How to Stop Your Cat From Scratching Furniture?
Cats have one of the most curious minds of all the creatures. Part of their charm lies in the cognitive/intellectual instincts they surprise their pet parents with. Sniffing and identifying every little thing and spotting changes in a jiffy is part of their inquisitiveness. Scratching and leaving their scent wherever they go, is as synonymous to cats as it can get. We, as aesthetically sound people, of course, do not like the sight of a scratch on any couch, furniture or carpet. But, for our little kitties, scratching is as normal and instinctive as drinking water.
As good parents we must learn and relearn the science behind scratching, and then find measures to curb it. So, are we asking you to tolerate or stop buying new furniture for your beautiful abode? No, you just need to know how you can protect your furniture from your cat, with the help of a few pieces of training, distractions and lots of love.
Scratches on furnishings can be annoying to look at and eventually to get rid of, thus it is important to look for a solution. Sometimes things are not in our power to control, same is the case with our felines. Scratching is an evolved characteristic that puts them at an edge in their survival instincts. In the wilderness, where they are supposed to safeguard themselves and also provide for food, their main armour for these activities is their claws. Scratching predominantly helps a kitty shed off the dead layer of the claw; which is also called a “husk”. This shedding helps them in sharpening their claws, for any potential attack. It helps them maintain a good shape, as it is a proper form of exercise for your kitties.
Anxiousness and stress call for scratching in a cat too, for it expends excess energy and releases tension. Scratching also holds an important place in the territorial instinct of a cat. A cat has scent glands in its paw pads, this scent and visual scratches allow them to respect and mark territories within a space. If there are two or more cats at a place, it will of course extend to a marker of dominance between the multiple cats.
First things first
What not to do!
DO NOT consider the option of Declawing
Declawing involves amputation of the last bone of each toe of a cat. As mentioned above, claws are not only instinctual to a cat or support the sensory system, but provide a role of protection for them. Amputation of such a multi-purpose part of their body, for your convenience, is only going to do you and your cat worse than good.
Prolonged physical ailments, irritability and issues of biting are common after declawing, for the cat will now use aggression to expend their extra energy. Declawing is banned in many countries unless it is used to remove the cancerous cells in the body.
So, what to do?
Keep the claws well-manicured
Why should humans have all the fun?! Who doesn’t like a well-manicured set of nails, so wouldn't your kitty, right!? This would prove to be a two-edged sword, for it would maintain hygiene and keep the detested scratches in check. And pampering is always a good idea!
Incorporate scratching posts
A kitten, in general, begins to scratch around the age of 8 weeks. So, how to train your cat to stop scratching, at such a small age? By observing your kitten in the initial days, of their preferred place of scratching, the texture of the surface they like to scratch, shape of the object and height of it.
The best solution for your cat’s enthusiasm and energy is to install cat scratchers or buy cat scratcher toys online or DIY a piece of furniture for them. Then, habitually make your cat scratch on those particular places, so they learn where to scratch, whenever they feel the urge to. This simple technique of manipulation of place, with the help of toys and catnips, keeps both the pet and pet-parent happy and content.
While your kitten is still in the training period or for some reason is acting out lately, make sure you keep supervision and maintain restrictions to certain leather pieces or fabrics that are prone to scratches. Or if you can lock those rooms that have these furniture items for the time being of training, it would be better.
Cat scratch spray
Various products are available online that can stop your cat from scratching furniture. Cat scratch sprays are the best one-step solution to the problem; spray it regularly on the couch, mat or furniture. Cats hate citrus-based scents, so they would not even roam in the vicinity of the sprayed places. The sprays are easily available online, or you can also DIY it at home, with vinegar, essential citrus oils, garlic and peppers.
As mentioned above, one of the main reasons behind all the scratches in your house is an attempt to claim the territory of that place. So, to remove any traces of territoriality, the same citrus smell spray could be used, so your kitties do not pop up on your couches again. This is called the pet odour eliminator method.
Cat scratch tape
Cats do not like the sticky feeling around their paws. Thus, cat scratch tapes are another irritable object for your kitties that would discourage them from roaming around places you have stuck the tape to. There are multiple pet store online, where these stickies are easily available.
Mittens are the little socks available in the market for cat claws to prevent scratching. These socks also have a plastic alternative, that is nail caps they perform the same function of discouraging our kitties to scratch.
Vinyl guards/A Large throw
Large inexpensive blankets or Vinyl guards could be bought to cover the sofas at your house until your cat learns the ethics of your house. These cover-ups are hassle-free ways of preventing the problem, for you do not have to tame your moody felines in this case.
Training is inescapable
No amount of cat sprays, cat tapes would ever provide a permanent solution, unless you are not complimenting it with Training. While you can not take away a cat’s instinct, you can surely domesticate them to live in comparatively safer environments than the jungle.
As a parent, you cannot punish your child for something they have no control over, similarly, it is beyond the control of your cat to scratch or not to scratch. You could use various techniques to channelise their energy, but to avoid it completely can never be possible. In addition to this, it could also lead to anxiety in them, if you are too harsh or loud with your reprimands. Therefore, it would be better and more mindful if you use the technique of positive reinforcement for your babies.
Cats are intelligent and curious species, they understand and adapt to the environment if taught well and lovingly. Once you start to acknowledge and respect their need to scratch, they would also correspond with respecting your furniture. Like your human babies, fur babies demand some patience and understanding out of you, in return for abundant-pure-love. It is important for you, as a pet parent, to come to common grounds with your kitties, after all, they are your babies!