How to stop your cat from destroying your furniture

Calling all cat lovers! If you're reading this, chances are your furry friend has turned your beloved furniture into their personal scratching post. So, here are a few tips keep your kitty's claws at bay and save your furniture from turning into a pile of fluff and threads.

March 5, 2024

Understand the ‘why’

First up, let's get into the mind of your feline overlord. Cats scratch for several reasons: To stretch their muscles, mark their territory (both visually and with the scent glands in their paws), and to keep their claws nice and sharp for all those important cat duties such as scaring away pesky mice. Understanding this natural behaviour is the first step to redirecting it.

Offer alternatives

The key to saving your furniture is providing attractive alternatives. Invest in a few scratching posts and place them strategically around your home, especially near the furniture your cat currently prefers. Try offering a variety of scratching posts, from carpet to sisal and from horizontal to vertical options, to see what your cat likes best.

Make furniture unappealing

While you're introducing these new, cat-approved scratching options, make your furniture less enticing. You could attach double-sided tape, aluminium foil, or a plastic carpet runner (knobbly side up) on your cat's favourite furniture spots. These textures are generally off-putting to cats and can deter them from scratching.

Use positive reinforcement

Just like we humans, cats respond well to positive reinforcement. Whenever your cat uses the scratching post instead of the furniture, offer praise, cuddles, and treats. Make the scratching post experience so enjoyable that your furniture becomes second choice.

Keep those talons trimmed

Regularly trimming your cat's claws can reduce the damage they can do to your furniture. If you're unsure how to do this safely, ask your vet for a demonstration during your next visit.

Create a cat-friendly environment

Sometimes, cats scratch furniture out of boredom or lack of stimulation. Make sure your cat has plenty of toys and spends quality playtime with you. A tired cat is a happy cat—and less likely to take out their energy on your sofa.
How to understand your cat's behaviour

Be patient and consistent

In the grand scheme of things, living with a cat means embracing a bit of chaos, and remember that changing behaviour takes time. Be patient and consistent in your approach. If you catch them scratching the furniture, gently redirect them to the scratching post without scolding. Cats are creatures of habit, but with a little time and encouragement, your furniture can coexist peacefully with your furry family member. So, here's to a happy home where both you and your cat feel comfortable, and your furniture survives to live another day!

Why do cats scratch?

  • They need to keep their claws healthy and conditioned.

  • To remove the dead outer layer of their claws.

  • Scratching also serves as a way to mark territory, to let other cats know to keep away.

  • Stress, anxiety or excitement can build up and scratching acts as an emotional release.

  • They scratch when they're excited about something such as you arriving home from work.

  • Remember, cats don't scratch furniture or carpet just to annoy you!

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