How To Prevent Your Cat From Scratching Furniture

Your little feline friend is almost certainly adorable and a wonderful companion. However, there is one habit that most cats have that is a little less than adorable and can actually be incredibly frustrating – scratching. If you haven’t yet come home and found claw marks in your furniture, it may only be a matter of time until you do – unless you take active steps to prevent your kitty from exercising her claws on your property!

Why do cats scratch?

Scratching is an instinctive and therefore completely natural habit for cats, and regardless of their age, breed or gender. There are several different reasons why your kitty will be inclined to scratch. These include:

Keeping her claws sharp

In the wild, your cat’s claws are her main weapon for pouncing on and killing prey, which is the food she needs to survive. They are also her first line of defence if she feels threatened or is attacked by another, bigger predator.

Marking her territory

Each time your cat scratches something, it leaves a little of her scent behind. Other animals can pick up on this scent and know that your kitty has claimed the area has her domain. This is her warning to others that this location is out of bounds.

She’s bored

Mental stimulation is very important for these highly intelligent creatures, and bad behaviors such as scratching are often the result of being bored.

How you can stop you cat from scratching your furniture​​​​​​​

Fortunately, there are some things that you can do to prevent your cat from scratching up your flooring and furniture, which will make your relationship a much more harmonious one!

Get her a scratching post

Many people who are new to feline ownership think that scratching posts are optional, toy-like products. However, by providing your feline friend with a scratching post, you are providing her with somewhere that she can fulfil her natural urge to scratch without worrying that you will be cross with her later. You are also giving her a tool to work off some of her excess energy, reduce her stress levels and prevent her from becoming bored.

There are many different types of scratching post, and some owners opt to put one on each floor of their home. Getting her used to the post may take a little while if she is not used to it. Start by placing her near the post and letting her sniff and explore it. Then gently take her paws and run them down the post, which will mark it with her scent, reminding her of what she should do there. You may also wish to consider placing catnip on the post which will help lure her there. When she uses the post, give her plenty of praise and attention, which will help positively reinforce the behavior.

Clean pre-scratched areas of your home

By cleaning flooring or furniture that she has scratched previously and removing her scent, you will help to break the habit of re-marking the area as soon as her scent fades. This is something that should be done in conjunction with using a scratching post.

Ensure she feels secure

One of the primary reasons that cats scratch is because they feel vulnerable. However, by improving the security of your home, you can help her feel secure which could in turn reduce her need to scratch. Some of the ways you can improve your home security include:

- Ensure that she has some high-up places she can relax. Cats enjoy a good vantage point as this decreases their vulnerability.

- Getting rid of your cat flap or fitting a variety that only allows your cat to enter.

- Using her own scent to make her feel comfortable. Dab a damp cloth on your cat’s face then rub it over areas of the house that she usually scratches. This will spread her scent without the need for her claws.

If you would like further advice on the best ways to prevent your cat from scratching, contact us and speak to our veterinarian.