Do you have a cat that loves to claw and scratch through different surfaces in your home? Well, this article is for you. What if I tell you that you neither have to declaw your cat nor you have to compromise with your precious furniture items?
Well yes, there’s a midway and I will let you know how you can stop your cat from scratching furniture items. Let me tell you again, declawing is never a solution to your cat’s scratching behavior.
Declawing is inhumane, it causes a lot of pain to cats, and can cause different problems in the future including over-grooming and behavior-related issues.
Claws and scratching are hardwired with a cat’s behavior. Scratching is physically, socially, and emotionally associated with them. This makes it a necessity more than a natural act.
Let’s understand the need for scratching and then I will tell you how you can stop them from scratching different surfaces.
Why do cats scratch?
This can be well understood by keeping two things in mind. 1. Cats are territorial. 2. They used to survive and thrive in the wild. Here are the reasons why cats scratch.
Cats in the wild use to chase and hunt their prey in order to thrive. Pawing and scratching are common activities involved in getting food for themselves.
These activities involve a cat’s muscles from claws, thighs through the legs, shoulders, and down the back. So when they’re indoors, they practice scratching to get the same exercise.
A cat in the wild can make as long as 12 feet leap from one branch to another and don’t lose the grip. In addition, she can also descend vertically down from a tree using the grip of their claws.
Now imagine, your cat is indoors but she has to do what they have been doing for centuries. The furniture items will get ruined for a reason, right?
Anthony from Cat Loves Best says, “Cats also scratch because this way they can keep their claws sharp all the time and clean the outer sheath. But above all, it’s their territorial need to do so.”
When they scratch a surface, they want to leave their scents on it and mark it as their own space. It is similar to what they do by spraying and litter boxes.
Their obvious target for scratching is where you spend most of your time home. Your sofa, bed, an armrest of a chair, etc. have your scent.
They also are known as scent soakers. Your feline would want to complement your scent with theirs and they decide to scratch that surface.
How to stop your cat from scratching furniture
The ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ Technique
Jackson Galaxy, the famous host from the show ‘My Cat from Hell’, suggests following this concept of yes and no. When you want to say no to your cat for its behavior, it won’t work unless you provide her with a ‘yes’.
Meaning, in this case, if you want to say no to your cat for scratching on your furniture, you have to say yes for scratching at something else.
This way your cat won’t have to compromise with their innate behavior and you will be able to save your furniture; you both win. Let’s now see how you can say no to your cat for scratching the surface.
You should not just push your cat away or use water spray to freak your cat out when you see them indulged in scratching. That will have adverse effects on your cat and may harm the relationship between you two.
Moreover, in your absence, cats will still scratch at the surface. So that doesn’t work ultimately.
Instead, you can use ‘sticky paws’ on the surface where your cat has already scratched. ‘Sticky paws’ is a double-sided tape and when they touch it to scratch, your cat won’t like the tacky feeling the gum on the tape cause and simply, she would prefer to stay away.
Alternatively, you can use aluminum foil to wrap the surface and the nearby floor. Cats abhor the noise it produces when she steps on it.
Additionally, you can also use a vinyl carpet runner with the spike side up near the surface your cat wants to scratch.
Use scratch posts
Now that you know how to keep your feline furball away from the surface, it’s time to provide them with ‘Yes’. Cats will need to scratch no matter what. Scratch posts are a good way to provide that opportunity.
Remember that, you have to place these scratch posts just near the surface they used to scratch. Randomly placing them won’t likely work. There are different types of scratch posts available in the market to choose from.
If you have a DIY soul, you can make them at home or can simply buy them from stores.
Scratch posts nowadays are more attractive than ever and can really add to the aesthetics of the home. This is a plus considering your pet won’t ruin your furniture and new items will beautify your home.
Be sure to get one that doesn’t wobble when your cat is using it. A cat freaks out when she steps on it and the whole thing shakes or wobbles. Also, it shouldn’t be too heavy.
If the whole thing somehow falls on your cat, she will get injured or anyway, will be freaked out for life.
You might need to be patient until your cat starts using the scratching posts. You can sprinkle catnip on the scratch posts to attract your cat.
When cats don’t get to scratch at the surface they want, they will eventually identify scratch posts intuitively.
I consider vinyl nails as a sort of last resort to solve the scratching behavior. Vinyl nails are worn on the nails of a cat and they are quite soft that cats won’t be able to make scratches on the surface when cats maneuver to do so.
The vinyl nail caps will pop out when the original nails grow bigger. You can cut the nails and can put on vinyl nail caps again.
Your cat is indoors and definitely you’re unfair when you try to suppress their species-specific behavior. Pawing at surfaces and not able to make visible marks or scents may let them down and also may cause stress-related issues.
The end note
I hope you now understand your feline’s need for scratching and using claws. But that doesn’t mean you should let them scratch and ruin expensive furniture items.
There are scratch posts available in the market. They won’t only solve the problem but will also add to the aesthetics of the house. Make sure you put them strategically as mentioned in this article.
If your cat loves to scratch and want to share your experience with us, you can do it in the comment section below.