So, your cat is scratching up the furniture? No surprise there, this is an issue that cat lovers have dealt with for years! As much as we love and adore our precious feline friends, scuffed up and scratched furniture isn’t fun, nor is it cheap. While a cat scratching post seems like the obvious solution if you truly want to correct the behavior you have to get to the root cause of it.
Keep reading for the what, why, and how to stop your cats’ furniture scratching behavior.
Why Do They Do It
Cats use scratching for a multitude of reasons including:
- Marking territory visually
- Removing dead claws
- Leaving their scent (aka signature)
It is instinctual, a natural behavior. Felines have scent glands that are located on their paws so they are not simply scratching the object they are also marking it with their scent. Now, this is one thing that can hinder the redirection process as the object still has that alluring smell on it. And, the behavior could be more cat-a-strophic than damaging the furniture. Some cats will even scratch at carpets, curtains, and basically anything they can get their claws into.
How to Prevent Your Cat From Scratching the Furniture
Before you get too excited, let us just say, there is no 100% guaranteed way to prevent a cat from scratching at your furniture. It is, however, possible to deter them from scratching in certain places or on items. Redirecting kitty’s attention to objects that are appropriate for scratching is the key. But, how do we do that? Unless he is caught in the act, punishment will only cause confusion. Instead, use noises like clapping loudly or a water bottle to squirt him— but only if you witness the act.
Breaking the Habit: The Importance of a Quality Scratching Post
One of the most important aspects of redirecting your cats’ destructive scratching behavior is by providing an appropriate substitute. Cat scratching posts are a must-have for any cat owner.
Top 3 Cat Scratching Posts:
- SmartCat Pioneer Pet Ultimate Scratching Post: 32 inches in height with a sturdy 16” by 16” base, makes this a great option for cats that are obsessive scratchers.
- PetFusion Jumbo Cat Scratcher Lounge: This nifty two in one piece of cat equipment is built to be scratched, played, and lounged on. It is durable with the ability to support up to four large cats at any given time.
- Vetreska Cactus Cat Scratching Post: The Vetreska Cactus Scratching Post will make quite the conversation piece and your cat will love the versatility of it. It is easy to assemble as well.
Helpful Tips and Tricks
Always use non-violent discipline. Striking or hitting your cat will either cause him to fear you or to act out with defensive aggression. Neither of which, will make reaching your end goal any easier.
Bribery is always an option. Most pets, cats, dogs, or otherwise, enjoy a treat every now and then. If you see that Fluffy is using the designated scratching post instead of the furniture, offer him a tasty reward. This will help to reinforce the message that you are trying to convey.
Use some not so cat-friendly smells. Scent is a huge factor in the animal world. As stated earlier, the places that your cat has been scratching is positively covered in his scent. This is what keeps drawing him back to the object. Spritz fabric refreshers or even some perfume on the furniture to deter him from returning to it.
Supply your cat with plenty of alternatives. You don’t have to stop at a cat scratching post! Giving your furry child a variety of toys, puzzles, and hunting simulations will not only keep kitty out of mischief but also enrich their lives in more ways than one. From mental stimulation to physical exercise, the benefits are priceless. Redirect their energy with independent playtime and quality playtime with you!
With the above tools, you will have your kitty scratch-trained in no time at all. That, and accepting the fact that a cat is gonna scratch - it’s all about teaching them the appropriate places to do it. Dealing with a destructive cat, one that is damaging all of the furniture in the house, can be incredibly frustrating. All hope is never lost and it only takes some patience and a little finesse to get your favorite feline back on track.
Andrey is so compassionate, knowledgeable, creative and patient. He volunteered suggestions to me that I hadn’t thought of to address my cat’s scratching problems. Also, love his 22 page guide! A gem!