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How to Prevent your Cat from Scratching Furniture

Cats are great pets. They love to play, they love to cuddle when you are watching TV or sleeping, and they purr for no reason other than being near you. But they also love to scratch, and every cat owner must know why cats scratch.

As affectionate and loving as cats can be, you should know they are natural climbers and often like to test their sharp claws out on your living room furniture. In their opinion that is very funny and healthy, because it acts like a massage for their paws, but it is not so good for your wallet, because replacing upholstery can be very costly.

Despite what we think, cats do not scratch just to get our attention or to make us angry, they scratch because it actually helps keep their claws in good condition, removing dead skin from the outside of the nail sheath.

Cats typically have two scratching patterns. One is usually near one or more zones that it considers to be its territory, such as where they eat, nap or plays in. The other pattern is when they patrol a larger area and mark more obvious objects, such as sofas, windows, doors.


Surgery - In extreme cases, your kitty can be declawed. This is where a vet literally removes the claw and should be a last resort. Due to the healing, risk and pain of the surgery, vets will usually advise against it and suggest other, simpler methods instead.

Scratching Post – Providing your feline with an alternative opportunity to scratch their own post reduces the chances of them using something you don’t want them to scratch. Purchase a sisal cat scratching post and place it near their territory, such as their food bowl or basket. This also allows the cat to have a platform to play on so that they remain in shape and healthy. If you want to provide your cat not only with a scratching surface, but with places where it can climb up and down, perch and sleep on you should consider a climbing cat tree.

Repel – Stop your cat from scratching by simply making them not want to do it. Use materials that they dislike the texture of but won’t hurt the cat or furniture, such as aluminum foil, tape or anything that’s sticky, and place them on the surfaces, like areas of your carpet, that your cat usually scratches.

Placing bitter - Tasting non-toxic sprays and citrus fruit peels on the furnishings that the cat usually scratches will also put them off due to them hating the taste and their sensitive sense of smell.

Excitement - Make sure your cat is kept excited and gets plenty of physical activity so that any excess energy is used up playing and not scratching. Buy plenty of toys in a range of fabrics and play with the cat yourself, as well as making sure it gets to go outside as much as it wants. This also helps an owner form a firmer bond with their pet and get to know what kind of toys it prefers.

Window seat - it will give your pet a comforatable cat perch to sit on so that they can observe the outside world while indoors – much like their version of television for humans. This will keep their mind stimulated and amuse them to no end if you place a bird feeder directly outside.

Trimming – Start clipping your kitten’s claws from an early age so that it can get used to the sensation. Practice a reward system so that it knows it’s a good thing. Making sure your cat’s claws are clipped is not only healthy and safer for your cat, as it prevents harm from coming to their claws while they’re scratching, but also for your furnishings.

Noise – Attach something noisy to the furnishing they keep scratching so that the loud sound surprises them and prevents from returning. For example, attaching a wind chime to your curtains would cause it to jingle whenever the cat scratches them, scaring the cat enough to deter it. Alternatively, a doorknob alarm attached to your curtains will also make a noise if your cat decides to hang off them.

Balloons also make a loud noise when popped. Put these noisy inflatables in the scratching hot-spots so that their sharp claws will pop them when they scratch, hopefully deterring the cat from venturing there again. Make sure that you are around to pick up the pieces, however, so that they’re not consumed, as this can be harmful to the cat.

You can also purchase special devices from pet shops that are designed to emit an irritating sound when the cat walks there, therefore scaring and deterring the feline.

Deter – A good deterrent is a toy water gun. Animals, especially water-fearing kitties, dislike being squirted with water and the action will send a message that you are not happy with their actions. This should prevent them from repeating it.

Rearrange – Cats often enjoy exploring and their travels often take them into hard-to-reach places. If they’re using pieces of furniture like pet steps or ramp to gain access to others, simply move the offending item so that they can no longer use it.

Ultimately, there are many ways of preventing your cat from scratching your furniture without having to resort to physical punishment, which usually serves no purpose other than to make the cat scared of you and nervous, taking away the purring, affectionate personality we love them for. If you hurt them, they’re more likely to hurt you back, severing the bond between you and causing irreparable damage.

Using any of the above methods will not only save your furniture but also strengthen the relationship you already have. Providing the cat with a scratching post or cat tower to play on, as well as toys will allow you to bond, and using the deterrents talked about above to allow the cat realize that scratching furniture is ‘bad’ is the basic method of stopping them from ruining your upholstery. Show your pet you won’t allow this behavior, but at the same time provide them with exercise and bonding time, which will only make them a happier, healthier cat.

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Cat Declawing. Is it Necessary?

Cats and the Cold Weather

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Why cats scratch

Cat Neutering

What you should know about Cat's Shedding

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Putting Your Cat out to Pasture

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Care of Older cats

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