Do all cats scratch furniture?
Does anyone remember the song Cat Scratch Fever by Ted Nugent? It was released in 1977 and in 2009, VH1 named it the 32nd best rock song of all time. But, we digress. No matter how much you love your cat(s), if they’re tearing up your furniture, it’s time to find a solution. We’re here to help.
Scratching is a normal aspect of cat behaviour. In the wild, cats scratch their claws to remove the dead layer of claw (think of it like a cat manicure), which helps to keep their claws sharp for hunting. Scratching also lets them mark their territory. They have scent glands between their claws and the scratch marks themselves are a visual sign to other cats that this area is occupied. Scratching and stretching also help them to keep their bodies in good shape.
So, your much-loved cat is simply being a cat. However, it’s not fun if they decide to leave their calling card on your furniture, drapes or carpets. Here are some proven ways to keep a cat from scratching furniture.
Don’t declaw your hat
Declawing your cat isn’t recommended. It’s a surgical procedure that involves removing the last bone in each of your cat’s toes to prevent the claws from regrowing. It can lead to behaviour problems such as biting and refusal to use a litter box.
Provide scratching posts
Kittens begin to scratch at around eight weeks old, so start training your cat when it’s young, by providing scratching posts or stands. Your cat can still indulge in its natural behaviour, but without shredding your furniture. (Find out which cat breeds have the friendliest personalities.)
Use cat scratch spray
Using a cat scratch spray will trick your cat into thinking that it has already marked its territory, discouraging it from scratching where you don’t want it to. You can make your own homemade cat scratch spray using vinegar, essential citrus oils, or even garlic and peppermint. Better yet, you can purchase a pre-made cat deterrent spray!
Use cat scratch tape
If you’re wondering how to stop cats from scratching leather furniture, then cat scratch tape is the answer. It also works well on fabric, carpet and hard surfaces such as walls and doors. This double-sided sticky tape comes in panels or rolls like regular tape, and can be stuck where you need it and removed easily afterward. Cats hate the feeling of stickiness on their paws, so it discourages scratching. (Make sure you know these subtle signs your cat is depressed.)
Try socks or nail caps
Cat socks (aka mittens) to prevent scratching are an alternative to declawing. These socks work well for some cats, but if yours gets frustrated and keeps removing them, try soft nail caps that glue onto your cat’s claws. These will limit the damage if your cat does decide to scratch where it shouldn’t.
Protect with vinyl guards
Yet another option is to install clear vinyl panels on your furniture where your cat wants to scratch. These panels are available in many sizes and they come with screw pins that make the panels very easy to install.
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