Cats like to scratch furniture, often much to the owner's frustration. Why do cats do this and how can you prevent your cat from scratching your furniture? We explain why and give 6 tips to prevent scratching.
Why cats scratch
Cats scratching is deep in their instincts, cats scratch mainly to give off scent to their environment. Did you know, for example, that a cat has glands in their paws and between the toes that allow them to emit scent? Another reason cats scratch is to sharpen their claws, removing the sheaths from their claws to keep them healthy. This happens even more often when the cat doesn't go outside, because there is nowhere to sharpen its nails. Another reason a cat will scratch is because she feels stressed. When a cat is stressed, scratching can be a way to release and get rid of the stress.
Prevent your cat from scratching furniture
Can you prevent your cat from scratching your furniture? There are different ideas about that. First, it is good to know that scratching is not a one-time phenomenon. Cats will want to renew the scents they leave through scratching. Moreover, it is difficult to teach a cat that they are no longer allowed to scratch a certain object. Punishment is therefore not a good option because the animal will feel more stressed because of this. That stress then leads to cats scratching even more to get rid of this stress. It is better to accept the scratching and teach the cat that they should scratch elsewhere.
When a cat scratches furniture
If your cat is already scratching furniture, don't worry, with a little patience and some tricks, we can adjust this behavior just fine. It is important to realize that a cat often scratches the first piece of furniture that it encounters upon entering. For example, cats more often scratch furniture (via) that they encounter on their normal walking route and where they have a better view of the space. Scratching furniture often occurs because a cat does not have another suitable scratching post or because this scratching post is in the wrong place in the house. Finally, yelling at a cat not to scratch furniture can be counterproductive; the cat may very well be looking for attention and that's exactly what it gets when you come up with another warning.
Tips when scratching furniture
1. Purchase a good scratching post
An easy option to prevent cats from scratching furniture is to install an (extra) scratching post. A good scratching post stands firmly on the ground and is long enough for a cat to stretch out completely. Make sure the scratching post is in a place that your cat often walks past. You can also stimulate a cat extra to use the scratching post by rubbing it with catnip. We also recommend rewarding a cat (in the beginning) when he uses the scratching post.
2. Reward your cat for good behavior
Cats need attention, but if they learn that they get attention when they scratch a piece of furniture, they are actually "rewarded" for the wrong behavior. It is advisable not to pay attention to cats when they scratch a furniture and to give extra attention and rewards when they scratch a scratching post or scratching furniture. After a while, the cat will associate scratching the scratching post with the “reward” and will only choose this option.
3. Spay or neuter a cat
Hormones can be a major cause of annoying cat behavior. For example, males will mark their territory by "spraying" based on natural behavior and females can also become quite difficult due to changing hormones. Spaying or neutering your cat is a procedure that can make your cat significantly calmer and help prevent your cat from scratching furniture.
4. Spending more time with your cat
Boredom and loneliness are reasons for scratching furniture. Cats want to be stimulated and the best way to do that is to spend time with your cat. Make sure you have enough toys at home to entertain your cat.
5. Letting the cat outside
If your cat can go outside, this offers more opportunities to scratch, but also, for example, to mark their territory. Outdoor cats are less likely to scratch furniture indoors than indoor cats.
6. Stick foil where your cat scratches furniture
If that cat continues to scratch furniture then there is another good alternative option, stick special available foil on the places where cats often scratch the furniture. Cats generally find the adhesive film unpleasant, so they will no longer scratch the furniture. Make sure that you continue to offer a good alternative where your cat can go to scratch.