how to stop cats from scratching furniture

Check out these proven ways to keep your cat from scratching furniture.

Does anyone remember the song Cat Scratch Fever, by Ted Nugent? It was released in 1977 and in 2009, VH1 named it the 32nd best rock song of all time. But, we digress. No matter how much you love your cat(s), if they are tearing up your furniture, it’s time to find a solution. We’re here to help.

Do All Cats Scratch Furniture?

Scratching is a normal aspect of cat behavior. In the wild, cats scratch their claws to remove the dead layer of claw (think of it like a cat manicure), which helps to keep their claws sharp for hunting. Scratching also lets them mark their territory. They have scent glands between their claws and the scratch marks themselves are a visual sign to other cats that this area is occupied. Scratching and stretching also help them to keep their bodies in good shape.

So, your much-loved cat is simply being a cat. However, it’s not fun if they decide to leave their calling card on your furniture, drapes or carpets. So here are some proven ways to keep a cat from scratching furniture.

Don’t Declaw Your Cat

Declawing your cat is not recommended. It’s a surgical procedure that involves removing the last bone in each of your cat’s toes to prevent the claws from regrowing. It can lead to behavior problems such as biting and refusal to use a litter box.

Provide Scratching Posts

Kittens begin to scratch at around 8 weeks old, so start training your cat when it’s young, by providing scratching posts or stands. Your cat can still indulge in its natural behavior, but without shredding your furniture. And, here’s more awesome DIY cat furniture to entertain your cat.

Use Cat Scratch Spray

Using a cat scratch spray will trick your cat into thinking that it has already marked its territory, discouraging it from scratching where you don’t want it to. You can purchase a spray to stop cats from scratching furniture, but it’s easy to make your own homemade cat scratching spray using vinegar, essential citrus oils, or even garlic and peppermint! And if you’re trying to keep your cat off your kitchen countertop, here are 10 ways to do it.

Buy cat deterrent spray now on Amazon.

Use Cat Scratch Tape

If you’re wondering how to stop cats from scratching leather furniture, then cat scratch tape is the answer. It also works well on fabric, carpet and hard surfaces such as walls and doors. This double-sided sticky tape comes in panels or rolls like regular tape, and can be stuck where you need it and removed easily afterward. Cats hate the feeling of stickiness on their paws, so it discourages scratching. Buy cat scratch tape now on Amazon.

Try Socks or Nail Caps

Cat socks (aka mittens) to prevent scratching are an alternative to declawing. These socks work well for some cats, but if yours gets frustrated and keeps removing them, try soft nail caps that glue onto your cat’s claws. These will limit the damage if your cat does decide to scratch where it shouldn’t. Buy soft nail caps now on Amazon and cat socks now on Amazon.

Protect with Vinyl Guards

Yet another option is to install clear vinyl panels on your furniture where your cat wants to scratch. These panels are available in many sizes and they come with screw pins that make the panels very easy to install. Buy clear vinyl panels now on Amazon.

So, while you might not be able to keep cat from scratching furniture altogether, these tips can reduce the likelihood of damage to your home.

Can’t remember Cat Scratch FeverYou’re welcome.

Train Your Cat to Stop Scratching Your Couch in 7 Days or Less

You can train your cat not to scratch your couch.

Are you familiar with the following scenario? You stumble into the living room in the morning on your way to the kitchen for coffee, and you see it: a brand new, Wolverine-worthy set of claw marks down the entire side of your couch. While you slept, your feline bundle of fur and energy added more scratch marks to your sofa.

Your fussy Aunt Gertrude is coming for a visit in two weeks, your new sofa is arriving in seven days, and you need to make sure that your cat doesn’t give your aunt another reason to scold your housekeeping abilities. How can you teach your cat to stop scratching your couch in just seven days?

Train your kitty to scratch what you want them to when they are young.

Why Do Cats Scratch?

Before you can teach your cat not to scratch your couch (or your other furniture), you have to understand why she does it in the first place. Cats scratch things for several reasons, including:

  • To stretch. Scratching provides exercise and valuable stretching for the muscles and tendons in a cat’s body from her toes to her neck and shoulders.
  • To mark. A cat’s paws contain scent glands and scratching things releases odors that mark her territory. It’s important to feline social structures to use this method of communication. Even if you only have one cat in your household, she will feel the need to transmit information in this manner.
  • To maintain claw health. Scratching helps a cat shed the outside nail husk periodically as needed, to keep the claw healthy.
  • To feel good. Scratching just feels great to cats. It relieves stress and decreases the possibility that your cat will develop other unwanted behaviors.

Why Not Declaw?

Now that you know why scratching is important to cats, you might wonder if it would be best just to have your cat declawed, so you don’t have to worry about ruined furniture. It’s important to understand that declawing a cat is an amputation of the digits up to the first joint. It’s painful, fraught with possible complications during and after surgery, and changes the way your cat walks, balances, and interacts with her world. You can learn more about why declawing is considered inhumane by many people, is banned in several countries, and may be made illegal in some US cities soon in this article: “Declawing Cats: Banning Declaw Surgeries.”

Cats playing with toys and scratching posts is great for their body and mind.

The 7-Day Stop Scratching Boot Camp Plan

The good news is that you absolutely can get your cat to stop scratching your sofa. In time for Aunt Gertrude’s visit, too. Follow the easy steps below to save your new couch from suffering the same fate as your old one.

There are more exciting things to scratch than your favorite couch!
There's room for two atop the Command Center bundle.
  • Day 1: Decide on, locate, and purchase several cat scratching posts and some interactive cat toys. This is a critical step in the process. It is essential that you choose the right kind of post because providing your cat with a scratching surface that she doesn’t like isn’t going to work. Make sure that you choose a post that is strong, sturdy, tall, and covered in a material that cats love to scratch. Learn more about choosing a great cat scratching post in this article: “How to Choose the Best Cat Scratching Post.”
  • Day 2: Place the cat scratching posts strategically around your home. Choose places that your cat already likes to hang out, such as near windows and in the family room with you. Cats also love to stretch and scratch when they first wake up from a catnap, so placing a post near her regular sleeping area is a good idea. Cats scratch partly to mark territory, so don’t tuck the post away in an unused corner. Place it front-and-center so she can show off. It’s also important to place a post in front of the area of the couch that your cat is scratching. When you see your cat investigating the new posts, give her quiet praise and a cat treat if she likes them.
  • Day 3: Make the couch an unattractive place for scratching. You can accomplish this by using one or more of the following techniques:
    • Tuck a sheet around the scratched area of the couch tightly so your cat can’t get under it to scratch the couch.
    • Use double-sided tape or aluminum foil on the couch.
    • Spray the couch with a citrus-scented spray because cats have a natural aversion to citrus odors.
  • Day 4: Get your cat interested in the scratching posts by sprinkling them with catnip or spraying them with honeysuckle. Learn more about catnip and honeysuckle.
  • Day 5: Get your cat even more interested in the post(s) by using a wand toy. Start by playing with the wand toy a few feet away from the post. Once your cat is playing along, sweep the toy so that its end drapes over the post. Often, when cats “discover” their post this way, especially when it’s covered in a great scratch-worthy material like sisal fabric, they will come back to it again and again.
  • Day 6: By this point, your cat should not be trying to scratch your sofa anymore, but if she is, consider adding the product Feliway to your anti-scratching arsenal. Feliway is a product that mimics the feline facial pheromone that makes cats feel calmer. If your cat is scratching your couch because she is feeling stressed, Feliway can help. Spray the sofa and any areas that your cat normally hangs out. Continue to play with your cat near the scratching post, and reward her with praise and treats when she uses it.
  • Day 7: Enjoy your new couch, and get ready for Aunt Gertrude’s visit. Your cat should now be using her scratching post instead of your couch. When your new couch arrives, you may need to make it unattractive to her for a few days to a week, so she immediately knows that it isn’t a place for scratching. Use whatever method worked to keep her from scratching the old couch on Day 3. As time goes on, you should keep things interesting for your cat by adding new scratching posts, moving them to interesting spots around the house, and making sure that you continue to schedule play sessions daily with your cat, using new toys sometimes.

If your cat has been through this 7-day training boot camp and is still scratching inappropriate surfaces in your home, consider using SoftPaws® nail caps. These are hollow, vinyl coverings for your cat’s claws that protect the surfaces she scratches from damage. They are non-toxic, non-irritating, and easy to apply.

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