If you have a cat, then you know they love nothing more than to sink their claws into something and give it a good scratch. The problem is that too often they turn their attention on something valuable — a piece of furniture, for example. Left unchecked, it won’t take long for that expensive piece to become nothing more than one big shredded mess. So, how can you get your cat to stop scratching your furniture? Since declawing your cat is not an option, we’re going to look at several other ways you can protect your furniture from the sharp menace of your cat’s claws.
Protect Your Furniture from Your Cat
1) Buy a Scratching Post
The most obvious solution is to give your cat something else to scratch. You have to understand that scratching is not just something your cat is doing on a whim. Sharpening those claws is a biological imperative that has developed over millions of years of evolution; you’re not going to be able to break your cat of this habit anytime soon. So, giving your cat another option can sometimes fill this need. Scratching posts come in all shapes and sizes to fit your home and your budget, and many of them even come up with extras, such as catnip, to encourage your cat to focus on the post instead of your favorite couch.
2) Make Your Furniture Less Appealing
The scratching might be a biological imperative, but the decision to do it on your furniture isn’t. Instead, that’s simply a result of two factors: convenience and preference. The furniture is convenient simply because it’s there. It’s preferred, however, because of its soft texture. This texture allows the cat to really sink its claws in the material and give it a good scratch. Many cat owners have reported that they have found that one way to fix this is to change the surface of the furniture. This doesn’t mean literally taking off the upholstery and replacing it with wood or anything, though. You can just cover up the furniture with a material that’s less pleasant for a cat, like plastic or aluminum foil. Your cat will not enjoy scratching these, so they will leave your furniture aloe.
3) Spray with Water
As we know, cats are not usually fond of getting wet. This is why many cat owners have learned the value of keeping a spray bottle handy. Whenever your cat goes somewhere or does something that isn’t allowed, a few squirts and often the cat decides it isn’t worth the hassle. Some cats have even been known to learn from this and give up the action altogether, although that certainly isn’t true for all of them (as cats are famous for their stubbornness!)
4) Use Citrus
Another way you can protect your furniture from your cat is to make your furniture less desirable is to use a citrus spray. Any cat owner will tell you that cats are not fans of citrus-based smells, such as orange or lemon. It’s easy to find sprayable versions of these scents — put them in a spray bottle just like you would water, and then give your furniture a light dousing of this scent. This doesn’t work 100% of the time, but often cats will be repulsed by the smell and go somewhere else.
5) Pheromone Sprays
In addition to water or citrus scents, another sprayable option is pheromones. These sorts of sprays work on a chemical level to actually change a cat’s mood. Often, a cat will scratch due to nerves. Maybe there’s a new animal in the household, or you’ve rearranged your furniture or done something else to upset your feline. Cats do not like change very well, and they will sometimes take out these nerves by scratching. Spraying pheromones can help calm your cat’s nerves and reduce the urge to scratch.
6) Train Your Cat
A final option is to actually train your cat to avoid scratching the furniture. While many think that cats are untrainable, this isn’t true. However, it can be a difficult and time-consuming process, and it involves more than just having a spray bottle and a loud voice. We can’t go into all of the things you need to know about training your cat here, but there are cat-training guides available online if you want to try this option. (Click here for a series of articles on cat training from Hill’s.)
As you can see, your furniture doesn’t have to suffer at the expense of your cat’s urges. There are several things you can do to discourage them from scratching your favorite chair — and if one of these options doesn’t work, there’s always the next option on the list. This might take a little time, but once you find the right solution, your furniture will thank you for it!