How To Keep Cats From Scratching Furniture

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Cats do many adorable things, like rolling around, purring, and curling up in your lap. This excuses many unfavorable habits, such as eating more treats than they should and leaving their fur on everything. However, it does not excuse one behavior: scratching furniture.

How To Stop Cats Scratching Your Furniture. Orange tabby cat crouching on a cream and peach patterned armchair, front paws extended clawing the chair cushion.

You can stop your cat from scratching furniture by buying scratching posts, making your furniture unattractive, and rubbing catnip on a cat tree. Start by placing the scratching post near your furniture and slowly move it away.

Why Do Cats Scratch Furniture?

Cats scratch furniture for three main reasons:

  1. To sharpen their claws for hunting
  2. To mark their territory
  3. To de-stress

Let’s talk about these reasons in some detail.

Cats Scratch To Sharpen Their Claws for Hunting

A cat’s most potent weapon is its claws. They keep these weapons sharp by scratching objects like wood, furniture, or carpet.

Scratching removes dead cells’ top coat and exposes the nail’s newer, sharper portion.

Cats Scratch To Mark Its Territory

Cat nails have scent glands. So whenever they scratch an object, they release their scent onto it. This helps them mark their territory. 

Most domestic animals, like dogs and cats, have sharp senses of smell. So a cat establishes its territory by ensuring other animals can smell them.

This is also why cats urinate in new houses and unfamiliar spaces. It’s called spraying, making them feel more at home in a new area.

Cats Scrath To De-stress

Cats also scratch to de-stress. Humans go to the gym and exercise to let out their frustration. Cats take it out on the furniture.

How to Train Your Cat to Use a Scratching Post

If you look closely at why cats scratch your furniture, you’ll realize that the reasons have little to do with the furniture itself. They do it because scratching helps them keep their nails sharp, mark their territory, and de-stress.

They can achieve all of these end goals by scratching anything. So the easiest way to stop your cat from scratching your furniture is by giving them something suitable and training them to scratch that instead.

Purchase a Variety of Scratchers

The next step in getting your cat to scratch the post is to purchase several cat scratchers. Every cat has its preferences, so having some different options is great.

For example, some cats prefer cardboard-like surfaces, while others prefer carpet or rope textures. Some cats like horizontal surfaces, while others like vertical surfaces.

Try to get a scratcher with a texture similar to the texture of your furniture. If your cat scratches a lot of different types of furniture, it will take some trial and error to figure out which one works best.

Make the Furniture a Less Attractive Scratcher

There’s a slight chance that your cat will insist on scratching the furniture even after you buy a new scratcher. There are a handful of practical techniques to cat-proof furniture and redirect its destructive behavior.

Cover your furniture with tape, blankets, foil, etc.

Covering upholstery with adhesive training aids, blankets, etc., discourages clawing by making furniture less appealing.

Cats choose a scratching surface based on texture. It may like your vertical plush sofas. Once you change the sofa’s texture, there’s a good chance your cat won’t want to scratch it anymore.

On the downside, you’ll have to cover up your sofa’s beautiful upholstery. It’s the easiest method, but it also has this aesthetic cost attached to it. Although, this may not be forever, only until your cat prefers the scratcher.

You can also spray a coffee scent perfume on the affected area – as long as it won’t ruin the furniture – as a deterrent, most cats don’t like the smell of coffee.

Spray odor-remover

Your cat might be scratching furniture that doesn’t smell like it. For instance, if you have another pet that sits on a particular chair a lot, your cat won’t like it. They’ll try to scratch the chair to make it smell like them.

Odor removers eliminate pet smells and ensure the chair doesn’t smell like anyone. That way, your cat isn’t pushed to mark its territory.

Place the Scratching Post Next to Your Furniture 

Encourage your cat to use the scratcher by putting it near the furniture they usually scratch. This way, they’re still going to the same area of your home they typically go to.

Hopefully, you’ve made your sofa undesirable using the method outlined in step 2. So now, when your cat gets to it, it will realize that it doesn’t want to scratch it, and instead, it’ll try out your new cat scratcher and realize that it has a better option.

In time it will get used to scratching it instead of your furniture.

Slowly Move the Scratcher Away from Your Furniture

Once your cat gets used to scratching the scratcher regularly, you can move it away from your furniture.

You can play with your cat using a laser near the cat scratcher to ensure your cat knows where you’ve moved it to. But you shouldn’t bring your cat over to it. Let your cat find and explore the scratcher by itself.

Rub Catnip on the Scratcher to Attract your Cat

Rubbing catnip on the scratcher will motivate your pet to go near it. Once there, it will start using the scratcher.

You can also place your cat’s favorite toy or treat on the scratcher to get it to explore the new scratcher.

Final Thoughts on Cat Scratching

Cats do many adorable things, but scratching furniture is not one of them. Luckily, you can train them to scratch cat scratchers instead. Many different types and styles of cat scratchers and cat trees are available in pet stores and online.

Before you go, you might find these articles helpful:

Why Do Cats Knead

Chew Toys For Cats

Can A Cat Play Too Much

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