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How To Stop A Cat From Scratching Your Couch?

Cats are often low-maintenance companion animals that give affectionate, cuddly company. Yet, not every aspect of cat or kitten ownership is simple.

Adopting a pet comes with numerous obligations, as is the case with any animal. They include providing them with exercise, food, and grooming.

You must also assist them with any behavioral issues they may have. There is no such thing as a flawless pet, therefore you must exhibit patience and readiness.

One of the most damaging and annoying habits a cat may exhibit is scratching your furniture with its sharp tiny claws. Why is your cat scratching your sofa, and how can you stop it?

"How to Stop a Cat from Scratching Your Couch?" by BestForPets (bestforpets.org) discusses the causes of cat scratching, declawing your cat, ways to regulate the activity, and the transition from scratched furniture to scratching posts.

Cats and Scratching Behavior

Understanding why a pet exhibits a bad behavior is the most effective method for dealing with it. If you can shift this emphasis or alter the necessity for the pattern, the process is typically significantly quicker.

Scratching is normal for cats. You are not attempting to eradicate their inclination to scratch; rather, you are only attempting to divert their focus away from the furniture.

In the wild, they must scratch to maintain the sharpness of their claws by removing the outermost layer of dead skin. Domestic cats do not have the same demands as feral cats, so why are they still interested in scratching?

  • Keeping healthy claws

Domesticated cats must continue to take care of their claws. Scratching on hard surfaces helps domestic cats shed those troublesome nail husks, just as it does with feral cats.

  • Stretching

Cats extend their tendons and muscles from the neck to the shoulders by exposing their claws during a stretch, similar to how grasping our feet for tension during a yoga stretch may help humans stretch deeper.

  • Marking

A cat’s urge to mark its territory is another instinctual motivation for scratching. Little scents are released from scent glands in a cat’s paws when it claims something as its own. Even if there is just one cat in your home, it is still part of the feline social system.

  • Having a satisfying feeling

Lastly, why do cats behave in any way? Because they desire it. Scratching is pleasurable for felines. It is a natural stress reliever and a fun way to play, climb, and fight with other felines in the home.

Should You Declaw Your Cat?

In recent decades, declawing has been the simple option for a large number of cat owners. Then, they will practically be unable to scratch the sofa.

Unfortunately, declawing a cat is a painful and difficult surgery that might cause your cat and you future difficulties.

To declaw a cat, the last bone on each of its toes is amputated so that its claws cannot regenerate. It is the same concept as cutting off the very tips of your fingernails to prevent their regrowth. You would still be able to use your hands, but your fingers would be shorter and devoid of nails.

The fact that cats walk on their paws alters everything for them. It makes it more difficult for children to walk and leap since their equilibrium is significantly impaired. The operation is also fraught with potential problems.

Declawing has been deemed a cruel practice in a number of nations and towns in the United States.

Although the decision to declaw or not remains yours as a cat owner, there are alternative ways to instruct your cat not to scratch your couch and other items.

Methods to Stop a Cat From Scratching Your Couch and Other Furniture

We begin with a few training techniques and items that are commonly employed by individuals. Often, they are only required during training. After your cat knows where to scratch, you will no longer need to worry about wrapping or spraying your furniture.

1. Use cat-scratch tape

Cat-scratch tape is essential for preventing your cat from enjoying furnishings. Cats are sensitive to texture, particularly on their paws. A cat delights in scratching. They do it in part because it makes them feel good.

Placing cat-scratch tape on furniture discourages cats from scratching it. You should position it directly over the desired area, so that their paws will pass over it as they go.

Remember that every cat is unique. Some dislike the tape’s texture, while others do not mind it. Even if the experiment is unsuccessful, it is a relatively minimal expenditure.

2. Put socks or nail caps on their feet

Instead of permanently removing your cat’s claws, you may temporarily dull them to preserve your furnishings. Covering their sharp nails with nail caps effectively blunts them. They may continue to use their nails, but they will no longer be harmful.

The caps are compatible with glue. Thus, you can slide one over each nail, and they will adhere longer.

Some people like transparent caps so they don’t make their cat’s paws seem strange, but others prefer bright colors so they are easier to spot if they come off.

Nail caps are beneficial throughout the training process because they reduce the likelihood that your sofa will be damaged while you and your cat are undergoing training.

3. Use cat-scratch spray

Cat scratch spray is one approach to prevent your cat from scratching your furnishings. Spraying it on a surface will discourage cats from scratching or prevent them from scratching in the first place.

4. Install vinyl panels

Install temporary vinyl panels to cover the sides of your sofa in order to protect it directly. Placing them around the furniture will not be aesthetically pleasing, but you should only need to do this temporarily while training your cat.

The sides of your sofa are inaccessible to your cat’s lethal claws since they are protected by vinyl panels. Even if they are successful, there should be no damage to the cloth on the other side.

5. Provide them a scratching “outlet”

Lastly, it is necessary to provide them with an outlet for scratching. Even a declawed cat will continue to attempt to scratch, proving that this behavior is innate and completely natural.

Scratching posts are the most popular outlet given to cats by their owners and are vital for their training.

How to Stop a Cat From Scratching Furniture

Patience is required whenever you teach a behavior into or out of one of your dogs. Changing and redirecting an automatic action might be difficult at times, especially if you waited too long to act.

Stopping and restarting your training will extend the duration of the procedure tremendously. Doing anything once without success is not indicative of the outcome.

Do anything regularly for a few weeks before trying something new. If you observe any beneficial behavioral change, no matter how minor, you should praise it.

1. Invest on a suitable cat scratching post

Purchase a scratching post to begin the process. If possible, try to pick one that resembles the fabric of their preferred scratching location. You already know that they enjoy this texture, so there is less danger involved.

Especially if you have more than one cat, you may need to test out a variety of posts over time. But, give each one time before switching them out, otherwise the cat may become confused.

2. Place the scratching post in an optimal location

The next step is to position the scratching post such that it will be enticing to your pet.

Select a location that your cat already enjoys. If your cat is gregarious, this unique spot may be near their favorite window for spying or in the room where the family hangs out.

Recall that cats scratch to establish their territory, which is a fundamental cause for their behavior. If you place the post in an empty corner, they will be far less inclined to claim it as their own.

After a snooze, cats frequently enjoy a nice scratch. If they have a standard sleeping space, this may be an ideal location for it.

Reward your cat if you observe it investigating the new post, even from a distance. You want people to connect this content with good things. The more kids interact with it, the more praise and rewards they should receive.

3. Make the furnishings momentarily less appealing

The following step is to make the sofa less appealing to them. Use kitty tape, spray, or vinyl liner to render it unattractive. Then, when they need to scratch, ideally they will utilize the scratching post.

If they wander to a different piece of furniture, continue the process until the scratching post is their only viable alternative.

4. Attract attention to the scratching post

Make the scratching post as inviting as possible once you have rendered their primary scratching location unattractive. You may sprinkle catnip on the post or use their favorite toys to attract cats to it. Have them chase a toy wand up the post so they may experience how good it feels on their paws.

5. If required, employ additional furniture safety precautions

If your cat is still attempting to scratch the furniture, proceed to make more of it unappealing by combining the strategies described above.

Also, make the scratching post as appealing as possible. Try relocating it to a better location or keeping it in the center of the room until they feel emotionally connected to it.

6. Enjoy your scratch-free sofa

If your cat is convinced that the sofa is not a good location to scratch and that the scratching post is superior, you may gradually remove the protective measures.

Don’t do this too soon, so your cat doesn’t perceive their favorite option as “fun” once again. Prior to completely removing the safeguards, their preferred option should have been the post.

When they eventually become best friends with the post, you can rest. Don’t let the post to become too worn, or they won’t want to continue using it. It is recommended to replace the post with the same material so that you do not test the texture tolerance of your furniture.

Final Thoughts

Cats may be highly active at times, which may cause damage to your furniture, especially your beautiful sofa. Try some of the methods in “How to Stop a Cat from Scratching Your Couch?” by BestForPets (bestforpets.org); if done correctly, you may soon have a scratch-free couch. 

Author Image

Dr. Deborah Fletcher

Deborah R. Fletcher, DVM, is a skilled veterinarian with more than 15 years of experience dealing with companion and exotic animals. She has experience caring for a variety of animals, including household cats and dogs, reptiles, birds of prey, and even primates. Dr. Fletcher is a valuable part of the BestForPets team, where she contributes to their aim of providing pets and their owners with the finest possible treatment and services.

Veterinarian (DVM) Dr. Deborah Fletcher


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