We know that you love your cat, but you wouldn’t be the first cat parent to see red when you came home to find your expensive designer lounge suite shredded by over-active kitty claws!
Fear not. In this article, we outline five ways to keep your cat and your couch co-existing in happy harmony without having to rehome either one of them.
Why Cats Scratch
Cats love nothing more than to stretch and give their claws a work out on any surface that feels good. Carpets, soft furnishings and items such as wicker baskets are incredibly satisfying for a cat to scratch on.
Instinctively, scratching also helps to keep your cat’s claws sharp and ready for catching prey or escaping up a tree.
The scent from a cat’s footpad is also used to mark their territory. Cats will scratch their surrounding surfaces to leave their scent and deter other cats from encroaching on their territory.
If your kitty is bored she may also want to scratch your furniture out of boredom. This is especially common for indoor cats who do not have access to trees and fenceposts to flex their claws on.
How to stop your cat from scratching the furniture:
Clean marked objects
Clean the scratched and scented object with a non-ammonia based product such as Biozet washing powder. Ammonia-based cleaning products may instead encourage your cat to urinate or scratch in the area.
Install a commercial scratching post
Scratching posts come in many different sizes and shapes, but the most critical feature for your cat is the texture. Commercial scratching posts found in pet shops are usually covered in sisal or carpeting, although some cats prefer wood. Offer your cat a few different surfaces to find out which one they are most attracted to.
Transitioning your cat from hooking their claws into your favourite chair to using a scratching post instead may take some training and patience.
Try positioning the scratching post near the furniture they are currently scratching on and place a few toys or treats in the area to keep them interested. If you catch your cat in the act of scratching an undesirable surface, gently remove them and offer them the scratching post instead. As your cat starts to get used to the new scratching post, you can gradually move it to your desired location.
Provide boredom busters
Toys, human interaction and mental stimulation will all help to distract your kitty and minimise their temptation for destructive behaviour. Your cat may simply want your attention. In their minds, negative attention is the next best alternative to positive attention!
Provide safe places to escape to
Cats are more likely to want to scratch and mark their territory when they are feeling vulnerable.
Help your feline friend to feel more secure by providing safe places such as high shelves or platforms, cat igloos or separate rooms away from dogs, visitors or other cats.
Cats enjoy scratching on natural surfaces such as trees and fence posts, or grass thatch. Outdoor cat enclosures are a fantastic way to allow your cat access to the great outdoors without risking escape or harm to wildlife.
There are several commercially manufactured cat sprays such as Feliway available from pet shops that will help to deter your cat from scratching.
If you prefer a more natural home-made option, try making your own citrus spray by adding a few drops of lemon juice to a spray bottle filled with water.
Cinnamon, lavender or eucalyptus oils can also be effective, however we recommend that you test the spray on a concealed section of the furniture first to ensure that it doesn’t stain the fabric.
Have you found any other tried and true methods for keeping your feline friend from destroying your furniture?
Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org - we’d love to hear your suggestions!