Spray, which is a pheromone that comes in a spray or a plug-in. Both can help attract your cat to the new scratcher without forcing the issue.

Protecting Your Possessions

Simultaneously as you’re introducing the new scratcher, you want to make the furniture they used to scratch less appealing. Remove pillows and blankets from your couch. Try placing double-sided tape on the arms or backs of recliners or couches (so long as they’re not leather). Striped or crisscross patterns work well. If floor speakers seem to be another target, simply flip them around to face the wall when not in use. If you’re considering speakers, but haven’t yet, you might consider investing in in-wall speakers instead. Place the cat scratcher right next to the furnishing your trying to protect to offer a visible alternative.

Trim Your Cat’s Nails Regularly

Another simple way you can help mitigate damage from cat scratching is by regularly trimming their nails. Some people declaw their cat to prevent scratching, but the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is strongly opposed to it.  There are other alternatives to consider that are safe for cats, such as Soft Paws. It’s a product that can be purchased over-the-counter to cover cats’ nails. They are rubber-tipped nail covers that come with application glue and work really well. If owners cannot get them on easily themselves, a groomer or veterinarian can help.

All of these options have the potential to prevent your cat from scratching furniture, redirect their behavior and keep you both on loving terms

What better way to keep everyone happy?