Cat Scratching

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For The Love of Animals

How to teach your cat not to scratch the furniture

There's nothing more frustrating then hearing or seeing your cat scratching on your furniture or seeing them scale up your drapes! Cats scratch furniture mainly to sharpen their claws, to stretch, but also to mark their territory through the glands on their paws as they release pheromones.

How to stop your cat from ruining the furniture

Scratching is a totally natural behaviour for your cat, so the goal is to teach your cat where they can and can't scratch.

  • You'll need something for your cat to scratch on, so either a free standing scratching post, or one that hangs from a door knob should work well. Most scratching posts are covered with either carpet or Sisal.
  • You can use a catnip spray or rub dried catnip on the scratching post to encourage your cat to use the scratching post.
  • Most cats enjoy a good stretch when they wake up, so be sure to put their scratching post near their sleeping area.
  • If possible, temporarily cover the furniture in the spots you want you cat to stop scratching with either some thick plastic or double sided tape which will act as a deterrent.
  • If you see your cat moving towards your furniture or see them scratching, gently pick them up and bring them to the scratching post. If your cat uses the post, praise him or her. They respond better to positive reinforcement then by punishment.
  • To minimize the damage to furniture, keep your cats nails trimmed on a regular basis.
  • You can also try using a water spray bottle, spraying when you see your cat in action. However, this may only stop your cat from scratching when you're around.
  • Some say that placing orange peels around the furniture helps since most cats find the citrus smell unpleasant.
  • You can try a product called Soft Paws, which is a safe, non toxic cap that goes over your cats nails. This is a much kinder and safer method then declawing.
  • Please, never physically punish your cat. It serves no purpose and will usually have a negative effect on how your cat perceives you. A stern "No" will be more effective then hitting you cat.

It will take time and patience to retrain your cat to use a more appropriate object then your furniture. Good luck!

Courtesy of Marilyn Murray ~ For The Love of Animals