Are you pulling your hair out wondering how to keep cats from scratching furniture in your home? If so, we’re here to give you some answers.
Your pet might have done a number on your leather couch, or torn up your favorite comfy chair. And now that you’ve finally gotten around to replacing it with a beautiful new piece of furniture, you want to protect it!
The good news is, there are a lot of time-tested, effective methods of addressing this frustrating aspect of cat behavior. So you’re sure to find one that can help keep that new chair safe from your cat’s claws for years to come!
We’ll get to that in a second. But first it’s important to know why cats scratch the furniture in the first place.
A Natural Instinct
We’ll get to that in a second. But first, it’s important to know why cats scratch the furniture in the first place.
You can’t really blame a kitten or adult cat for scratching. Cats love to do it. It’s a natural instinct.
They scratch to spread their scent. They also scratch when they play, when they stretch, and after they wake from a nap.
Another common reason they scratch is that the claws at the end of their paws need to be sharpened. This removes the outer claws so the new cat nails can come through. Unfortunately, this aspect of a cat’s behavior can be incredibly destructive.
What Can You Do About It?
Clawing may be a natural part of cat behavior, but that doesn’t mean you should let them scratch anywhere they want. When it comes to how to keep cats from scratching furniture, there are many things you can do.
Remember to be patient and use plenty of positive reinforcement. This means being gentle at all times and rewarding good cat behavior with treats. Never raise your voice, and never act toward your pet in an aggressive manner.
Here are a few methods you can use to try to keep your cat’s paws from wreaking havoc in your home.
This is one of the easiest ways to train your cat not to scratch your furniture. A lot of pet owners will have one scratching post in their living room, but you might want to consider having a few different ones in different areas. After all, your cat doesn’t just stay in one room. He or she likes to roam around your home.
Scratching posts come in a lot of different shapes, and are made from a variety of materials, including cardboard, carpet, sisal, and material similar to upholstery.
Whatever type of posts you purchase, make sure they’re sturdy. If a post falls over or collapses when your cat has their paws on it, they might not want to use it anymore.
Add Catnip and Toys
Many cats have a hard time resisting catnip. You can use this to your advantage! Sprinkle some catnip on the scratching posts to encourage your feline to explore them. You could also hang some small toys on the posts to make them even more attractive.
Keep a Trimmer Handy
Give your cat nail trims on a regular basis to keep their paws from becoming weapons of furniture-destruction. If you don’t know how to do this, talk to a vet first. You might even consider taking your cat to the vet for trims until you’re comfortable doing it yourself.
You could also try putting plastic caps on your cat’s paws. These contain an adhesive substance that sticks to the cat’s claws, so they can’t do damage. You will typically need to replace them every month or so.1 You should easily be able to find these caps at your nearest pet supplies store.
Vinyl Carpet Runner
A vinyl carpet runner has a prickly feel on the underside that you can use as a cat deterrent. Your cat probably won’t like the feeling of it on his or her paws, so it can make them not want to walk in that area.
You can find a vinyl carpet runner at your local hardware store. Cut it down to the size you need, and place it where you don’t want your pet to scratch.
Declawing is NOT an Option
Some pet owners believe declawing is the easiest way to keep a kitten or adult cat from scratching furniture, but declawing is widely considered to be extremely cruel.
Some might think declawing is fine for indoor cats because they don’t have to defend themselves outside in the wild. But the truth is, it doesn’t matter whether you’re talking about indoor cats or outdoor cats — declawing is just flat out wrong.
Declawed cats have no method of defense.
Even worse, the declawing procedure is incredibly painful. It actually involves amputation of bones on both paws. There are also many risks involved, including bleeding, infections, and more.2
At a Loss? Talk to Your Vet
Trying to figure out how to keep cats from scratching furniture can be maddening. You’ve tried to train your cat not to sink their nails into your furniture. You’ve tried positive reinforcement. But your cat’s claws remain a problem. What can you do?
If you try the above tips and your cat is still scratching up the carpet or your furniture with their nails, talk to your veterinarian. They may recommend a feline behaviorist who can help.
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