How to Stop Cats from Scratching Furniture and Carpet

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9 Minute Read
Updated May 30, 2022

Cats scratch, that's a fact, but when they start scratching your furniture, it's time to take action. Learn how to stop cats from scratching furniture.

One of the most common complaints people have about their cats is that they scratch furniture. It can be very frustrating to come home and find your beautiful couch or chair ruined by your cat's claws. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to keep your cat from scratching your furniture. 

This article is going to go over everything you need to know about why cats scratch furniture, how to stop your cats from scratching your furniture, and the best products to stop cats from scratching furniture.

 

Why Do Cats Scratch Furniture?

Cats scratch furniture for a variety of reasons. Some do it to stretch their muscles and keep their claws healthy. Others scratch as a way of marking their territory. And still, others scratch simply because it feels good!

Some cats scratch furniture when they are stressed or anxious. If your cat is scratching furniture more than usual, it may be a sign that something is bothering him or her. It's important to determine why your cat is scratching in the first place so you can figure out the best course of action on helping your cat stop.

Whatever the reason for your cat's furniture-scratching habits, it's important to find a way to stop it. Scratching can damage your furniture and make it look unsightly. Plus, it can be frustrating and even painful if you accidentally get scratched yourself!

 

7 Ways to Prevent Your Cat from Scratching Furniture

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No one wants their couches to be shredded by their playful kitten. Here are a number of ways that you can keep your cat's cute little paws off your furniture! 

1. Provide an Acceptable Scratching Surface

Cats like to scratch because it feels good on their claws. So one way to discourage them from scratching furniture is to provide them with plenty of other things to scratch. 

Cats need to scratch, so give them something that's okay to scratch. Cat trees and scratching posts are great options, but you can also use cardboard boxes, towels or blankets rolled up tightly, or even a piece of carpeting. Just make sure it's sturdy and won't tip over easily.

If your cat isn't using the scratching posts you've provided, try making them more appealing. This could mean adding a little catnip or placing them in strategic locations around the house.

2. Keep Your Cat From Getting Bored

If your cat is scratching your furniture, it may be because they're bored or stressed. Provide them with plenty of toys and playtime to keep their minds occupied, and consider adding a cat tree or other climbing structure for them to scratch. 

If you give your cat different toys and activities, she will be much more likely to have fun and be happier. This will reduce problematic behaviours like scratching your furniture. Make sure to also keep your cat active to keep her happy and healthy- as well as keep boredom at bay. 

3. Trim Your Cat’s Nails Regularly

One of the best ways to stop cats from scratching furniture is to keep their nails trimmed. You can do this yourself at home with a pair of pet nail trimmers, or you can take them to a groomer or vet for professional nail trimming. Depending on how often your cat scratches, you may need to trim their nails every couple of weeks or so.

Consider getting nail clippers, scissors, or a grinder to help cut your cat’s nails more easily at home. Here are some excellent choices: 

    • Baxter & Bella Nail Scissors for Cats is the perfect way to efficiently and quickly trim your cat's nails. These scissors are comfortable, sharp, and resistant to rust, so you can cut your kitty's nails for years to come.
    • Baxter & Bella Nail Clippers for Cats is a great nail clipper that is suitable for cats of any size or stage of life.  Both you and your cat will have an easier experience during a nail clipping session with these sharp and effective clippers.
    • JW Gripsoft Palm Nail Grinder for Pets is an easy-to-use cordless nail grinder that is perfect for both cats and dogs. It is small enough to fit in the palm of your hand but big enough to get the job done on even the toughest of nails.

4. Use Cat-Friendly Deterrents

If you’ve tried reducing stressors and still need to know how to keep cats from scratching the couch or other furniture, you can use cat-friendly deterrents. 

You can try using a deterrent like double-sided tape or aluminum foil on the areas you don't want your cat to scratch. Some people also recommend using lemon or orange peel but be warned that this may not smell great to you either.

Other cat owners recommend a homemade spray to stop cats from scratching furniture, but many have reported that they are ineffective or also give off an unpleasant smell to humans, too!   

Instead, try one of our top products to stop cats from scratching furniture:

  • Sticky Paws Furniture Strips. These double-sided adhesive strips stick directly to furniture, carpet, rugs, and more. They are applied directly to the surface that your cat is scratching and is ideal for even large surfaces. This product really helps deter cats from scratching places they shouldn't!
  • Ssscat Automated Deterrent. This battery-operated device emits an odourless, harmless spray when your cat gets too close, deterring them from the area. This is a top-rated spray to stop cats from scratching furniture and is recommended by furry pet parents all over Canada. 
  • Feliway Classic Spray is a stress-reducing odourless pheromone spray that helps kittens and cats keep calm. This helps reduce problematic behaviours such as scratching furniture and urine marking. 

5. Reduce Stress in Your Cat

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A stressed cat is more likely to scratch furniture, urinate outside the litter box, or display other destructive behaviours. Here are some tips for reducing stress in your cat's life:

Create a Comfortable Space for Your Cat

As anyone who has ever shared their life with a cat knows, they are creatures of habit. They like things to be just so, and any change in their routine can be unsettling. It’s especially important to keep a routine and comfortable area if your cat suffers from anxiety

It's important to create a comforting space for your cat where they can feel safe and secure. When your cat feels safe, he or she is much less likely to scratch up the furniture.

Here are some tips on how to do just that.

      • Choose the right location. Your cat's comfort zone should be in a quiet area away from any foot traffic or other pets in the home. A spare bedroom or office would be ideal.
      • Make sure the space is properly equipped. Your cat's space should have all the essentials, including a litter box, food and water bowls, scratching posts, bedding, and toys. It's also a good idea to include some of your cat's favourite things, like a soft blanket or a favourite toy.
      • Create hiding spots. Cats feel safest when they have places to hide. Provide them with a few cardboard boxes or covered pet beds where they can retreat to when they feel overwhelmed.
      • Keep the space clean and tidy. A clean and clutter-free space will help your cat feel more relaxed. Be sure to scoop the litter box daily and wipe down any surfaces as needed.

By following these tips, you can create a comforting space for your cat that will help keep your cat from scratching.

Consider using Pheromone Products

Pheromones are chemicals that can help reduce stress in cats. You can find pheromone products at most pet stores or online retailers. Feliway Friends Diffuser Starter Kit is an odourless pheromone that is designed for multiple cat households.

This product is veterinarian recommended and clinically proven to reduce tension and stress.

Give Your Cat Plenty of Attention 

Cats are social creatures and need interaction with their humans to stay happy and healthy. Spend time petting and playing with your cat every day. This will help keep your cat feeling stimulated and loved, which can reduce anxiety and stress that can cause furniture scratching. 

By following these tips, you can help reduce stress in your cat's life and prevent them from engaging in destructive behaviours.

6. Consider Behaviour Modification

In some cases, behaviour modification may be necessary to stop a cat from scratching furniture. This can be done through positive reinforcement, such as rewarding your cat when they scratch an appropriate surface, or negative reinforcement, such as squirting them with water when they scratch furniture.

Consult with a qualified animal behaviourist to determine the best approach for your cat.

7. Reward Your Cat When He Doesn't Scratch

If your cat is good about not scratching, be sure to give him plenty of love and attention. Let him know that he's doing a good job!

Finally, have patience and keep rewarding your cat for good behaviour to help them stop scratching your furniture altogether.

 

What NOT To Do

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Now that we've gone over what you should do, let's discuss some things to keep in mind that could actually be detrimental to teaching your furry friend how to stop scratching your furniture.

Don't Declaw Your Cat

First and foremost, please don't declaw your cat. It's a cruel and inhumane practice that does nothing to solve the root of the problem: why they're scratching in the first place. Furthermore, while declawing may seem like a simple procedure, it's actually quite complicated and can result in a lot of pain for your cat, both during the surgery and afterwards. Declawing isn't just removing the cat's nails. It's actually an operation that involves amputating the last joint of each toe.

Your cat uses their claws for balance and to help them stretch their muscles, so removing them can lead to a host of physical problems including joint pain, arthritis, and mobility issues. In addition, because declawed cats often can't use their claws to defend themselves, they may become more aggressive or bite more often.

So please, don't declaw your cat. There are much kinder and more effective ways to solve the furniture scratching problem.

Don't Use Punishment

Another thing to avoid is using punishment as a means to get your cat to stop scratching furniture. This will only serve to scare or stress them out, which could lead to other behavioural issues. Plus, it probably won't work anyway since cats don't really respond well to punishment.

There are other options for dealing with a cat that scratches furniture that is much more humane, so declawing should never even be considered.

Don't Get Angry or Frustrated

It's important not to get angry or frustrated when your cat is scratching furniture because this will only serve to upset them and make the problem worse. Instead, remain calm and patient while you work on teaching them not to scratch.

 

Every Cat Is Different

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What works for one cat may not work for another. You'll need to experiment with different approaches to figure out what works best for your cat.  Some cats may stop scratching after using a spray, while others may need more intensive training including behavioural modification.

And remember, it takes time and patience to train a cat not to scratch furniture. But if you're consistent and keep at it, eventually you will see results.

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What strategies have you used to stop your cat from scratching up your furniture and other valuables? Let us know in the comments below!

Written by

Homes Alive Pets

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