Cat clawing on furniture is a destructive behavior. However, this is their natural behavior for various reasons. Cats will scratch while playing, stretching or to mark their territory.They also scratch to remove worn out claws. These scratching can cause a lot of damage to the furniture. Since it’s impractical to stop cats from scratching, the best way is to provide them with alternative scratching surfaces or make their claw blunt. There are various ways to train your cat to scratch on certain surfaces.
Redirect the cat’s scratching behavior
Provide the cat with appropriate scratching spot. These are various scratching posts with different surfaces and qualities. The posts should be made of cardboard, carpet, wood, sisal, and upholstery. They could be horizontal, vertical or slanted. The most suitable surface depends on your cat’s preference. These posts should be at various locations especially next to that furniture that the cat likes to scratch. Ensure that these posts are sturdy and won’t shift or collapse when the cat is using them. Most cats prefer tall posts so that they can stretch fully. If a cat like scratching doorframes then provide him with alternative cat furniture or scratching post made of cedar. A cat that like scratching soft sides of couch, then consider carpeted cat tree or perch. Cats also like sisal scratching surface. A good scratching surface should be tall and sturdy but not heavy. Avoid posts that are fluffy and instead go for rough and course tree like surfaces. Posts with sisal fiber wound around them are the best scratching surfaces. Place the cat tree or post next to the furniture that the cat likes to scratch the most. Train the cat to use the scratching surface by placing him in front of it and gently stroke him to encourage him to scratch the surface. Encourage the cat to use the posts by scenting them with a catnip or hanging playing toys on them. These will encourage her to use the scratching spot. Use a scat mat to deter the cat from certain surfaces. Close doors to those rooms with furniture, furnishing, and objects that are of great value. Keep your valuable antiques and furniture in a cat free zone.
Limit the cat’s ability to scratch
Trim your cat’s claws frequently to blunt the damage she can cause to the furniture. Use a quality clipper to squeeze each paw exposing retractable claws. Sheathing claws with soft claws nail caps which can last for up to 6 weeks. Clip your cat claw regularly. Put plastic caps on your cat’s claws to prevent damaging surfaces when they scratch them. You can glue the nail yourself or ask for vet’s help. Allow the cat to spend some time outdoor so that they can scratch the tree surfaces instead of the furniture. Declaw the cat. This is the removal of the cat’s claws to prevent them from scratching. Amputating the cat’s toes causes her a great amount of pain. Declawing is considered as cruel and it’s illegal in some countries. Cats that undergo declawing become aggressive and show signs of fear and stress. It also makes them prone to predators because they cannot defend themselves. They are also unable to stretch properly.
Halt the cat’s scratching behavior
Startle your cat each time you find him in the scratching act. Use your tone of voice to deter your cat interest whenever they try to claw the furniture. You could throw some pebbles close to the cat to startle them anytime they want to scratch the furniture. By startling him, he is less likely to claw the furniture in your absence. Once you notice that your cat wants to scratch, place them next to a scratching post. This is a way of conditioning him/her to use the scratching surface that you have provided for them. Use water to stop your cat from scratching the furniture. Whenever he/she goes near the furniture frighten him by spraying water on him/her. You could also redirect your cat’s attention to something else by providing them with an alternative activity that they enjoy more than scratching. This could be playing with a toy or just taking walk. You could place balloons underneath the sheet covering the furniture so that it will burst when clawed, this will frighten the cat.
Limit the cat’s access to the furniture
Prevent scratching by using unpleasant tapes and sprays. Apply herbal spray deterrent to furniture to discourage scratching. Herbal sprays replace the territorial markers left behind by cats with unpleasant scent discouraging repeat scratch. Double sized tape and sticky strips is another way of discouraging scratching. The sensitivity in cat’s paws makes sticky surfaces annoying to scratch. Cats will avoid such sticky surfaces. Put masking tapes over the arms or back of larger furniture. For carpets and rugs leave the contact sheet sticky side up over the surface you want to protect. Consider using stick paws. This is a medical product that has sticky strips that can be used on curtains, carpets and other surfaces that the cat can scratch. Use the knobby side of a plastic or vinyl furniture floor runner along the back of the couch as the cat doesn’t like the feel of point knobs on their surface. Cover the furniture in plastic covers as cat hate the smell and feel of plastic.