Claws are cats’ best friends. And sometimes your worst enemy. Cats spend a lot of time scratching—whether they are stretching, scratching in the litter box, scratching during play, marking their territory, or sharpening their claws. What many of our cat parents at Animal Care Center in Castle Pines CO want to know is: how do I stop my cat from scratching furniture?
As Lao Tzu said, “The best way to overcome evil is to make energetic progress in the good.” Meaning, positive reinforcement is the most effective method. Don’t try to stop your cat from scratching your furniture—instead, train your pet to scratch at an appropriate scratching station.
You CAN train cats
Many people think that cats have a mind of their own. It’s true that they are more independent than dogs, but they still respond to training. Success is all in how you go about it. Most cats love treats and will learn to do tricks if they think they will be rewarded with one. But scratching is a natural and necessary behavior for a cat, so the learning process will be much easier.
An ounce of prevention
One of the first things to consider is to “cat-proof” your furniture. You can wrap a sheet tightly around your sofa and armchairs if your cat has been scratching there. This will discourage them if they can’t get under the sheet. Cat parents have also had success wrapping aluminum foil or double sided sticky tape where their pet has been clawing. Turn your speakers toward the wall and temporarily remove your drapes if they have been attracting destructive behavior.
A pound of cure
Cats need to scratch, so if you provide scratching posts, they will happily use them. Try to provide different materials; not all cats like the same things. Some like cardboard, others like carpet. Some will go straight for wood, others will seek upholstery. A variety of posts in different locations will make your feline happy.
Some cats want to scratch on a vertical post, others prefer horizontal. The key for either one is that it must be sturdy and secure. If it moves, your cat will not use it. A post that is tall enough for the cat to stand and stretch will get abundant use. And your drapes will be spared.
Place the posts near the furniture that your cat loves to scratch. You can sprinkle catnip on the post to attract your pet. Tying toys to the post will also draw attention. Soon, your cat will lose interest in furniture and will spend scratching time on the post.
At Animal Care Center, we love pets and are always on the lookout for ways to improve their lives. If you have training tips and tricks you have used successfully, please share them with us on your next visit. Or if you are still wondering, “how do I stop my cat from scratching furniture,” we can help you explore further behavior training!