How do I stop my cat scratching furniture?

Posted by Maggie the Moggie. February 17th 2015.

Cats love to scratch. In fact, cats need to scratch. This is so they can keep their claws trim and all cats are programmed to carry out this function to help them hunt. Cats also scratch in order to leave scent markings for other cats as an alternative method of communication.

Kittens and Scratching PostYou can train a domestic cat not to destroy your furniture with this instinctual behaviour but you must recognise that you should provide suitable alternatives to satisfy your pet’s need for scratching.

Using a scratching post

Cats are notoriously difficult to train. These wonderful pets really only obey us if they consider that it’s in their best interests to conform to our needs and desires. Getting them to stop instinctual actions such as scratching can therefore be difficult.

One way to restrain the scratching habit is to invest in a substitute for your furniture. A cat scratching post acts as a perfect alternative to a table leg and is something which felines can use to satisfy their scratching desires.

A cat with a scratching post

Choosing a scratching post

You must ensure that the post is well secured and durable. However, if the cat doesn’t encounter any resistance when it uses the post, it won’t be satisfied and may continue to damage your favourite furniture so bear this in mind when choosing the style and material of your scratching post.

You should also place the post in an area that your cat visits on a frequent basis. Most cats need to scratch after they’ve had a nap, so if you place the post near their bed they should be sure to use it.

An upright scratching post should be as tall as your cat in order to allow it to have a really good stretch when exercising those claws. You may also want to invest in a separate scratching post for each of the cats you own to avoid jealousy or battles over territory within your home.

Using catnip and games

Catnip is a herbal substance that cats adore. If you impregnate a scratching post with this herb then you’ll soon find that your cats will love using their post to carry out their destructive habits – giving you a great way to safeguard your furniture.

Alternatively, you may want to introduce an element of play to the scratching post to keep your cat occupied. A domestic tabby will still scratch furniture and items around the home even though it receives its food from a convenient tin rather than catching its own prey in the wild.

One way of satisfying your pet’s hunting instincts is to fix some objects to a piece of string and attach them to the scratching post. This way you’ll stimulate your pet and encourage it to use the new post.

Repair and restore damaged furniture and carpets

It’s important to ensure that your cat doesn’t continue to destroy your wooden furniture but once you’re confident their behaviour has been corrected you’ll want to get your home looking spick and span again.

To repair and restore damaged furniture, first sand down the affected area and then apply thick coatings of polish. This should deter your pet from damaging it further.

If your cat has caused mayhem to your carpet then cover the area with double-sided tape to deter your pet.

Placing a scratching post close to damaged area can help give cats a useful substitute too and allow you to repair or replace damaged items without fear of a relapse.

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