Scratching is a natural behaviour for cats. Cats usually scratch outdoors, choosing trees or posts. If you have an indoor cat, furniture can be a tempting target for her fabric-shredding claws. Cats scratch furniture for numerous reasons.
Here’s a brief explanation of the reasons why cats scratch and some ways to stop cats from scratching furniture.
Why Do Cats Scratch?
Cats scratch things for a number of reasons, including:
- To stretch: Our feline friends scratch to exercise muscles and tendons from their claws all the way down their back.
- To maintain claw health: Scratching helps your cat shed her claw sheath and to keep her nails in good shape. When your cat feels that her claws are becoming too long or maybe dirty, she will begin to scratch rougher surfaces.
- To mark: Cats use scratching as a way to mark their own territory. Their paws contain scent glands and scratching things releases odours that mark their own territory. Scratching is a visual and olfactory way that cats can advertise their claimed territory to other cats. The visible marks made during scratching are readable to other cats.
- To feel good: Cats see scratching as a fun activity! It reduces stress and decreases the possibility that cats will develop other unfavourable behaviours. When your cat scratches, her paws release a scent which helps her to feel safe and secure in her surroundings.
Ways to Keep Your Cat from Scratching Furniture
Scratching is an absolutely natural behaviour for cats, and is a vital part of feline life. If you catch your feline friend scratching your furniture, it’s essential to promptly correct the behaviour. There are some products cat owners can use to minimize the damage or deter the behaviour.
- Invest in a scratching post
To protect your furniture, you have a number of options, but providing your cat with a good scratching post as a scratch-friendly surface is the simplest and most effective way to stop your cat from scratching furniture.
“Choose a scratching post that is similar to the material your cat most likes to scratch,” Meghan Herron, DVM and clinical assistant professor of behavioral medicine at Ohio State University, told PetMD. A good stretch and clawing session is satisfying for a cat! Once your cat has these fun, easy-to-scratch objects, she is less likely to target your furniture.
Be sure you have a cat scratching post that meets these qualifications: tall enough, appealing texture, stable and placed in a great location. Your cat’s scratching post should be placed in a convenient area such as her favourite sleeping spot and near the front door.
Recommended product: Paws & Pal Play Pal Scratching Board Box Blue
- Use spray
Using a cat scratch spray will trick your cat into thinking that it has already marked her territory, discouraging her from destroying your furniture.
Recommended product: Feliway Spray Bottle 60ml
- Trim your cat’s nails
Keeping your cat’s nails trim is a great way to prevent your cat from scratching furniture. It’s highly recommended to trim the sharp tip of your cat’s claws every 10 days to two weeks. Be sure not to cut into the quick (the pink portion of the nail), which will be painful for your cat and cause bleeding. Use a nail trimmer designed especially for cats, not for dogs or humans.
Recommended product: JW Pet Company Deluxe Cat Nail Trimmer
- Prevent boredom scratching
Some felines are prone to scratching when bored. To redirect scratching behaviour from furniture, consider offering a selection of cat toys and fun activities for your cat. This will help to ease any tension your cat is feeling instead of targeting your furniture.
Cat toys that stimulate scratching are the best. Some great options include:
- Food Puzzles – These exercise your cat’s paws and keep her entertained for hours.
- Catnip Toys – They are a great choice as the catnip can stimulate and encourage your cat to play.
- String Cat Toys – Anything that encourages your cat chasing and pouncing will help burn off energy and decrease the chances of destructive scratching.