It is well-known by the general public that cats are scratching machines. They typically scratch when they are playing, stretching, grooming, and sometimes when they are excited and happy but some pet owners complain when there beloved sofa where damaged, so many pet owners ask, how to stop cats from scratching on furniture?
Contrary to popular belief that scratching is a symptom of aggression, it is a healthy behavior for cats to scratch whenever the need arises.
A cat’s instinct to scratch is behavioral and has evolved for cats to reduce contact with others. The scratching behavior is territorial and tells other cats around the area that another cat is already inhabiting the location they are about to enter. Domesticated cats are mainly non-confrontational creatures so they would just leave scratch marks to indicate their territory, instead.
Cats scratch for various reasons and they will scratch anything in their vicinity. Unfortunately, it is very likely for cats at home to scratch the furniture. In this article, we will be going to a cat’s mind and explore why they need to scratch. Most importantly, we will be teaching you tips on how to keep a cat from scratching the furniture you love.
Table of Contents
Why Do Cats Like To Scratch?
Here are the reasons why cats like to scratch any surface they see.
1. Territory marking
Scratching for cats is comparable to peeing for dogs; they both use it to mark their territory. To mark territories on horizontal surfaces such as a floor, cats pee on it. On the other hand, when it comes to vertical surfaces such as the side of a sofa, they scratch on it.
Scratch marks are visual cues that the area surrounding your cat is their personal space, and other pets should proceed with caution.
You’ll usually notice your cat scratching if you’ve just relocated to a new home or if you got a new cat or dog. The same circumstance also happens with families who just had a baby, cats become territorial and see anyone new as a threat to their own space.
2. Remove dead outer layers of claws
Cats will scratch their claws against a rough surface such as a bark of a tree when they are already too long or too dirty. Consistent scratching will gradually file down a cat’s nails to their desired length and will sharpen it which they like.
3. Stress Relief
Cats also undergo anxiety and scratching can be one way to release anxiety, therapeutically. It is equivalent to humans using a stress ball to relieve tension. Through clawing, they remove any stress in their body and keep their mind relaxed.
If your furbaby had a negative interaction with another cat, you may notice them start to scratch. This helps them to wind down and take away all the frustrations.
Stretching their arms and legs and applying force through scratching is a way for cats to exercise. It is the equivalent of spending 15 minutes on a punching bag at the gym.
Cats are able to stretch their bodies while using flexing their limb muscles to scratch whenever they play with the scratcher.
5. Well, cats enjoy scratching!
Cats see scratching as a fun activity to do, especially when their scratcher has other fun attachments such as pompom teasers or little holes to make playtime more fun.
How Do You Keep Your Cat From Scratching Your Furniture?
If you catch your cat scratching your furniture, it is essential to correct the behavior as soon as possible. Do not physically reprimand your cat because hitting them is not an effective deterrent to scratching. A firm “no,” while directly staring at them, is more suitable.
Many cat parents recommend the water spray bottle method, keep a spray bottle in your living room, and when your furbaby begins to scratch, spray them with water.
However, the best technique for scratching is not to stop your furbaby from scratching, but instead, by teaching them where and what to scratch. An effective method is to provide your cat with appropriate, cat-attractive surfaces and objects to scratch, such as scratching posts.
In this section, we will be providing guides on how to stop a cat from scratching the furniture.
Dealing With Your Furniture
Some of your furniture will always serve as your cat’s favorite scratching location. In this case, there are various options you can try:
- Put double-sided tape on the furniture. Cats generally do not find sticky areas appealing because their hairless skin is extremely sensitive. Adhering a double-sided tape on your furniture’s surface will help discourage your cat from scratching your furniture.
- Cats do not like the feeling of plastic because of the way it smells and feels. You could cover the furniture with a plastic cover if you are not at home to deter your furbaby from staying on your plastic-covered furniture.
- When buying new furniture, consider getting a microfiber fabric instead of a tweed-like fabric. Cats are not pleased with scratching fluffy materials because their claws will not get through it.
- Consider getting an anti-cat scratch spray to deter your cat from going near a certain area and scratching the furniture within. If your cat likes to scratch every piece of furniture in a specific room, this is a practical solution.Spray a small section of your furniture with an anti-cat scratch spray to make sure that it doesn’t discolor or fade first. If it didn’t do anything, apply liberally around the furniture and the room.
This spray is totally safe for cats and humans as it only contains natural components such as essential oils, which makes the area smelling less desirable for cats to be in.
Since cats will always have the instinct to scratch and there is no way for us to stop them, it is essential to offer them a designated cat scratching post. Keep in mind that your cat does not intentionally want to scratch your furniture either, but because there wasn’t an alternative for them to scratch, they are left without a choice.
Location is everything
If you already have a scratch post and your cat still scratches your furniture, it may be because the scratcher is in an unstrategic location. It may be too hard to reach or in an uncomfortable, isolated place. Consider the places where your cat usually goes and put the scratcher there.
For guaranteed success, place your cat scratcher next to the furniture they scratch the most to give them an accessible and directly available alternative.
If your cat still prefers to scratch your furniture even though the scratcher is nearby, you can put catnip around the scratcher to get your cat’s attention. The catnip scent will increase the likeability of your cat to scratch the post instead of your furniture.
A Scratcher’s Texture and Material Has a Huge Impact
Wild cats use tree trunks and barks to scratch, so your cat’s scratcher should resemble the same type of texture. Fluffy scratchers are not the best kind because these won’t be enticing for your cat and they will not feel satisfaction after scratching it.
The best scratchers have sturdy, durable texture or a rope wound around the scratching post. These are commonly durable, sturdy, and will feel suitable for your cat to scratch because they have a firm texture they love.
When you select a scratcher, try choosing one in a different color for your carpet and furniture. This will give your cat a clear distinction between their scratcher and the pieces of furniture that you don’t want them to scratch.
How to Trim Your Cat’s Nails
It is general knowledge that cats are one of the cleanest and hygienic pets because of their routine to groom. However, they do not have the capability to maintain their claws properly and as a pet parent, it is your responsibility to assist them in trimming their nails to keep them clean and less dangerous.
Cat’s nails should be done every two to three weeks. You can either go to the veterinarian to have this done or you can cut your cat’s nails at home by using cat claw trimmers or scissors. Here are some tips if you decided to do it on your own:
Introduce nail trimming while your cat is still young
Trimming your cat’s nails while they are still kittens will give them an ample amount of time to get used to the feeling of someone handling their paws and trimming off the nails. By the time they become adults, you will have fewer struggles in trimming their claws.
Go slowly but surely
Due to the absence of fur, a cat’s paw is one of the most sensitive parts of its body. With the constant holding and touching of the paws while in the process of nail trimming, it is highly likely they will pull away from you while in the process.
To resolve this issue, during petting sessions, try slowly warming up your cat to the trimming routine. Once your cat is on your lap, touch one of the paws and gently push the pads to extend the claw while praising them. If she is getting tense, finish the session and continue doing this again in the next session.
Once your cat is used to the feeling of being held on its paw, introduce clipping. As you start the first sessions, it is not necessary to finish trimming all the claws in a single session – one to two clipped nails is essential because we will be gradually introducing trimming to your cat.
Once your cat is absolutely used to the trimming session, you can continue trimming all the nails in one sitting.
Trim while they are sleeping
Cats are most relaxed and well-behaved when they are asleep, so why not take advantage of it? When trimming your cat’s nails while they are sleeping, be gentle and quiet to avoid waking them up and being startled.
On average, you can trim one to two claws per session, but don’t worry! Cats get a lot of sleep during the day, so you’ll have many opportunities to trim their nails.
Be mindful of the claw length
The sharp end of your cat’s nail punctures your furniture, so that’s the only part you want to trim. It is the clear part of the nail when extended, so spotting it will not be an issue.
Always use a sharp, well-maintained trimmer
Dull trimmers will cause splinter to your furbaby’s nail that can cause discomfort and sometimes bleeding. If your trimmer seems to become dull, replace it immediately before using it again.
By following this guide, we assure you that this will give you some ideas on how to stop cats from scratching furniture you love. Just be patient and keep in mind that this cat behavior is perfectly natural. With guidance and help, you will be able to redirect them to the proper behavior.