Why Does Your Cat Scratch?
First, it’s important to understand why your cat is scratching the furniture. Most cats scratch for one of two reasons:
- To keep their claws sharp – clawing at furniture is a good way for your cat to keep his or her claws sharp.
- To exercise/play – scratching furniture is actually a fun shoulder, arm, back, and paw exercise for your cat. He or she may be scratching the furniture simply out of boredom.
How to Prevent Scratching
If you want to stop your cat from scratching furniture, you should:
- Buy at least one scratching post – scratching posts provide the same relief to your cat without ruining your expensive upholstery. Ideally, you should purchase a scratching post to place near any furniture or other upholstery your cat is scratching. When selecting your cat’s scratching post, make sure that it is sturdily built—you don’t want to it be easily knocked over when your cat puts pressure on it. You should also choose a scratching post that is rough and coarse.
- Train your cat to use the scratching post – getting the scratching posts isn’t enough—the more challenging aspect will probably be training your cat to use the scratching posts. Positive reinforcement is one of the best ways to get your cat to enjoy the scratching post. Gently place your cat in front of it and praise him or her with a treat any time your cat interacts with the scratching post. You can also try dangling a toy in front of the scratching post so your cat can discover the post him or herself.
- Protect your furniture with covers or sprays – as a precaution, you may want to protect your furniture—especially at the early stages of training. You can use a protective cover for your couch or try a citrus oil spray by mixing one capful of orange oil and one capful of eucalyptus oil in a spray bottle of water. Most cats find this smell to be a deterrent, but if it’s not, experiment with some other scents. Ideally, you should find something that will both repel your cat and add a pleasant odor to your home.
Sometimes, scratching becomes incredibly difficult to stop—especially if it is due to a behavioral issue. If you’ve done everything you can to try and prevent your cat from scratching the furniture and they’re still scratching, call the experts at Germantown Vet. We can discuss any behavioral issues your cat may be having and try to determine underlying causes for the scratching.