Cats are such beautiful creatures with an obsession for neatness that makes living with them simply worthwhile. They are elegant and have a predictable behavioral pattern.
Cats are also one of the easiest pets to live with as they seem to be self sufficient. Their obsession with cleaniness makes it a constant thing for them to clean themselves. Never mind their natural dislike for water, these creatures are usually clean at most times. However, there is one annoying constant that they cannot seem to neglect. This has nothing to do with their potty training skills, because they have an inbuilt distaste for body waste and their first reaction is to cover it up. This annoying habit is their tendency to scratch things.
All cats scratch regardless of their breed, color or size. This continual friction between their claws and anything that seems ‘scratch worthy’ in the house may seem ok with them, but it can be quite destructive when it comes to your favorite furniture. Their constant scratching will end up leaving ugly marks on your couch or table. Sometimes it seems like, the more marks there are,the more they keep scratching. This is because they have gotten used to that piece of furniture as a favorite scratching spot and frankly speaking, who doesn’t like a familiar surrounding?
To effectively stop your cat from scratching and eventually destroying your furniture, you need to understand why cats scratch in the first place. Is it an inbuilt habit? Do they hate you? Or are they just suspicious of objects? Here’s a number of reasons why cats scratch things:
Why do Cats Scratch!
Cats Scratch to Sharpen their Claws
Just like humans need to exfoliate regularly to get rid of dead skin cells, cats also need to get rid of frayed outer claws. In doing so, they reveal fresh and sharper claws which in turn can be to the detriment of your center table or couch. This is actually a good practice for them because they need to maintain stronger and healthy paws.
They use it as a means to stretch and exercise
Your cat may not understand the essence and process of yoga, but stretching is a vital part of their daily routine. They usually stretch after waking up in the mornings and during the day time, amidst mid-day naps. So if your cat’s sleeping spot is on your couch, then they are inevitably going to stretch on that couch which will reveal notable marks on your sofa. Exercise is also needed to strengthen their muscles and paws and what better way to achieve that than to keep scratching?
To Mark their Territories
Cats are like most animals and they feel the need to mark their territories against other cats or other animals. They will still do this if they are the only fur breed living in that house. When they scratch on things, they release scents and odors peculiar to them and this helps the cat determine which areas belong to them.
Scratching makes them feel good!
Well, wouldn’t it be cruel of you to restrict your cat from doing what they love? This is not to say that you should let them keep on destroying your furniture, but with this factor; you can understand that your cat does not hate you, they only love scratching your couch more!
Cats love to scratch things that their claws can dig into or cause friction with. This is why your couch and tables are their first target. They also scratch curtains as well. Ridding your home of furniture because of your cat is impractical and stopping them from scratching totally is next to impossible. Instead, you can both come to a compromise not by stopping them, but showing them what they can scratch and what not to scratch. By doing so, you can both get the satisfaction you need: they from scratching without interference and you having decent and presentable furniture. SeeHow to give your cat a bath.
How to stop your cat from scratching your furniture?
Put sticky adhesives or citrus scents on your furniture. Cats naturally do not like the smell of citrus so if you spray citrus scents on the spots they disfigure, they will begin to avoid that spot more and more. Simultaneously, you can put sticky Dutch tapes on those areas so that it leaves sticky substances on their paws when they touch those places. With their obsession for neatness, they will soon avoid those areas like a plague. You may need to do this for a period of a week or more until they learn to completely avoid these spots.
Find New Scratch Posts for them
When you have successfully made their desirable spots undesirable, you will need to create a new scratch post for them. These can comprise of soft wooden plywood boards, parts of an old couch or DIY drape curtains close to their sleeping areas. Some cats like to, while others do so horizontally based on their preference. Take note of how they like to scratch and place these posts that way, then make multiple posts in places where they are likely to scratch and place colorful dangling toys on the posts. You can also sprinkle cat nibs on these posts to draw their attention. When they go to their former spots, make loud noises like clapping your hands, hitting the wall or saying ‘no’ loudly so they can gradually recognize these areas as prohibited. But you should not do this often because they can end up getting scared and avoiding you totally.
Use Paw Coverings on their Claws
As a last resort, you can use cat claw covering. This prevents them from leaving scars on your furniture each time they scratch. You can use a covering for two to three weeks at a time.
Try not to consider declawing your cat because it is an extremely painful proceedures and considered harmful. It takes days to heal and can sometimes lead to an infection if not monitored closely. If you observe the instructions above, your cat will learn to leave your furniture alone. If after practising these steps consistently you do not see a positive change, then you can take your cat to a vet. See also How to moisturize my cat’s dry skin‘.