We all know that sound—the pure terror of your cat’s claws snagging another part of your couch. It’s inevitable, really. Cats have claws, and your furniture is the perfect place—in their eyes—to sharpen them.
If you’re like me, you may have given up and given in to the fact that your furniture is just theirs to destroy now. But if you haven’t quite reached that point of defeat, there are ways to redirect your kitty while keeping them happy and your couch looking great.
Don’t believe me? Keep reading.
First and foremost, we need to discuss a very important topic.
Cats need their claws.
Under no circumstances whatsoever should you consider having your cat declawed.
Cat declawing was a very popular—and barbaric—act until recently, when people got some wits about the subject and realized how cruel it was. Now, many cities are making this procedure illegal. As it should be.
Your cat needs their claws. A cat’s claws are an extension of their paws. If they are cut off, your cat loses a great deal of function. Not to mention their primary line of defense. When you take away their claws, you make them more likely to bite and have serious medical problems throughout their life. Plus, many declawed cats find using a litter box too painful—because the pellets can hurt their misshapen feet—and will stop going in it altogether.
I understand that the scratching of your personal belongings can be frustrating, but your cat’s health, safety, and happiness is so much more important than keeping a couch in pristine condition.
Do not declaw your cat.
Why do cats scratch furniture?
They’re stretching their backs.
The next time your cat starts to scratch your furniture, take a look at what they are actually doing. They aren’t purposefully trying to shred the fabric—they’re actually stretching their backs. Sure, their claws are probably dug into the couch, but that’s because they’re trying to leverage themselves to get the best stretch possible. Your furniture is the perfect height for this, making it a prime spot for your cat.
They’re sharpening their claws.
On occasion, cats will also scratch your furniture because they are trying to sharpen their claws. Again, they’re not doing it out of some spite for you. They’re doing it to keep their paws in good shape.
They’re marking their territory.
Some cats also scratch on your furniture because they want to mark their scent. Cats have a large number of scent glands on their paws. By scratching on a surface, they can deposit their scent and claim it as their own. Once again, there’s no sneaky attempt to ruin your home. They simply want your space—and the areas that you spend a lot of time in, aka your couch—to smell like them, which will make them more comfortable overall.
How can I make my cat stop scratching my furniture?
Now that you know why your cat is scratching up your furniture, you can start to find a way to encourage them to stop. While not every tactic will work for every home, here are some trusted tips to try:
- Place a cat scratcher by problem areas. If you don’t want your cat scratching on the corner of your couch, put a tall cat scratcher made from sisal or carpet right next to it. This is a “yes” for your cat, and should help redirect at least some of their scratching to a better place.
- Put double sided tape on your furniture. Some cats don’t like the feel of tape, so sticking it to your furniture may deter them from scratching there. They will feel the tape, and choose a different area to scratch—ideally, a well-placed cat scratcher. Some cats also hate the feel of velvet, making it another great option to try.
- Keep their nails trimmed. Sharp cat nails can be incredibly detrimental to your couch and other furniture. Once a week, trim your cat’s nails so that they are duller and will cause less damage. Be careful not to trim them too short, though!
- Distract them with toys. Punishment doesn’t work for cats. Don’t yell at them and never spray them with water. Instead, distract them with a toy when they start to scratch. Interactive wands are perfect for moving a cat’s attention from your couch to an approved toy.
I have used a combination of the above to get my cats to stop tearing up our furniture. Some worked well (like keeping more scratchers nearby) while others didn’t (Belle started to eat the double sided tape!). But don’t lose hope! Have patience, and you’ll find a solution that works for your home.
I know a lot about cats, but I’m not a veterinarian. Please don’t take any of the statements I give as medical advice and do always consult your trusted vet.