Why do cats need to scratch?
Cats have a natural instinct to scratch for a variety of reasons. It removes the outermost layer of their claws and reveals the healthier, sharper claws beneath. It gives them a chance to stretch out their muscles and pads, and also acts as a method of marking territory. When cats scratch an object, they leave a visible marking and a scent from the glands in their pads that warn other cats away.
If your cat doesn’t have a suitable scratching post available, they’ll be sure to perform it on your furniture instead.
Why is my cat scratching my furniture?
You can’t stop cats from scratching, but you can dictate what they scratch. You and your cat probably don’t agree on what items around the home are suitable for intense scratching. Buying a scratch post could be the key to saving your furniture from a lifetime of scratching and claw marks.
Cats tend to be attracted to coarse, textured materials that make for satisfying scratching. If there’s no clear suitable object to scratch, they’re more than happy to turn their attention towards coffee tables and leather sofas.
How to stop your cat from scratching your furniture
By introducing a scratching post, you’re presenting an alternative to them. Most posts are made from a texture called sisal rope (I’m sure you’ll recognize it by sight) which is super attractive for cats eager to get their claws into something. It’s also extraordinarily durable, unlike your curtains.
You should place the post where your cat wants it. Placing it in prominent spots around the house will increase the usage of the post and keep them away from other objects. Try not to place it close to litter or food. We placed ours near our front door, since our cat generally wakes up and comes to greet us when we come home from work and has a scratch then.
If you find that they’ve become accustomed to scratching certain items of furniture, it’s fine to discourage them from scratching there once you’ve offered them an alternative. Some tricks to stop cats scratching furniture include:
- rubbing citrus juice or a menthol scent on the areas you want them to avoid
- clapping or making a loud noise (don’t shout directly at them)
When they stop, direct them to the place you want them to scratch. You won’t have to do this for long before they get the message and turn their attention to their new scratching post.
Don’t punish cats retrospectively for having scratched furniture. While it can be extremely frustrating, scolding your cat after the incident has taken place won’t teach them not to scratch. If you catch your cat in the act, then discourage them in an appropriate manner so they associate scratching with a negative reaction.
Furniture for cats is becoming more and more popular as it becomes more affordable. Modern cat furniture provides healthy benefits for your cat and solves the issue of scratching around the house, they’re also preferred because they look great in most homes.
Again, don’t shout directly at your cat. It can lead to them avoiding you all together and a whole host of unwanted behavior.
If you’re struggling to get your cat to stop scratching furniture, Dr. Joanna Woodnutt has writen some fantastic tips and advice on how to stop furniture scratching.
What scratching post is best?
It’s recommended that you look for scratching posts that allow your cat to stretch fully. In most cases, 50cm or so is a good height. Having a suitable and sturdy post is key in ensuring your cat prefers scratching it rather than anything else.
Some cat owners with multiple cats, or cats that are hard to sway, tend to opt for a cat tree or climbing post. This provides them with an entertaining environment that they can mark as their own territory.
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