How to Keep Your Cat from Scratching on Furniture

I’ll be honest, I love my cat. But I can’t stand when he scratches on my leather couches! As any feline owner knows, cats like to scratch, especially on furniture. I learned this the hard way, that is until I finally figured out these simple method to get my cat to stop.

So how do you keep your cat from scratching on furniture?

This trick worked for me and it was pretty foolproof. Just follow these steps:

  • Invest in an indoor cat post or cat tree that they can use use instead of your favorite couch. Its natural instinct for cats to scratch their claws and it’s also good for them, so give them something that don’t mind them clawing on. Keep in mind when selecting a cat post, don’t get one with material similar to your furniture. If your cat enjoys scratching on your wood bed posts then get a cat post that is covered in carpet instead of wood, etc.
  • Now that you’ve got a post for your cat to scratch on, place it in a noticeable area of your home. Keep it in the same area that your cat likes to hang out most, even it that means putting it out in plain sight. Once your cat starts using it regularly, you should be able to move it to a more discreet location.
  • Get your cat attracted to their new post. You can place their favorite cat toys next to it or try sprinkling catnip on it. Once you notice your cat starting to scratch at it or play with the post, reward him with a treat.
  • Lastly, deter your cat from using your furniture to scratch on by making it less appealing or harder to get to. Many people suggest taping aluminum foil to the surface area that the cat scratches on. Or you could try spraying it with a citrus scent, since most cats don’t like the smell. Personally I had the best luck putting down double sided sticky tape over the area.

Now, whether this method is successful for you or not, I think really depends on the type of post you get for your cat. Obviously if you buy something less appealing than your furniture, he’ll continue to scratch his claws where you don’t want him too not matter how much detering you do. So, I highly suggest you do some research before going out and purchasing a cat post or better yet, try DIYing several different types first.

Choose a Cat Post that Your Cat Will Prefer Instead of Your Furniture

 Like I mentioned before, you will have a really hard time getting your cat to stop scratching your favorite furniture if you don’t give him something else that he’ll like even more.

Cat posts and scratchers can come in a variety of different shapes or styles and it can be overwhelming to pick. However, I will say that the one thing that will attract your cat the most from one type of cat post from the other is really just the material its made with.

Wood

You can find some cat posts made of natural wood to resemble actual tree stumps or bark. If your cat spends time outside as well as inside, then he might prefer this type of post since it can remind him of being outdoors.  

Carpet

It’s easy to find a cat post wrapped in carpet which many cats tend to enjoy. Keep in mind though, it’s hard for a cat to separate between a carpeted cat post compared to carpeted stairs or bedrooms and he may end up scratching on both. If you have mostly hardwood floors in your home, this could be a good option.

Sisal Rope

Another common cat post material is sisal rope. Both indoor and outdoor cats enjoy this material because it is very durable and works similar to tree bark by allowing them file their claws.

Cardboard

Cat owners will enjoy this option because it is inexpensive and can be replaced easily. Some cats like this type of scratching material because it usually allows them to lay flat on their belly or play with a toy attached to it. This one is usually a good idea to start with for first time cat owners before spending a lot of money on more expensive types.

Make Your Own Cat Scratching Post at Home

If you aren’t sure what kind of cat post your furry friend will enjoy most, then experiment with several different types by making your own before going out and buying one. I’ve seen several different tutorials on youtube for creative ways to DIY a cat post.

First, choose a shape that you want to try, this can be anything from a standing rectangular post to a square that lies flat on the floor. Or it could even be a tall frame with multiple platforms.

Next, choose which type of material to use. Refer to the different types I listed above for some ideas. Better yet, try using multiple types of material for each side of your cat scratcher and pay attention to your cats behavior towards a particular one.

Lastly, assemble it together and put it in your cats favorite hangout spot.Then use the following tricks to help entice him into using it.

Tricks to Attract Your Cat to Their New Cat Scratcher

Now that you’ve gone out and bought a nice new scratcher or made your own, you’ve got to get your cat attracted to it. This way he’ll start using it instead of your favorite furniture. Here are a couple or tricks that should help draw interest.

Play with it

Bring your cats favorite toys next to the new scratcher or post and play with your cat on or around it. Or try attaching a toy to the post to encourage them to play. Show your cat that this is a new toy that you are okay with them playing with it.

Show Your Cat to Scratch on it

When you first introduce your cat to the scratcher, try this method several times a day. Bring him next to the scratcher and show him that it’s okay to scratch on it by lifting his paws and dragging them down it as if he were scratching it.

Reward with Treats

When your cat begins to show any interest in the new scratcher, whether it’s by walking around it or touching it, reward him with lots of encouragement. Then when you see him actually scratching his claws on it, reward him with his favorite treats.

Why Do Cats Scratch Anyways?

It is easy to get frustrated and mad at your cat when they ruin your furniture with their destructive scratching. But I’ve realized that once you get an understanding for why they do it in the first place, it becomes a bit easier to forgive them.

The most common reasons for cat scratching are:

  • Cat claws grow just as often, if not more often as humans nails grow. Because of that, scratching helps them remove the dead outer layers when their new claws have grown in.
  • Scratching is also a way for cats to mark their territory and leave their scent, similarly to dogs do by peeing on things.
  • Clawing on sturdy objects such as furniture or posts, helps cats to stretch their bodies, exercise and get some energy out.
  • Scratching on different objects is also a way for cats to calm themselves down ease their anxiety

Related Questions

Can you still train an older cat to use a scratching post? Yes, it is possible to start training an older cat to use a scratching post. Although they may be more stubborn and take a little bit longer to learn, it can still happen. You may need to use more encouragement and extra treats. Just be patient and don’t give up!

Will declawing my cat get him to stop scratching furniture? Declawing is the surgical procedure for physically removing toe bones with the claws attached. So, it’s not surprising that many cat owners are under the impression that getting their pets declawed will stop the destructive scratching. However, cats will continue to show scratching behavior just as often, if not more often due to the added anxiety their under. It’s also important to look into the many disadvantages of declawing, if this is something you’re considering.

What are some alternatives to declawing? Since it’s a cats natural tendency to scratch, and declawing won’t necessarily stop the behavior, there a couple things you can do to lessen the damage.

  • Trim your cats nails frequently. This can reduce pain or anxiety in your cat, however this option can be time consuming.
  • Use nail caps over your pets claws. Caps aren’t as hard to maintain as frequent trimming since they only have to be replaced every 4-6 weeks and many cats learn to tolerate living with them. But, depending on your cats personality, you may need to use sedation to put them in place.