Cats may look cute and adorable, but they can come with a string of problems – like scratching! In this article, you’ll learn how to stop your cat from scratching.
Why do cats scratch furniture?
Scratching is a normal behavior cats engage in. This behavior can be quite a problem as this leads to damage in furniture. Believe it or not, scratched up furniture is one of the most common reasons cats are surrendered to shelters.
Generally, cats scratch the furniture and random objects because of the following reasons:
- To sharpen their claws,
- Remove the outer castings of the claw,
- De-stress and loosen up,
- Mark their territory with the use of the glands in their paws,
How to stop your cat from scratching
The truth is you cannot stop your cat from scratching because it is a very normal behavior. But there is hope. Instead of stopping your cat from scratching, you can train your cat to scratch somewhere else.
What you can do is to make your cat’s current scratching target unpleasant while providing him an alternative target like scratching posts and scratching boards. While you are in the process of diverting your cat’s attention to the new scratching target, cover the old one with thick plastic or double-sided tape.
Another option is to keep a spray bottle filled with water and use it to stop your cat as soon as he stops in front of his old scratching target. Many cats also hate citrus smells so placing or rubbing an orange or lemon peel beside the old scratching target may help.
Now that you’ve started making your cat dislike his old scratching target, it’s time to make him like the new one. You can encourage your cat to use the scratching post or scratching board by spraying it with catnip spray or rubbing fresh catnip on it. Cats like scratching after a nap so placing the new scratching post close near your cat’s bed or favorite sleeping spot may help.
If you notice your cat stopping at a piece of furniture, hurry up and stop him. Gently pick him up and carry him in front of the scratch post. If the cat uses scratches on it, do praise him and offer him a reward.
Some owners choose to have their paws declawed but this procedure is very painful for cats, and we strongly disagree with this practice. Regularly trimming your cat’s claws also minimizes the damage to your furniture.
Never punish your cat physically. A firm and authoritative “no” and a spray bottle is more effective than spanking your cat.