You will have probably experienced it or heard of horror stories about cats scratching and destroying furniture in the house. In fact, many people think twice about getting cats because they fear that the cats will destroy the expensive furniture with their claws. Many of us cat owners mitigate the risk by often buying cat friendly furniture, cue fabric sofas. Before we reveal some tips to prevent your cat from scratching your furniture, you must first understand why do cats scratch.
Cats scratch to mark their territories. By leaving visible scratch marks on objects, they are claiming the objects and area as theirs. When a cat scratches an object, he leaves his scent on it as well. When other cats approach, they will notice the visual marking and scent marking. Our cats will tend to scratch places where we spend most time at and that is usually the couch and the bed. That is where many cats choose to scratch and ultimately, destroy simply because they just want to leave their scents and visual scratches on us to 'mark' us as theirs. Now you know why cats have the need to scratch, here are 4 tips to prevent your cat from scratching your furniture.
1. TRIM THE NAILS OF YOUR CAT REGULARLY
As simple as it sounds, it is extremely important to trim the nails of your cat regularly to prevent him from destroying your furniture. You should trim your cat nails every week. Some cats may not like their nails to be trimmed so you have got to train them. Start by touching their paws a little each time to get them used to you touching their paws. Usually, cats do not like their paws to be touched so this may take some time. Once your cat is comfortable with you touching his paws, it will be easier to trim his nails. If your cat really doesn't like the experience, make it short by trimming as many nails as you can before he gets agitated. If you can only trim two nails, then try again later or tomorrow. Giving a treat after trimming his nails will also help him associate nail trimming with rewards.
You will have to place scratching posts around the house for your cat to scratch. There are plenty of scratching posts that you can choose for your cat. There are posts or scratching boards made of carpet, sisal rope or corrugated cardboard. You can pick a few different types to see which ones your cat prefer. Pick one that is sturdy and tall enough for your cat to stretch and scratch without falling over. Remember your cat will want to mark the places where you will spend a lot of time at. Place the scratching posts strategically next to the couch or bed and that will greatly reduce the scratching on the furniture and at the same time, satisfy your cat's needs to scratch and 'mark' his beloved human.
When you notice your cat starting to scratch your furniture, a sharp 'NO!' will make him stop. Once he stops, pick him up and place him in front of the scratching post that you have set up. Once he starts to scratch at the post, you can give him a treat as a reward. You will have to be patient and do it repeatedly. Your cat will eventually get around the idea that you disapprove of the scratching and that the scratching post is the place where he is allowed to scratch. This will take time and much patience, especially if your cat already has developed the habit of scratching your furniture. Never ever hit your cat. Do not let your anger control your actions, even if it is a very expensive piece of furniture.
4. THINGS TO PREVENT YOUR CAT FROM SCRATCHING FURNITURE
You can purchase various items from your pet store that prevents your cat from scratching furniture. One of them is Soft Paws, a brand of vinyl nail tips that cover your cat's nails so that they are unable to scratch your furniture. You can put them on your cat's nails and they last for about a month. After your cat's nails have grown, the nail tips pop off, you trim the nails and you put on new nail tips. There are other items such as sofa covers or sticky tape covering the sides of your sofa that will create a unpleasant feeling for your cat when he attempts to scratch it. We will like to see all these items as a last resort method because cats can be trained to leave your furniture alone. As long as you understand why your cat needs to scratch and put out scratching posts at appropriate places for him to scratch at, chances are you will not need to resort to these items to keep your cat off the furniture.
With some understanding and patience, you will find your cat scratching at the right places and leaving your furniture alone. Never ever declaw your cat. It is extremely painful and it is equivalent to cutting off his fingers. It is cruel and should never be considered an option to prevent your cats from scratching your furniture.