Have you ever wanted to know how to stop your cat from clawing furniture? Cats love to scratch things. It’s part of their normal everyday behavior, yet as cat owners, we often get upset when we have to reupholster a ruined couch or repaint wooden furniture.
However, it’s important for us to understand that we cannot erase this scratching behavior that is often seen with our feline companions.
So, you may be asking yourself, why does my cat keep clawing up my sofa?
Cats scratch certain things in their environment for several reasons including to defend themselves, mark their territory, and to just sharpen their claws.
The most common reason that a cat will scratch their claws is to mark their territory. Raking it’s claws on an object leaves visual evidence as well as their individual scents to aid in the marking of their proverbial territory.
Cats in the wild scratch their claws on tree trunks, fence posts, or whatever else may be available to loosen their old claws.
Why Scratching Posts Are Important
The indoor cat needs somewhere to scratch inside the home to accommodate this natural urge. Providing your cat with an appropriate scratching surface is very important or your feline friend will use whatever they have available to them.
If your cat starts scratching on something that you don’t want it to, it can easily become a habit for your furbaby that is going to become way too hard to break.
The golden rule of thumb is to have at least one large scratching post for every cat that you own. Place it next to where they take their daily naps or whatever room they spend the most time in.
Your cat will have their own preference when it comes to the type of surface they love to scratch. Some prefer carpet and other cats may love rope.
My cats tend to lean towards wood and cardboard. Sometimes it helps to try out different surfaces in order for them to figure out what they prefer to use.
If you have the room in your home, it may be wise to invest in a large multi-level cat scratching structure such as a cat tree. Investing in one of these will actually save you money in the long run because you won’t have to fix or buy new furniture and carpeting for your home.
How Do I Get My Cat To Use Their Scratching Post?
At first, you will need to show your feline companion where the scratching post is located at. If your cat tries to scratch something else such as your couch, pick it up and gently bring it to the scratching area that you have set up for it.
Once you have brought your cat to the area, take its paw and gently make a kneading motion on the scratching surface. Act as if you are using your cat’s paws to scratch.
Essentially, what you are doing is showing them that is in fact the area where you want them to start scratching. It may even help to rub a little catnip on the scratching post.
Once your cat starts using the scratching post on its own, make sure you reward your feline companion with petting, praises, and kitty treats. This lets your cat know that it did a good job and thus, reinforces their good behavior.
When Nothing Seems To Work
Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, your feline companion may still scratch their claws in places you don’t want them to. It’s best to correct this behavior the moment you notice it by continually reinforcing your cat’s use of the scratching post.
One of the ways to do this is to spray vet approved cat repellent onto the surface that your cat is inappropriately using.
Never Declaw Your Cat
Declawing is a very damaging procedure to your cat’s well being and should therefore be avoided. In fact, more and more veterinarians are completely eliminating this procedure from their practices.
Declawing your beloved feline companion gives it no chance to survive in the wild should they accidentally slip out of your home some night.
If you want to read more information about declawing your cat, I’ve written an entire article on the subject here.
Claw Caps or Shields
Instead of declawing your cat, consider purchasing plastic claw caps. You will usually only need to apply these claw caps to your feline’s front claws and not their back claws.
You can get them in a variety of sizes and colors.
Claw caps can be somewhat challenging to put on your cat, so you may need your veterinarian to help with this.
Most cats will not like their claw caps at first, but like anything else, it will eventually get used to them.
Cat scratching is a completely normal behavior for your feline companion to take part in and cannot be avoided. However, it is possible to train your cat to scratch where you want them to scratch and to avoid ruining your furniture or carpeting.