Scratching is an instinctual behavior that's shared by all members of the feline family, including domestic cats. In the wild, scratching is harmless enough, but in the home it can result in shredded couches, sofas, recliners, beds and practically any other fabric-based item. So, how do you stop cats from scratching your furniture?
Animal behavior experts believe cats scratch for two reasons:
- Scratching wears down their nails to prevent painful overgrowth.
- Scratching informs nearby animals of their location.
Deter Scratching on Furniture
The easiest way to instantly deter a cat from scratching your furniture is to spray it with a water bottle. As you probably already know, cats hate water (most of them, at least), so spraying them will typically cause them to pause for a second and run away. It's not a long-term solution to your cat-scratching problem, but it will instantly stop them when they are caught in the act.
Another technique that's helpful for deterring scratching on furniture is to apply a small amount of apple cider vinegar. First, dilute the vinegar in water using a 50/50 ratio. Next, spray a very small amount on any furniture that you cat is known scratch. The strong odor of the vinegar should deter them from scratching. Of course, you can also use anti-scratching sprays, which are available for sale at most pet supply stores and certain veterinarians.
Invest In a Scratching Post
Regardless of what anyone says, you can't take the instinctual desire to scratch out of a cat. Rather than constantly harassing your cat with a water bottle, provide them with something they can scratch, such as a scratching post.
Here are some tips on how choose a proper scratching post:
- Make sure it's level and sturdy. Your cat may not use a scratching post if it's wobbly.
- Choose a scratching post with a platform that's long enough for your cat to scratch out on.
- Do not purchase scratching posts covered in standard carpet. The looped fibers of the carpet may get caught underneath your cat's claws, causing pain and discomfort.
- Sisal fiber scratching posts are a safe and effective alternative to carpet.
- Consider the color of a scratching post and how it impacts your home decor.
After purchasing a new scratching post, introduce your cat to it. Cats love to investigate new objects in the home, and chances are they will immediately begin to scratch it. Congratulations, your furniture is now free from the clutches of your cat's claws!