To work out how to stop your cat from scratching your furniture, we need to understand why they scratch in the first place.
Why do cats scratch your furniture?
Scratching is one of their most basic instincts. They don’t do it to spite you… well, some might, but it’s more than that. Scratching is something that comes naturally to them. In the past it was how they survived in case of a threat, they needed to always be fight ready. As hunters their claws were their main weapon, so they needed to stay sharp. Over time, cats have maintained this need. As not every cat is lucky enough to have a human at their beck and call, so many of their predatory skills remain.
If your cat lives indoors, then they don’t have access to the normal resources a cat would have outdoors or in the wild. Therefore, to scratch, your furniture is their only option. They choose your carpets or sofa because they are usually made from the perfect material to sink their claws into.
Sometimes cats will simply scratch things out of boredom and pent-up energy, it is a good idea to play with your cat often and provide them with toys, so they can release that energy in a positive way.
So how can we prevent our furniture from being destroyed?
Offer your cat scratching posts, towers, mats, boards, and toys. By giving your cat options designed for their needs, they will be more likely to use them if it results in praise rather than being told off. Scratching posts and towers work well because they serve multiple purposes. Cats like to climb and sleep in high places, so giving your cat an all-in-one tower is just clever thinking.
Before buying one, think about your cats’ behaviour. Does your cat prefer clawing the carpet or does your cat usually choose the edge of your sofa? Keep this in mind because it will save you money on buying products that they may not use, cats can be fussy, so choose wisely.
Be sure to have something for them to scratch in each room they spend time in. If your sofa is close by and the scratching post is in the other room, your cat might not always feel like walking the distance and will choose what is easiest.
To get your cat to use a scratching post we suggest leaving treats near the post to attract them to it. You can even spray it with catnip, to entice your cat to investigate.
When your cat starts to scratch up your furniture, make a noise, clapping works well to get their attention and to stop them. Then pick them up and move them to the post. Gently place their paws against it – how the cat would if they were scratching. With some time, your cat will get the message and should start to go there to scratch instead.
You can also use sprays and diffusers. Catnip can entice a cat, as they love the smell, spray this on items and in areas you want your cat to use. You could also use a deterrent on the furniture where you don’t want your cat to touch. A combo of both works wonders.
These are some tried and true methods used by cat owners all over. With a little patience, these methods should work for you too. So you and your cat can enjoy your home, destruction-free.