Do you know the horrifying sight of your cat making ribbons out of the armrests of your favorite soft chair? We recognize your suffering. We also know why cats scratch and how to direct their behavior in constructive ways.
Cats scratch, but why?
Why do cats scratch the carpet and furniture? What’s worse is that cats often scratch the walls at night. These were the kinds of queries we used to frequently mutter under our breath, and if you’re reading this, you undoubtedly understand.
The good news is that cats scratch the soft surfaces of your home for reasonable reasons. Once you comprehend them, you may figure out how to lessen the damage those typical cat habits cause to your furniture.
Your home is the perfect place for cats to establish their territory because they enjoy doing it. Just in case you start letting neighborhood cats tour your living room, every swipe of your cat’s nails leaves behind scratch marks and pheromones from the scent glands in their paws that will let any feline guests know exactly whose domain this is. This is a natural behavior that keeps indoor cats nourished and content, even if it may not make much sense to them.
Cats’ physical health benefits from scratching as well! As cat claws mature, they shed their outer layers, and scratching helps to remove them, revealing sharp, ready-to-use claws underneath. Additionally, as we are well aware, cats enjoy a nice stretch, which is exactly what they get when they climb all the way to the top of the scratching post. A satisfying stretch-and-scratch can even be a cat’s way of expressing happiness, which explains why your cat could scratch you when you pet them.
The idea is, it’s okay to scratch. Not completely preventing them from scratching is not the aim (and definitely not to declaw them, which is painful, unnecessarily dangerous, and incredibly distressing for a cat). Instead, we’ll show you how to work with cats’ innate inclinations to discourage them from scratching furniture.
How to Control the Scratching of Cats
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You can’t resist instinct, thus you’ll never be able to stop a cat from scratching! Instead, the secret is to get your cat to scratch on things like scratching posts and other places where people are allowed (i.e. not your couch).
Get them a range of cat trees and scratching posts, including some made of rope, cardboard, and wood, as well as upright and flat posts. (Consider bypassing carpeted posts; if your cat can scratch carpet there but not elsewhere in the home, it can be confusing.)
Place poles close to (or even in front of) the animals’ current preferred areas for scratching.
Other signs should be placed near where they like to hang out, such as beside the litter box, next to your customary location on the couch, or where they like to take naps so they can stretch out when they wake up.
Rub catnip on the poles and decorate them with your cat’s preferred toys to make them more alluring.
Avoid Scratching Unwanted Areas
Making their old objectives less desirable is the next stage after providing better areas to scratch. These suggestions are crucial for cats who scratch anything other than their scratching posts, yet some cats may readily switch to their scratching posts.
It’s crucial to understand that we DO NOT advise yelling at, frightening, or spraying your cat when it scratches. When necessary, you can relocate them away from the area, but if you’re the one reprimanding them, they can associate your reprimanding with frightening things rather than scratching. You can quit searching for homemade remedies to keep cats off of furniture and choose a far less intrusive strategy instead!
Where possible, remove or cover their typical scratching areas. For instance, briefly turn them against the wall if they scratch your speakers.
Cover the scarred areas with something unpleasant-feeling, such as tin foil or double-sided sticky tape. They won’t itch something if it hurts when they do.
Make the areas where they typically plant their feet to receive their scratches less comfortable by using rough carpet runners or crinkly tin foil.
You won’t always have a couch covered in tin foil, so don’t worry. You may wean your cat off of these temporary modifications as they break its old behaviors and begin scratching in more advantageous places.
Maintain Those Claws
It’s a good idea to keep your cat’s nails short and smooth to minimize scratching damage. To keep their nails cut, you can use a nail grinder or cat-specific nail clippers. To learn how to clip your cat’s nails completely, read this article.
After trimming your nails, you might try using cat nail caps. Each claw has a soft plastic cover that is glued over it; this cover will eventually come off as the nail’s outer covering sheds. Although they’re painless and guard against the majority of scratching damage, some cats don’t appreciate having their claws covered and will go to great lengths to rip off the kitty manicure. After a few tries with the nail caps, if your cat continues to resist, you’ll need to see how patient they are and how much they respect their boundaries.
You may improve your connection with your cat and maintain furniture that is so spotless and free of scratches that guests wouldn’t even know they were in a cat household—you know if it weren’t for all the fur—by making compromises between what you want and what your cat needs.
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