You're walking across your living room only to notice a set of scratch marks on the side of your couch. You've probably tried everything to keep your cat from scratching your furniture but haven't been successful. Below, we explore ways to train your cat not to scratch your sofa or any other piece of furniture.
Why Do Cats Scratch Furniture?
Before finding a remedy to the scratching problem, you must understand why your cats do it in the first place. Scratching is a normal, innate behavior cats associate with stretching. Your cat scratches things to enjoy a good stretch of its muscles and tendons.
Your cat’s paws also contain scent glands. So when it scratches furniture, it releases scents to mark its territory. The scent and the scratch marks are signs to other cats that the area is occupied.
Scratching also helps your cat shed its outside nail husk when needed to maintain claw health. Consider it as a cat manicure.
Your cat may also naturally feel good scratching. It is a way to display emotions like stress and excitement.
How Do You Stop Cats From Scratching Furniture?
Luckily, you can train your cat to stop scratching your furniture. Follow these simple tips to save your sofa from further scratches.
Provide Scratching Posts
Scratching is normal behavior, so you don't have to force your cat to stop scratching. Instead, you can provide an alternative place where your cat can continue its normal scratching behavior. A good option is buying cat scratching posts.
You should, however, pick the right type of scratching post; otherwise, your cat may ignore it and turn its attention onto your furniture. A common mistake when it comes to picking scratching posts is picking a post that appeals to you instead of thinking about what fascinates your cat.
Here are the qualities of a good cat scratching post:
Choose a tall enough scratching post. A good starting point is at least 31 inches tall. A tall post allows your cat to stretch out its body fully.
Cats love to scratch couches and furniture as they are stable. So look for studier posts that don't wobble.
Wrap the post with a material that cats like to scratch. Such materials include sisal fabric material and heavy corrugated cardboard.
Cats love to scratch vertically and horizontally. Thus, a good rule of thumb is to choose both a vertical cat scratching post and a flat or angled scratching surface.
Make Sure Your Cat Discovers the Scratching Post
You've bought the right scratching post. So how do you make your cat discover it? One thing you can do is rub catnip on the scratching posts to attract your cat. The scent will surely attract it to the post.
Another way to get your cat interested in the posts is through wand toys. Begin by playing with a wand toy next to the scratching post. Once your cat joins in, hang the toy over the post. The cat will continually return to the post, especially when it's draped in sisal or any other scratch-worthy material.
Position the posts strategically where your cat is more likely to climb on them. Choose areas that your cat likes to hang around, like near windows. Another great location is near your cat's regular sleeping area.
Discourage Scratching of Your Desirable Objects
You want to stop your cat from scratching inappropriate objects like your furniture. The idea is to eliminate and substitute the pleasurable component with something rather unpleasant. Some of the simple home remedies include:
Apply the double-sided cat scratch tape on your couch, walls, and even doors. Cats detest the sticky feeling on their paws. The cat scratch tape is sticky and can help discourage cat scratching.
Cats naturally dislike citrus scents. So spray your couch with a citrus-scented spray.
Install clear vinyl panels on your sofa where your cat loves to leave scratch marks.
Position scratching posts next to your couch as an alternative scratching surface.
Face your speakers towards the wall to keep them safe from cat scratches.
Trim Your Cat's Claws
A quick trim of your cat's claws is not just about maintaining your pet's health. It also protects your furniture and carpets from cat scratches. Nail-trimming is a better alternative to declawing, which may lead to health and behavioral problems.
Nail Caps for Cats
Nails caps are small plastic covers worn over your cat's nails. Thus, your cat won't do damage if they scratch your couch.
You shouldn't be worried about the safety of the nail caps because your cat's nails will grow naturally, and he or she can still stretch and retract her nails even when putting on the caps.
Correct Your Cat's Action of Scratching Inappropriate Spots
By now, your cat should be clawing on the alternative scratching post. But if it tries to scratch your furniture, correct it by clapping your hands or spraying water towards it. Of course, the startling action should be a last resort, as you don't want your cat to fear you.
What Not to Do
Now that you're aware of the importance of cat scratching posts, you might be tempted to go overboard. Here are a few mistakes you should avoid.
First, do not hold your cat against the scratching post and force them to scratch it. This action may make your cat fear the scratching post and avoid it completely. He or she may also fear you because of the forceful action.
Second, don’t get rid of the scratching post when it becomes unattractive because of constant use. Cats love shredded and worn-out objects as their claws can penetrate the material. Moreover, cats mark their territory by scratching and leaving their scent on the used post.
The Bottom Line
Scratching is part of cats’ natural behavior. But this does not mean you should let them ruin your furniture. As a cat owner, the alternative is to teach your cat to use the right surfaces for this behavior, such as scratching posts.
Other solutions include using nail caps, trimming your cat's claws regularly, and applying citrus-scented spray on your furniture.
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