Behavior and Training, Puppy and Kitten Care

How to Stop Cats from Scratching Furniture

November 29, 2022

How to Stop Cats from Scratching Furniture

Last updated: August 02, 2016

If you are a cat owner, you probably understand the frustration surrounding cat scratching. Understanding why your cat is scratching and knowing how to stop inappropriate scratching can help save your sanity and your furniture.

Why Do Cats Scratch Furniture

Although scratching is an annoying behavior to cat owners, it is a very normal and instinctual behavior for cats. One of the commonly believed reasons that cats scratch at furniture is to sharpen their claws. In reality, cats scratch to maintain and condition their claws by removing the outer layer of their claws. Cats also scratch to fulfill their instinctual needs to explore, hunt, and establish territory.

Another reason that cats scratch and claw at objects is because they are marking their territory, both visually and chemically through their scent. Scratching also helps cats stretch their muscles, keeping them healthy and agile. Lastly, cats may use scratching as an outlet for relieving stress.

Stop Cats from Scratching Furniture

The key way to make unwanted scratching stop is to provide your cat with an alternative outlet for his scratching and clawing. Provide your cat with an appropriate scratching surface, such as a cat tree or scratching post, and make this new surface seem as attractive as possible. If your cat likes catnip, you can try rubbing some on the surface of the post or tree. Or you can place treats, toys, or food by the tree or post. On the other hand, you can make the unacceptable scratching area look unattractive by covering it or by placing plastic over the surface.

Choosing the right post or tree for your cat is crucial if you want him to actually use it. Pay attention to what material your cat likes to scratch and where your cat prefers to scratch, such as the couch or carpet. If he tends to scratch the couch, a tall scratching post may be a good option for him. On the other hand, if he prefers to scratch the carpet, he may like a scratching pad that allows him to scratch horizontally. You can also buy products made of different materials, such as sisal, cardboard, or carpet.

Multi-cat households should provide a scratching area for each cat. Cats aren't always willing to share, so it's best to provide a separate area for each cat.

Using cleaners and pheromones may also be helpful. Because cats leave their scent on furniture and then return to it, using a cleaner like Dumb Cat Anti-Marking & Cat Spray Remover to eliminate those marking scents might help in discouraging your cat from coming back to that area. Pheromones might also be helpful by helping your cat relax and behave appropriately.

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-The Revival Education Team

If you need help, call us at 800.786.4751.