How To Stop Cats Scratching

striped grey and white cat hanging onto furniture

Scratching is a natural part of your cat’s behavioural repertoire.  Even if your cat has access outside, most will still scratch the furniture inside.

SCRATCHING POSTS FOR THE WIN:

It’s generally a good idea to provide scratching posts indoors. Because the destruction of furniture tends to happens if a suitable scratching post is not available. 

SCRATCHING POST is truly invaluable to every cat owner.  To prevent her from using your furniture as a post, provide an acceptable alternative.

WHY DO THEY WANT TO SCRATCH?

Scratching has several very important functions for a cat.  It removes the outer surface layer of the claw, revealing a sharp new point underneath.  

It also spreads secretions from the glands between the footpads as well as forming an integral part of their marking rituals.  

Scratching appears to be almost ritualistic to cats.  If you observe her you will notice the following:  stretching up high and pull down, to achieve a really good pull on the claws, and then starting to scratch/claw at the post.  

This is why it’s important to have the right post for her.  

THE PERFECT SCRATCHING POST:

A perfect post should be at least one and a half times the length of your cat when she is standing up on her hind legs.  

You should experiment with the texture covering the post.  Generally scratching posts are covered in carpeting or rope, or made out of wood.  

If she has already decided on a piece of furniture as her scratching spot,  get a post of similar textile consistency, and place this directly in front of the unwanted scratching area, as close to the chair as possible.  

image showing the appropriate place in front of couch to place your cat scratching post

Cover the furniture being used either in bubble wrap, or in cling wrap.  You can also spray anything citrus scented on the bubble wrap as most cats find that smell aversive.  Make sure the post is right up against the furniture being used, so if it’s on a corner of the couch, place the post right up against it.  

INTRODUCING YOUR CAT TO THEIR NEW POST:

Encourage your cat to not to use your furniture from day one by training her to rather scratch the post.  This is simply done by being consistent – if you hear her using the furniture, interrupt her and then redirect the action of scratching onto the post by taking her to the post and scratching at it with your own fingers to show her what to do. If she likes handling you can even lift her feet up gently to help her get a grip on the post. Once she ‘gets it’, praise her enthusiastically.

Once she is reliably using the scratching post, you can start moving it very gradually to a more desirable area.

TIP
cats need at least one meter of space around the post to allow for stretching horizontally.  

When you have moved the post and want to remove the bubble wrap, use some FELIWAY, citronella or citrus essential oil. Spray on the area where she used to scratch (please test the fabric fastness first).  This way, you will make that area undesirable for future scratching.  Remember to scatter some CATNIP over the SCRATCHING POST too. This helps to make it even nicer to play with!

CARPETS AND CONCLUSION

If you have a cat that is targeting carpets, get some FELIWAY to deter the cat from using it. Citrus scented carpet spray or again, essential oils diluted with water and sprayed onto the carpet work well too.

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