how to stop cats from scratching furniture: scratching behavior, scientific interventions, and limiting abilities.
From a human perspective, cats scratching furniture and some other household items may be purely destructive behavior, but not from a cat’s perspective. It’s a natural behavior for cats because they need to keep their claws in an optimal condition, and they leave visual markers and scent markers on furniture in order to communicate with other cats or other animals about that whole territorial boundary thing.
Scratching, on the other hand, is a form of exercise for cats that helps them stretch and contract their shoulders, legs and claws. Because scratching is a natural activity for cats, protecting your furniture and other household items may take a little ingenuity and effort, but it’s not impossible to accomplish.
First，Understanding and changing scratching behavior
1. Understand and appreciate the purpose of cat scratching
Please believe that cat scratching furniture is never meant to make you feel bad. Cats scratch furniture because it’s a great way to exercise the muscles, stretching the entire body from paws to legs, shoulders, and back. In addition, scratching sharpens a cat’s claws and cleans its sheath.
Cats also use their claws to leave odors on furniture that are difficult for humans to distinguish. But to cats and other animals such odors are noticeable and meaningful.
2. Be patient and understanding of cats
I’m sure you all love your kittens and cherish the precious relationship you have with them. Cats know when you are caring for them and they will certainly return the favor. If cats feel they are getting attention and praise, they will do their best to please their human companions.
Over time, with repeated love-filled practice, your cat should not be in the habit of scratching the furniture, but rather replacing their scratching with something else.
3. Purchase at least one cat scratching board or other item for your cat that they can scratch on.
A cat scratching board is the best option for this problem, but encouraging your cat to use it will take time.
Before you buy a cat scratching board, you need to consider what kind of cat scratching board is right for your cat. A cat scratching board should be at least as tall as your cat when standing on its hind legs. The cat scratching board must be stable to ensure that it does not wobble when the cat uses it with force.
Cat scratching boards also come in different sizes and types. For example, some cat scratching boards are placed flat while others are upright, and you can have several different types of cat scratching boards for your cat at the same time. Something is better than nothing. Some cats like to scratch things on a horizontal surface, such as a carpet. A horizontally placed scratching board is a good choice for them.
4. Strategically placing cat scratching boards
First figure out what furniture the cat has scratched and determine where that furniture is located. Make sure the scratching board is in the most prominent place in the room and next to furniture that cats like to scratch.
If you have a new kitten, place the scratching board next to furniture you think it might scratch.
If the cat is scratching and marking on more than one piece of furniture, place the scratching pad in those areas to create the right scratching equipment for them. If your home is two stories, you have a large house, or you have more than one cat, then having more than one cat scratching board is a very good decision.
If your cat always likes to scratch the couch, then place a cat scratching board next to the couch. You can also place the clothes you are going to wash on top of the scratch marks that have been created or place some other personal items on top of it so that your cat will see it as part of your territory. If your cat is very fond of a particular person in the house, place the scratching pad next to that person’s favorite couch or chair so that it is more appealing to him!
5. Train your cat to use a scratching board
Train your cat to use a cat scratching board for scratching instead of scratching with something else. Encourage your cat to put its paws on the new cat scratching board. Gently place your cat in front of the cat scratching board while gently petting it and waiting for it to respond to the board.
If you want to make this cat scratching board more appealing to your cat, you can purchase some catnip spray to spray on top of the board, which is always more appealing to cats.
Whenever you see your cat scratching with the cat scratching board, be sure to praise it, pat it and give it a tasty treat. Some people suggest that you can gently place your cat’s front paws on the cat scratching board or cat climbing frame, or even move the paws up and down to encourage your cat. But I have to warn you that cats almost always hate being forced to do anything, and this can have a very negative effect.
You can also hang one of his favorite toys on the cat climber so he will use the cat climber in order to play with the toy.
Another way to get your cat to like the cat scratching board. Whenever you come home, don’t rush to greet your cat until you get to the place where you put the scratching board or the cat climbing frame. Gently scratch your cat after standing next to the scratching board and tell them how happy you are to see them. If they walk towards the scratching board and start scratching it, gently pet your cat and praise it in a gentle tone of voice.
Second, stop the undesirable scratching behavior
1. Use your tone of voice to correct their behavior
Whenever your cat approaches a scratchy piece of furniture, a sharp “no” can help reduce its interest in scratching. Note that cats may learn not to scratch when you’re present, or they may continue to scratch furniture when you’re not there because they are directly associating punishment with you.
Another way to control their scratching of furniture is to scare them by throwing a small coin next to them when you see them approaching the furniture and ready to scratch. Don’t let your cat realize that you threw the coin. That way, it will think that the coin has something to do with scratching the furniture and nothing to do with you. This way, cats are less likely to scratch the furniture when you’re not there, because they are directly associating scratching the furniture with the coin that makes them feel uncomfortable.
Stop them without sounding angry or bad-mouthing your cat! Remember, these are natural behaviors for them and you are capable of controlling your emotional outbursts.
Never scold your cat when they come near or use a scratching board or anything else like that. They need to associate scratching with all things happy.
2. Use water to stop your cat’s bad behavior
If you have a bottle of water, you can try spraying it on your cat when it approaches the furniture and starts scratching it. It’s best to do this before they start scratching. The water won’t hurt the cat, but it will help the cat associate scratching the furniture with a less-than-comfortable spray!
Again, this will cause the cat to associate your presence with the spray, so they may scratch the furniture when you’re not there.
3. Divert your cat’s attention
Sometimes you just need to physically stop your cat from scratching the furniture. Move them away from the scratching and make them do something else. Try giving them a toy to play with or petting them for a while.