Perhaps one of the biggest downsides to owning cats is the damage they can cause to furniture when they choose to scratch their claws. It can be very unsightly particularly as they tend to always scratch in the same place and can end up being expensive as the furniture needs replacing.
Cats need to scratch for a number of reasons – to stretch, to mark their territory and to keep their claws trim, but unfortunately, if they start on the furniture, often providing them with a single new scratch post won’t work as they have already decided on their favorite scratching place in your home.
Fortunately, there are ways to change this annoying habit and to modify your cats’ behavior in a relatively short space of time.
Buy several cat scratching posts which are tall and sturdy, and place them in strategic locations around your home. You need to place one next to the place your cat is already scratching and the others in places your cat likes to sleep as they often stretch and scratch when they first wake up.
Every time your cat uses the scratching posts give it a special treat as a reward and try placing treats near the posts to encourage your cat to explore and try out the post and to peak their interest in the post itself. If you have any cat pheromone spray, use this on the posts so they smell familiar.
This is an important step – you need to make the furniture places where your cat was previously clawing, very unattractive to your cat. This can be done in a number of ways, for example, tying a piece of material around it very tightly, or sticking double-sided sticky tape around the area so that it’s unpleasantly sticky for your cat to touch.
Other ideas include covering the area with tin foil. All of these measures might seem unsightly but they are only temporary so don’t worry too much about that and they are just to deter your cat. You can also try spraying the area with citrus as cats don’t like this smell.
By contrast, you want to attract your cat to the scratching posts so try putting catnip treats around them to encourage interest. Try playing with a cat toy which you can dangle from the post so the cat is encouraged to interact and play – that way it might almost discover the post by accident.
Continue to play regularly with your cat around the post so that it feels happy and calm in this area and associates the post with good feelings and fun. Try adding new toys to the area by the post and moving the posts if need be.
Hopefully, by now your cat won’t be clawing at the furniture anymore and will instead be focussing on her new clawing posts instead so it’s just a case of keeping up the interest and soon your cat will forget all about the furniture and you will be able to remove the deterrent materials safely.
If you think your cat is clawing and scratching due to stress then you can try speaking to your vet to get products which will calm them down as this might also help to solve the dilemma. There are sprays or plugins which work to calm cats down.
As you buy new furniture your cat might start taking an interest in using it as a new scratching post again so you might need to go back to the deterrent sticky tape again just for a few days until it loses interest and goes back to the scratching posts.
If none of these methods work then you might have to cover your furniture legs or arms with slippery padding so that your cat’s claws don’t catch in it and then there will be no point in it trying to scratch in that area anymore as it won’t be effective.
All of these methods should work to stop your cat clawing on the furniture, or alternatively, if your cat won’t use scratching posts, perhaps give your cat a piece of old furniture in a corner of the room which can be scratched happily, while keeping your new furniture protected.
Cats clawing furniture can be annoying but there are methods to help change their behavior and the best way is to make sure your cat goes outside as then they can scratch on trees or wooden fences to their heart’s delight, without causing any damage.
Scratching and clawing is a natural part of any cat’s routine but by following these tips you should be able to live in happy harmony with your feline without getting stressed out by their behavior.