How to Stop Your Cat from Scratching Furniture: 6 Proven Tips
Your new couch is in tatters, your cushions are shredded, and your carpet looks like a battlefield. Who’s the culprit? Your sweet little kitty, looking very innocent as she single-handedly destroys all your nice things.
You may feel like giving up and surrendering your house to the cat, but don’t despair! Training cats not to scratch isn’t as hard as it sounds. All it takes is a little understanding, some good planning, and a couple of cat scratchers.
Why Do Cats Scratch?
While it’s certainly not ideal, there’s a straightforward reason why cats scratch furniture, carpets, and walls. Scratching behavior is an instinct all kitties have, and it actually serves useful purposes, like nail trimming and stress relief.
So why do cats scratch? Here are the main reasons:
- To groom themselves.
- To communicate.
- To mark their territory.
- To express emotions.
- To stretch.
Understand Your Cat's Behavior
Once you know why your kitty is scratching up all your furniture and carpets, you can help protect your home from the ravages of your fur baby. Here’s a little more insight into why cats scratch.
- Grooming and nail health: Scratching helps kitties sharpen their claws and shed dead skin. If your cat is scratching a lot, you may need to trim her nails or get her a scratcher.
- Communication: As much as you wish your kitty could simply open his mouth and tell you what’s wrong, he can’t. Sometimes your fur baby will scratch because he wants attention, wants to be fed, or needs to tell you something.
- Marking territory: Just like dogs, cats sometimes feel the need to mark their territory, and they do this by scratching.
- Expressing emotions: Sometimes, your little tiger will scratch if he’s excited, stressed, or just feeling good. If you don’t want your furniture scratched up, try giving your fur baby something else to scratch in these moments of high excitement.
- Stretching: Yep, sometimes your kitty is just scratching because she needs a good stretch. Who knew?
How to Stop Cat From Destructive Scratching?
While you can’t remove your kitty’s instinct to scratch, you can prevent him from utterly destroying your home. Here are a few ways to keep cats from scratching furniture and other items.
1. Get a Scratcher
One of the best things you can do to prevent cats from scratching furniture is to give them something else to scratch instead. A cat claw scratcher can help redirect your kitty’s claws to something that’s OK to scratch, rather than your brand new leather sofa.
Types of Cat Scratchers
Of course, which type of cat scratcher you choose is important. Here’s an overview of the most effective scratchers to keep your kitty from clawing your furniture.
If, after getting a nice scratching post, your feline is still scratching all over your furniture, it may be time to try furniture guards. Cats enjoy scratching surfaces with certain textures, so covering your kitty’s favorite scratching spot with something like slick vinyl is a good way to deter the little tiger.
- Floor Scratchers
If you often find your fur baby scratching up your carpets and cushions, a cat floor scratcher or horizontal scratching pad may be just what you need. Horizontal cat scratchers made from corrugated cardboard are usually popular with kitties, and a simple design is best.
2. Redirect Their Attention
If your cat is clawing to get attention or because he’s bored, it might help to redirect his attention. Here are a few ways to do just that:
- Spend a few minutes playing with your cat every day—whether that’s chasing balls, dangling feathers, or hiding catnip around the house.
- New toys and games may help entice your fur baby away from destructive scratching.
- A scratcher can help redirect your kitty’s attention to something that’s OK to scratch.
3. Make Objects Less Desirable for the Cat to Scratch
You can make inappropriate scratching less fun by covering your furniture or floor in something your cat won’t enjoy clawing, such as:
- Double-sided tape
- Plastic or vinyl
- Aluminum foil
- Plastic wrap
- An upside down carpet runner
- Citrus spray
Make sure to put a scratching post or cat floor scratcher near these objects so your kitty has something else to scratch.
4. Trim Your Cat's Nails Regularly or Arrange Claw Covers
Most kitties need their nails trimmed at least every two weeks. For safe nail trimming, make sure you follow these steps:
- Choose a quiet room and keep your cat comfortable.
- Gently massage your kitty’s paws first.
- Only trim the white part of the claw.
- Reward your kitty with a treat, and let her take a break if needed. Don’t try to trim all her claws in one sitting.
You can also try using plastic nail caps or scratch tape to protect your floors and furniture from those sharp claws. The drawback of nail caps is that they sometimes fall off, and of course, some felines would rather be caught dead than wear cat nail caps.
5. Arrange a Proper Exercise Routine and Take Them Outdoors
Most cats need about 30 minutes of exercise per day [link to this article]. While outdoor cats get that exercise naturally, you may need to help your indoor kitty stay active by:
- Playing with her
- Giving her interactive toys
- Taking her for a walk
- Getting her a playmate
Help your cat stay active on a rainy day with "The Donut" Cat Hideaway Cave & Scratcher!
6. Train Your Cat Not To Scratch The Furniture
- Give your kitty other things to scratch, whether it’s a post, a floor scratcher, or cardboard scratchers for cats.
- Put the scratchers in places where your fur baby hangs out often, such as by her bed, food, or the window.
- Make your furniture less fun to scratch by covering it in something like vinyl or foil, spraying it with citrus-scented spray (which kitties hate), or tucking a sheet around it.
- If your feline needs more incentive to scratch her posts instead of your couch, put catnip on or near the scratching post, or try to entice your kitty toward the post with a wand toy.
- If your fur baby is still scratching the furniture, try spraying it with Feliway. This can help calm cats down so they don’t feel the need to scratch.
- When you get new furniture, repeat step three until your kitty learns not to scratch it. From time to time, you may need to get new cat scratching posts or move them to new locations to keep things interesting. And remember to give your cat enough playtime and exercise so she doesn’t take her boredom out on your new furniture!
Sharing a home with your fur baby doesn’t have to come at the price of your carpets and furniture. With some good training, a few play sessions, and a nice scratching post or two, you and your kitty can have nice things!
SHOP CUSTOMER FAVORITES
MORE CAT TRAVEL RESOURCES & FUN
Shop the best gear & get more cat backpack and harness training resources: https://travelcatshop.com/ In this video from our Travel Cat Summit, we discuss tips for training your cat to travel...Read more
Shop the best gear & get more cat backpack and harness training resources: https://travelcatshop.com/ In this LIVE cat harness training session, we talk about how to harness train a cat. This...Read more
Shop the best gear & get more cat backpack and harness training resources: https://travelcatshop.com/ Hiking with your cat can be an enriching experience (when done properly). In this session...Read more