Problem Solving: Scratching Furniture

Why do cats scratch things?

  • Normal, instinctive behaviour.
  • Removes dead outer layer of claws.
  • Visual and scent marking territory (they have scent glands on their paws).
  • To stretch body, flex their feet and claws.

See Trimming Cats’ Claws below.

How to stop cats scratching furniture

  • What surfaces does the cat scratch, vertical, horizontal, where, when?
  • Provide a variety of scratching objects in different locations where your cat wants them e.g. sturdy, rope-covered upright posts, flat corrugated cardboard scratch pads, back side of carpet square, small chemical-free logs.
  • Scratching objects must be tall/long enough for cat to stretch out on.
  • Add toys/cat nip/Feliscratch by Feliway to help redirect your cat to use the scratching object provided. Feliscratch is available from Ten Lives, vet clinics and pet stores.
  • Train cats the scratching items provided are acceptable places to scratch. Click here for information on Training Cats.
  • Cover items you want your cat to stop scratching (such are the arms of lounge chairs and sofas) with double-sided sticky tape, contact paper sticky side out, aluminium foil, or thick plastic.
  • Use wide strips of fabric soaked in citrus menthol or use pet store cat repellents. Do not put them too close to scratching objects. Use until using scratching posts consistently then remove one at a time.
  • Praise and reward consistently every time acceptable scratching objects are used. Once consistent, continue to reward intermittently. Leave scratching objects in cats preferred location if possible.
  • Trim and check cats claws every couple of weeks.
  • Do not punish cats for scratching off-limits items, it may create other stress related behavioural problems.

Trimming Cats’ Claws