How to Stop Cats from Scratching the Furniture
Scratching is a normal cat behaviour. It allows them to shed their old outer nails, mark their territory and provides a convenient back and limb stretch. Yet for some owners this healthy habit is frowned upon when the household furniture becomes shredded and clawed.
Why Cat Scratching?
Cats were hunters. They needed those sharp teeth to help them to climb trees and to leap down on their prey.
Although your cat is not likely to be pouncing on their dinner anymore, they still instinctively need to sharpen their claws and that is exactly what they are doing on your furniture.
The scratching that they do is a way of trimming their nails and it removes the old outer part of the claws.
Another reason they are ruining your home is because they know it to be their territory.They release a scent from special glands in their paws which helps them mark the area as theirs.
They also do it because they are working the kinks out of their body as well as burning some energy.
Before you head off to have him de clawed, you may want to try out some of the alternative methods of preventing the scratching.
5 Steps To Stop Your Cat Scratching And Ruining Your Furniture
- Provide Appropriate Places for Your Cat to Scratch
- Scratching Deterrents
- Reinforce Appropriate Scratching
- Cat Nail Trimming
Provide Appropriate Places for Your Cat to Scratch
Cats need to be given an appropriate scratching surface. Some cats like to scratch up and down (vertically mark) so therefore a scratching post or tree is recommended.
Whilst others prefer horizontal marking so a substrate on the ground (like a cut up square of old carpet) should be provided.Cats need to be directed to safe clawing sites.
If furniture scratching has already been established then a deterrent should be used on the furniture and a replacement scratching material or object provided right next to it.
To stop cats scratching the furniture you can cover the site in double-sided tape. Bubble wrap, velcro and alfoil also discourage clawing.
Scent deterrents like Wound-Gard or Bitter Apple Spray can also be sprayed at the site. The furniture can be draped with a material sprayed with the deterrent, like a towel, newspaper or sticky-taped cotton wool.
Care should be taken to not directly spray furniture in case staining occurs. Also it should be noted that some cats will actually take a liking to bitter apple.
Feliway is a manmade version of the odourless pheromone normally left by cats when they rub against objects in their environment. This pheromone is usually released by your cat when he or she feels happy or content and is also used to mark territory.
When used correctly, Feliway can help to reduce your cat's stress levels and combat marking behaviours like scratching or spraying.If your cat is scratching inappropriately at multiple around the home, the Feliway Diffuser should be used in the room where your cat spends the most time.
If scratching occurs in just one particular area, then the Feliway Spray can be used to spray just that area. The Spray can also be used in addition to the Diffuser if required.
If using the Feliway Spray, it is important that you do not spray the areas where you want your cat to scratch, such as scratching trees and posts. Spraying these areas will prevent your cat from using them!
Reinforce Appropriate Scratching
To keep your cat clawing at the right site, a Catnip Spray can be applied to the appropriate scratching place. Catnip tends to increase cats playfulness and when sprayed on new toys, or scratchers, can encourage your cat to use them.
Cat Nail Trimming
Trimming nails of cats who go outdoors is generally not recommended as it can stop them from being able to escape upwards by climbing from dogs or other dangers in a hurry.
One way is to provide them with scratching pads or posts. There are a wide variety of them available including those that are part of a cat condo.
You can even make your own by using two foot high section of a four by four, two foot by two foot piece of heavy plywood and a carpet remnant.
When you have one of these, take it and put it right next to his favorite piece of furniture to destroy. Then, gradually move it away from the furniture as he gets accustomed to it.
You can also use a pet repellant spray such as Bitter Apple on the furniture that the pet is clawing at.Take the time to test the spray on a non visible area of the furniture before using it though.
Or if you do not want to spray the furniture, then cover the material with aluminum foil or tape that is placed sticky side up. The cat will not like the material and will turn to the scratching post instead.
The Last Resort
Some cats just can’t seem to stop.For these, de-clawing becomes the best option. If your cat stays indoors, you can have their claws removed.
There are some risks involved and the procedure can be painful for him. Those who would like to avoid this like to use nail caps instead. These are applied as false nails would be to the cat’s nail.
If your cat is a scratcher, do what you can to stop him before you have him de-clawed. If this becomes the best option though, it may be better than having your furniture torn up!
I hope that some of these simple tips help you save your furniture from cat attack without stopping you cat from enjoying life.
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