Having a cat sharpen its claws on your favorite couch or modern dining chairs can be frustrating. But it's important to understand this behavior is natural for cats before attempting to curb it.
So, the question arises: how to stop cats from scratching furniture? With some basic training techniques and provision of suitable alternatives, you can stop cats from scratching your luxury living room furniture.
Why Do Cats Scratch Furniture?
Cats have an innate desire to scratch objects in order to remove frayed outer sheaths from their claws and expose sharp new claw tips beneath. This is crucial for functions like hunting, climbing and self-defense.
Scratching also lets cats stretch their bodies and work their foot muscles. It is a completely normal behavior - but your home furnishings end up bearing the brunt.
Furniture Canada retailers report that scratched furniture is a leading cause for replacement. Over 30% of cat owners replace clawed-up furniture annually in Canada.
But by understanding your cat's scratching habits and redirecting them positively, you can avoid becoming part of this statistic.
How Can I Get My Cat to Stop Scratching Furniture?
With some effort, consistency and pet-friendly additions to your home decor accessories, you can curb furniture scratching for good. Follow these top tips:
Provide Appropriate Scratching Posts
The key is to divert your cat's scratching to designated surfaces, not to stop the act altogether. Offer scratching posts made of natural jute, corrugated cardboard or woven twine. These materials allow cats to truly hook and rake their claws.
Strategically place multiple posts around furniture to encourage proper scratching. Reward your cat with treats when they use these posts.
Use Anti Scratch Sprays on Furniture
Special detergent sprays contain odors offensive to a cat but undetectable to humans. Citric scents are especially effective deterrents. Just a light spritz on and around furniture is enough to keep most cats away.
Reapply these cat scratch deterrent sprays every few days.
Trim Nails Regularly
Keeping your cat's nails neatly trimmed reduces potential damage to furniture and rugs from scratching. Carefully extend each paw to expose the nails and use quality cat nail clippers for a safe trim. Avoid cutting nails too short to prevent pain and bleeding. Schedule trims every 2-3 weeks.
Use Double-Sided Tape
Apply strips of sticky double-sided tape to furniture edges and surfaces vulnerable to cat claws. Cats dislike the texture and will avoid areas with tape. Replace strips as needed until your cat learns those are not appropriate scratching spots.
Block Off Furniture
If your cat persists in scratching furniture, physically denying access is an option. Cover vulnerable surfaces like chair and sofa legs with furniture armor wraps. Place slipcovers over the armchair and sofa backs when not in use.
Close doors to rooms containing off-limit scratching zones.
Consider Furniture Material
If purchasing new furniture online (specifically), opt for leather, denim or canvas upholstery rather than delicate fabrics prone to snagging from cat claws.
Also choose exposed wood options since many cats dislike catching claws in gaps between veneers. Consider buying a new sofa with your hands on an expert sofa buying guide, you won’t regret later.
Be Patient and Consistent
Getting a stubborn scratcher to reform takes time and needs repeated reinforcement through positive and negative conditioning. Use deterrents consistently and reward good behavior without fail.
Most cats can be trained to scratch approved surfaces instead of furniture within a few weeks.
Call in Reinforcements if Needed
For extremely persistent furniture scratchers, temporary products like boundary sprays, indoor pet fences and scat mats can reinforce training. These create limited access zones to safeguard furniture.
Only introduce pet containment methods under supervision and remove once scratch-training is successful.
What Kind of Scratching Posts Work Best?
Choosing the right furniture protector is key to preserving your furniture. Consider the following:
Height - Tall, multi-level posts better mimic tree scratching in nature. Floor-to-ceiling posts are ideal.
Material – Jute rope wrapped poles, corrugated cardboard and woven twine allow for satisfying claw grip without splintering.
Stability - Heavy bases prevent tipping. Some incorporate cat perches atop posts for additional fun.
Location – Place posts strategically beside furniture in key cat traffic areas to ensure use. Make posts more enticing than furniture to scratch.
Quantity – Have multiple posts around target furniture since cats prefer variety.
Cat Preferences – Observe scratching surface preferences for texture and orientation and opt for similar posts.
With strategic placement, reward-based training and the right posts to scratch, you can redirect the natural behavior away from your furniture. Protect your precious belongings and bond more with your cat in the process!
How to Make DIY Cat Scratching Posts
Purchasing commercial cat scratching posts can get pricey. Make use of materials around your home to create customized DIY options at a fraction of the cost. Here are some ideas:
Secure halved logs or wide branches cut from trees horizontally to a sturdy base. Wrap jute twine tightly around the pole in a helical coil from end to end. The natural wood and twine texture attracts cats.
Cut the legs off an old pair of jeans and tightly wrap lengthwise around a floor-to-ceiling pole. The denim fabric provides an ideal scratchy surface for cats to grab and shred without damaging posts.
Gather empty cardboard paper towel, wrapping paper and fabric rolls. Stack rolls of varying diameters and heights together and hand wrap shredded sisal rope, strips of fabric or ribbon around the towers tightly from top to bottom. Let your cat destroying furniture without worries!
DIY posts allow you to experiment with different textures and components to discover your cat’s unique preferences. Place these directly by furniture that you want to safeguard from those sharp claws!
Protect Your Furniture Investment with Precautions
Buying furniture online is a major investment for Canadian homes. Protect your money by taking some simple precautions:
- Train kittens not to scratch furniture from the start through positive reinforcement. This prevents ingrained habits in adult cats.
- Clip nails routinely to minimize potential snagging damage during stretches and play.
- Use scratching posts and horizontal scratchers to divert natural behavior away from furniture. The more desirable alternatives, the better.
- Employ deterrents like double-sided sticky tapes on furniture as soon as scratching behavior is noticed. Early intervention is key.
- Purchase performance fabrics like leather or denim for durability if buying new furniture. Or opt for wood which is less appealing for cats to scratch.
Stay observant of cat scratching patterns. Address problem areas swiftly by making them unappealing and offering better alternatives.
Finally, how to stop cats from scratching furniture needs patience with training to break an innate behavior. With some foresight and effort, your modern sofas and cat can co-exist scratch-free!
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What is the best scratching post for cats?
The best cat scratching posts are tall, sturdy posts wrapped in sisal rope, jute, or the carpet. Optimal scratching posts allow cats to stretch fully and scratch vertically, mimicking natural tree scratching behavior.
Posts should also have a heavy base to prevent tipping during vigorous clawing activity.
Where should I place a cat scratching port?
Ideally place cat scratching posts right next to furniture that your cat attempts to scratch frequently. Posts must be more enticing and easier to access than the furniture itself.
Do cats scratch furniture out of anger?
No, cats scratching carpet or furniture is not out of anger or spite. Scratching is a cat behavior traced back to their territorial ancestors marking forest trees and sharpening claws for functions like hunting.
Why does my cat ignore her scratching post?
If your cat refuses to use her post, it likely doesn't meet her scratching needs. Ensure the scratching port is tall enough for a full stretch and that the material provides a satisfying shredding texture for her claws.
Also experiment with upright vs horizontal posts. Place new posts right beside clawed furniture to redirect the behavior.
How do I stop my cat from destroying the furniture when I am not home?
Use double-sided sticky tapes on furniture when you leave home to deter scratching in your absence. Consider cat enclosures to restrict access to vulnerable furnishings when unsupervised until scratching is curbed.
Pet cameras also help monitor remote furniture scratching when you cannot be present.