How to Keep Cats from Scratching Furniture

Big, fluffy kitty
Scratching is a natural feline instinct.

After one too many shredded sofas, many cat owners find themselves desperately in need of solutions to keep cats from scratching furniture. There are several options that can help - from medical interventions to behavior modification.

How to Keep Cats from Scratching Furniture

There are a variety of options that pet owners can explore in order to tame their cat's scratching habit. However, not all will be effective for your cat. Each cat possesses its own unique psychological profile, and some cats respond better to specific methods than others.


The fool-proof method for protecting your furniture is to have your cat declawed. For many cat owners, declawing is simply a given. In fact, this is the only method that is completely effective in maintaining the integrity of your belongings. However, declawing procedures do not come without their fair share of controversy and complications.

Declawing is major surgery for a cat. It can result in surgical complications. Essentially, declawing is nearly the equivalent of removing the last joint in human fingers, so it is not an enjoyable procedure for cats.

Additionally, individuals who have purchased their animals from breeders may also have entered a contractual agreement that prevents a pet owner from declawing his cat. In this event, the owner cannot ethically engage in the declawing practice, and this means that other preventative measures must be employed.

Nail Caps

An alternative to declawing your cat is to provide the animal with soft vinyl nail caps. These nail caps cover the claws and are typically non-toxic. Trimming your animal's nails regularly can lessen the amount of damage your cat can cause while scratching. However, even trimmed nails can be abrasive and rough. Vinyl nail caps such as those sold at will effectively cover the nail and deter any of your cat's best scratching attempts.

However, the downside of these nail caps is that not all cats respond well to their presence. Some cats are downright annoyed by these colorful add-ons, and great amounts of flailing and wailing may occur.

Scratching Posts

Cats like to claw at rough, uneven surfaces. It's no wonder that many cats prefer an upholstered couch over the numerous other furniture items within their domain. What's the best method regarding how to keep cats from scratching furniture? You'll need to provide formidable distractions for your kitty in order to put this issue to rest.Scratching posts are made for this very purpose. The rough, rope-like texture of a scratching post will keep your cat active for hours. Many scratching posts are built into kitty gyms in order to meet your cat's need for both exercise and claw-relief. You can purchase scratching posts at just about any pet store that caters to felines. These posts are considered essential for pet owners, and you'll be surprised at how quickly your cat can reduce this item to a sad weeping pulp. This is okay because it's exactly the purpose for which scratching posts were designed: full, unmitigated destruction.

The Scratching Post Transition

Truly, providing a scratching post is perhaps the best way to circumvent the ritual shaving of your furniture. Scratching is a feline instinct. It feels good for kitty and, more importantly, it is just another manner in which your cat marks his territory. Reducing your china cabinet to a fine powder is kitty's way of saying, "I've arrived!" It's inconceivable that this primal urge can be tamed without the aid of a solid sisal scratching post.

Sadly, not all cats handle the transition to a scratching post well. In fact, pet owners may need to apply great effort getting their cat to recognize the scratching post as a reasonable alternative to furniture. Some experts recommend using the scratching post yourself as a way to demonstrate its use to your cat. This may seem like an awkward endeavor, but if your cat sees how much you enjoy running your fingernails along the post's surface, he will more easily be able to comprehend the object's purpose and entertainment value. You can also rub catnip along the post in order to attract your kitty.

It's even more important to train your cat that the furniture is no longer a scratching option. You may need to wrap certain objects in aluminum foil or utilize electronic training mats while concurrently placing a scratching post in the immediate vicinity. Once your cat realizes that his scratching options are slim, he may take to the post by default.

Scratching Is Not Necessarily a Discipline Issue

Pet owners often like to feel they are in control. Hence, it's tempting to believe that you can discipline your animal to lay off the legs of your coffee table. You might get kitty to steer clear of the coffee table with some repeated spray-bottle action and use of a rolled up newspaper, but somewhere/ somehow, something is getting clawed. So, it's always preferable to purchase that scratching post or apply those nail caps before your home winds up in tatters.

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How to Keep Cats from Scratching Furniture