There are a number of reasons why cats like to scratch. It helps to sharpen their claws, it’s a good way for them to stretch their muscles and it’s also a way for them to mark their territory. If your cat likes to scratch your furniture then this can be a problem because, obviously, you will not want your furniture to be ruined. Here is how to stop cats scratching furniture:
1. Use a homemade deterrent
There are a number of homemade deterrents that can be used to try and discourage your cat from scratching the furniture. Cats do not like the smell of citrus fruits so spraying the furniture with lemon juice could keep them away from the piece in question. However, you will need to be careful that this does not stain or bleach the furniture, so it may be a good idea to test a small area that is out of view first.
If your cat scratches a particular piece of furniture then it is probably because they like the texture of the material. Placing some tape over the area where the cat usually scratches can help deter them as they probably won’t like this texture quite as much.
2. Provide scratching posts
If you have used a deterrent to try and prevent the cat from scratching furniture that they have used in the past, then they will look for an alternative, which means that other pieces of your furniture may be at risk. Buying a scratching post for your cat can provide this alternative and will help to keep them away from your furniture. To encourage your cat to use this post you should place it in a spot where your cat spends a lot of time. Cats often scratch soon after waking, so placing your cat next to this post when they have just woken up can also encourage them to use it.
3. Don’t punish your cat when they scratch somewhere they shouldn’t
This will not teach your cat that they shouldn’t scratch at all, only that they shouldn’t do it in front of you. Anytime that you are not around they will revert to scratching the furniture again. A better approach would be to reward your cat when they use a scratching post that you have provided as this will reinforce that this is the correct place to scratch.
It is easier to teach your cat not to scratch the furniture in the first place then to try and correct the behaviour that has already been learned. This may be easier if you have your cat when they are a kitten, but even if they have lived in another home previously, making it clear that scratching the furniture is not acceptable in your home can go a long way to preventing any further problems from developing.