Any cat owners will tell you that there are lots of benefits to having a feline friend. Not only are they beautiful creatures, but they also make great companions and they are very entertaining to watch. However, there are also some downsides to having cats, and one of the most common problems that people who have a cat experience is that they can cause lots of damage to your furniture. This is something that most people want to prevent, as cat scratches look unsightly and can lead to the need to replace furniture.
Why Do Cats Scratch Furniture?
Cat owners often mistakenly think that cats damage the furniture on purpose as some form of malicious activity. That is not the case as the cat puts no value on the furniture. According to Vet Street, cats scratching furniture is perfectly natural behaviour, and there are several reasons for this. First, they simply use their claws to grip the furniture as they stretch out. Second, cats scratch as a form of maintenance to keep their claws sharp and to stop them from growing too long. Finally, cats often scratch as a way of marking their territory, using a combination of scratch marks and a scent they release from their paws.
Ways to Stop Cats Damaging Furniture
If your cat is scratching your furniture, it is not an impossible situation to resolve as there are several steps you can take to prevent your cat from displaying this destructive behavior. Some of these are as follows:
- Alternative surfaces – Battersea says that it is unlikely that you will prevent cats from scratching altogether as it is normal behavior to them. Instead, you should provide them with alternative surfaces to scratch, such as a scratching post or board.
- Unpleasant surfaces – Another option is to make the areas of your furniture that your cat scratches an unpleasant surface. There are several types of surface that your cat finds uncomfortable on its paws, so you can use these as a deterrent. For example, double-sided sticky tape, sandpaper, and aluminum foil are all materials you can put on your furniture to stop your cat from scratching.
- Citrus odors as deterrents – Similarly, there are some odors that cats do not like, and they will avoid areas that contain these smells. Try using a spray with a citrus aroma, as cats do not like the citrus smell.
- Commercial scratching deterrent sprays – There are also commercial scratching deterrent sprays that work in the same way as they are made using ingredients that cats dislike. Although these are often effective, there are two downsides to these sprays. First, they can become expensive over time. Second, the smell is sometimes just as offensive to humans as it is to cats.
- Cleaning – Once a cat has scratched an area of furniture, they have marked the area worth their pheromones, and they will keep returning to that spot. To discourage the cat from returning to scratch the furniture again, clean the area as often as possible to get rid of some of the cat’s scent.
- Cat nail care – The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals recommends proper cat nail care as a way of reducing the likelihood of your cat damaging your furniture. By keeping your cat’s claws trimmed, they are less likely to need to scratch your furniture.
- Claw caps – It is also possible to have caps fitted to your cat’s claws that stop their claws from damaging furniture and also prevent your cat from scratching you and your family. The caps are glued to the end of your cat’s claws. If this is an option you want to consider, then speak to your pet.
- Visit the vet – If none of the above steps works, then you should visit the vet as a final resort. It is possible that your cat’s scratching is anxiety-related, and they can offer support and guidance to deal with this problem. Even if the scratching isn’t anxiety-related, they can give you advice about the best action for you to take.
When Should You Take Action?
Ideally, you should start deterring your cat from scratching the furniture as soon as possible. Before you bring the cat into your home, have a scratching post or board that you can encourage them to use as soon as they have settled in. This way, they will have something of their own that they can use to mark their territory straight away. Some of the other steps you will only need to take if your cat starts to scratch the furniture, as having a scratching post is enough to stop many cats from destructive behavior. You should begin the other strategies as soon as your cat shows signs of scratching furniture. The sooner you start, the less damage is caused to the furniture. It is worth noting that the process of stopping your cat displaying this behavior can take some time, so you may need to have a little patience.
How to Keep Your Cat from Destroying Furniture – The Final Verdict
Although a cat scratching the furniture is normal cat behavior, it is a behavior that you should try to prevent to limit the damage to your furniture. There are several strategies you can use, and you should begin these as soon as possible. A scratching post is the simplest solution, but there are also many deterrents you can use to discourage a cat from scratching. In most cases, these will work if you are persistent and have patience. If they do not work, then you should see a vet. They can either fit your cat with claw guards or assess your cat to see if the scratching behavior is anxiety related. They can also offer you advice on any further steps you can take to minimize the damage your cat is causing to your furniture.