As a pet owner, it's common to ask how to deal with cat scratching furniture, should I declaw my cat, and what should I do if my cat doesn’t stop scratching?
Although scratching is a natural instinct for cats to do so, it can be quite bothersome and unpleasant for us.
In this blog post, we’ll go through the nature of scratching for cats and provide you with effective tips you can use.
Why Do Cats Scratch?
Pet owners always keep learning about their pet behavior, so before asking how to deal with cat scratching furniture you have to ask why they do this.
Scratching is a normal, healthy behavior for cats as a way for them to exercise, mark their territory, and keep their claws sharp, and a good sign that they're feeling happy and relaxed.
Here are the three reasons why cats scratch:
Cats need to exercise their muscles regularly and stretching for cats means scratching. So when they scratch they stretch their paws and legs to keep their body flexible.
Cats scratch to mark their territory. They leave their scent on the surface they're scratching, which tells other cats that this is their space.
Cats have a natural instinct to scratch. It's a way for them to remove the dead outer layer of their claws and keep them sharp.
Should You Declaw Your Cat?
To stop cat scratching furniture, you may think of declawing your cat but it is a controversial topic that has many pros and cons, such as:
- Some pros are that your cat will not scratch you or your furniture and may reduce the number of cats in shelters.
- While by declaw your cat, may lose its natural ability to defend itself, climb, and jump and may suffer health problems.
When making your decision consider these factors:
- The age of your cat. Declawing is safest when done on kittens, but it can still be done on adult cats. However, adult cats may experience more pain and complications from surgery.
- The health of your cat. If your cat has any health problems, declawing may not be the best option for them.
How to deal with cat scratching furniture?
Are you tired of finding your furniture scratched and clawed by your beloved feline friend? We understand the struggle and here’re effective ways how to deal with cat scratching furniture.
1. Provide an alternative:
Cats scratch to mark territory and keep their claws in good condition. By offering them a suitable alternative, such as a scratching post or a cat tree, you can redirect their attention away from your furniture. Make sure to choose a sturdy and appealing option that is tall enough for your cat to fully stretch and scratch.
2. Make it enticing:
Cats are attracted to different textures, so experiment with different materials to find what your feline prefers. Sisal, cardboard, and rough fabrics are often popular choices. Rubbing catnip or a few drops of catnip oil on the scratching post can also make it more enticing.
3. Protect your furniture:
While redirecting your cat's scratching behavior, it's wise to protect your furniture as well. Use furniture covers or blankets to shield vulnerable areas. Sticky tape or double-sided tape can also be effective in deterring cats from scratching certain surfaces.
4. Positive reinforcement:
Cats respond well to positive reinforcement. Whenever you catch your cat using the scratching post or any other appropriate scratching surface, reward them with treats, praise, or playtime. This will help them associate good behavior with positive experiences.
5. Regular nail trimming:
Keeping your cat's nails trimmed can significantly reduce your cat scratching furniture. Make sure to use proper cat nail clippers and take caution to avoid cutting the quick. If you are unsure how to trim your cat's nails, consult your veterinarian or a professional groomer.
6. Use deterrents:
Cats dislike certain scents, so you can use natural deterrents to discourage them from scratching furniture. Citrus sprays, diluted essential oils (like lavender or eucalyptus), or commercial cat deterrent sprays can all be effective. Be cautious and avoid using any products that may be harmful to your cat.
Remember, patience and consistency are key when trying to modify your cat's behavior. It may take some time for them to fully adjust to the new scratching options. By implementing these strategies, you can create a cat-friendly environment that satisfies their natural instincts without sacrificing your furniture.
Is my cat being deliberately destructive?
No, your cat is not deliberately destructive. However, it’s an annoying habit for people, scratching is, in most cases, necessary for cats when they need to make their territory, excited, needs to stretch their muscles, or remove dead layers from their claws.
To prevent cats from scratching, try trimming their claws regularly, and reward their cat with pads to scratch it instead of furniture.
How do I choose the best scratching post for my cat?
The answer to how to deal with cat scratching furniture questions is Scratching Post. But how to choose the best type?
Selecting the right scratching post for your cat is crucial in encouraging them to use it instead of your furniture. Here are some factors to consider when choosing the best scratching post:
1. Height and Stability:
Cats love to stretch and fully extend their bodies while scratching. Look for a post that is tall enough for your cat to reach comfortably. It should also be sturdy and stable to withstand their scratching and climbing without tipping over.
2. Material and Texture:
Cats have personal preferences when it comes to scratching surfaces. Common materials include sisal rope, cardboard, carpet, and wood. Observe your cat's scratching preferences to determine which texture they prefer. It's a good idea to offer a variety of materials to see what they like best.
3. Size and Design:
Consider the size of your cat and the available space in your home. The scratching post should be large enough for your cat to comfortably maneuver around it. If you have multiple cats, choose a post that can accommodate all of them simultaneously.
4. Vertical and Horizontal Options:
Cats have different scratching preferences, and some may prefer horizontal scratching surfaces over vertical ones. Providing a scratching post that offers both options can cater to your cat's individual preferences.
5. Location and Accessibility:
Place the scratching post in a prominent and easily accessible location. Cats tend to scratch in areas where they spend most of their time. Placing the post near furniture they tend to scratch can also help redirect their attention.
6. Quality and Durability:
Invest in a scratching post that is well-made and built to last. Cheaper options may quickly deteriorate, leading to an unsatisfied cat and the need for frequent replacements. A durable post will provide your cat with a long-lasting and satisfying scratching experience.
Each cat is unique, and their scratching preferences may vary. It may take some trial and error to find the perfect scratching post that your cat loves. By considering these factors and paying attention to your cat's preferences, you can choose a scratching post that will keep them happily engaged and your furniture scratch-free.
How to train your cat to scratch a post?
To train your cat to use a scratching post instead of scratching furniture, follow these steps:
- Choose a suitable scratching post: Select a post that matches your cat's preferences for material and texture.
- Place the post near the furniture they tend to scratch.
- Encourage exploration: Rub catnip on the post or use treats to make it appealing.
- Redirect their attention: When you catch them scratching furniture, gently guide them to the post.
- Reward positive behavior: Praise and reward your cat when they use the scratching post.
- Be consistent: Continue redirecting and rewarding consistently.
- Trim their nails regularly to minimize damage.
By following these steps, you can teach your cat to redirect its scratching behavior from furniture to the scratching post.
Because the answer to how to deal with cat scratching furniture may vary from one cat to another, your cat may not stop scratching!
What Can I Do If My Cat Won’t Stop Scratching?
If you tried to discourage your cat scratching furniture by covering the furniture or introducing a new scratching post. Although this may take some time for your cat to stop, if the cat doesn’t stop, you need to visit a vet.
Here’re two steps you can do until visiting the vet..
1. Identify the cause of the scratching:
There are many reasons why cats scratch, so it’s important to figure out the root cause of your cat’s scratching behavior. Some possible causes of scratching include:
- Itchy skin
- Fleas or other parasites
- Territorial marking
- Lack of scratching posts
2. Treat the underlying cause:
Once you’ve identified the cause of your cat’s scratching, you can take steps to treat it. For example:
- If your cat has itchy skin, bathing them with a special shampoo and applying an anti-itch cream can be helpful.
- If your cat has fleas, use a flea medication approved by your veterinarian.
- If your cat is bored or stressed, provide them with more toys and stimulation or give them a calming supplement.
Why does my cat scratch furniture but not a scratching post?
There’re different reasons that cat doesn’t scratch a post or a pad, here’s what to do:
- The scratching post may be unattractive to the cat - wrong material, size, texture, or location.
- Try repositioning and adding different coverings to the post - sisal, catnip, and treats to make it more enticing.
- Provide multiple types of scratching surfaces to increase the chances of one appealing to your cat.
- Make the scratching post more attractive and accessible to redirect your cat's scratching from the furniture.
In conclusion, scratching is a natural behavior for cats. However, it can be frustrating and unsightly when cat scratching furniture. By providing your cat with a scratching post or other scratching surface, and by identifying the reasons why your cat is scratching furniture, you can help to discourage this behavior.
Do all indoor cats scratch furniture?
Not all indoor cats scratch furniture, though it is a common behavior for many cats. Some cats are naturally not as inclined to scratch furniture. Indoor cats lack natural places to scratch like trees and bushes outside. So they will often scratch couches, chairs, and other furniture to fulfill these needs.
Is it OK for a cat to scratch wood?
Yes, if the wood has been provided specifically for the cat to scratch. Cats naturally scratch to maintain claw health and mark territory. Wooden scratching posts, boards, and pads provide an appropriate surface for cats to fulfill this need while preventing damage to furniture.
Will vinegar keep cats from scratching furniture?
No, vinegar will not reliably keep cats from scratching furniture. While some cats may be deterred by the smell of vinegar, many will continue scratching as usual. Vinegar can act as a temporary deterrent for some cats, but it is not effective as a long-term solution.