How To Stop Cats From Scratching Furniture

Key takeaway

Cats have an instinctive need to scratch, and sometimes that results in them scratching furniture because there’s nothing else around. You can stop your cat from scratching by restricting their access to off-limits furniture and giving them other things, such as scratching posts, rope, or carpet squares to scratch.

As a cat parent, scratching can be one of the biggest headaches. Scratching is something that pretty much every cat does, but some have a tendency to scratch furniture and other valuable items around the house. As you can imagine, this can be a big problem for pet parents who don’t know how to stop cats from scratching furniture.

The good news is, there are a handful of things you can do to get your cat to stop scratching. In many cases, all you need to know about how to stop a cat from scratching furniture is how to pick a good scratching post. When your cat has something else to scratch, they’re more likely to leave your furniture alone.

If you want to learn more about why cats scratch furniture and how to stop them, read on.

Why Do Cats Scratch Furniture?

If your cat has been scratching your furniture, they could be doing it because there isn’t a scratching post or other cat toys to keep them busy. Cats scratch things instinctively, whether they’re marking an object with their scent, removing dead parts of their nails, or simply scratching for enjoyment or out of excitement.

As a pet parent, it’s important to make sure your cat has something to scratch so they can scratch when they need to.

Two steps to stop your cat from scratching furniture

How To Stop Your Cat From Scratching Furniture

Cats may become restless when they don’t have enough stimulation, so giving your cat other things to scratch is an essential part of how to stop cats from scratching furniture. You can start with a scratching post, but there are other toys you can give your cat to keep them entertained. Here are some tips for how to stop cats from scratching leather furniture.

1. Provide Other Items To Facilitate Scratching

One of the best things you can do to stop your cat from scratching furniture is to provide other things for them to scratch and play with. Cats have an instinctive need to scratch, so it’s your job to give them something to scratch that won’t get them in trouble or damage their claws. Look for something that mimics their scratching preferences. If your cat likes to climb and scratch things, for example, a scratching post may be better. Some cats may need a scratching post covered in rope if they prefer tougher scratching.

Look at what your cat likes to scratch and try to simulate that for them with toys. Some of the most popular scratching toys for cats include scratching posts, cardboard boxes, logs, ropes, and carpet squares.

List of scratchable items for cats

2. Restrict Access To Off-Limits Items

Your cat doesn’t know which furniture is expensive or which items you do and don’t want them to scratch, so sometimes restricting them from off-limits items is the best solution. If there’s a specific room where you keep a lot of expensive furniture, try to keep your cat out of that room. If there’s one part of your couch where your cat tends to do their scratching, slide another piece of furniture over that spot to keep them away. Small restrictions like this can discourage your cat from scratching furniture.

There are sprays you can use to stop your cat from scratching furniture as well. These sprays are designed without harsh chemicals, so they’re safe for your cat and for most fabrics. If you’re going to use a no-scratch spray, you should apply it to a small, inconspicuous part of your furniture to make sure it’s safe for the fabric.

Introducing Your Cat To Scratching Posts

Just because you get your cat a scratching post doesn’t mean they’re going to use it. As the pet parent, it’s your job to introduce your cat to their scratching post to make sure they’re comfortable with it. It’s important for your cat to learn that scratching posts are a safe space for scratching, and that they should go to their post instead of your furniture if they feel like scratching.

You can help introduce your cat to their post by shining a laser light on the post or rubbing catnip on it to spark their interest. Your cat may be a little confused by their scratching post at first, but they should warm up to it once you get them interested in trying it out. This may take a bit longer for a traumatized cat, as they may react differently to unfamiliar objects.

Don’t carry your cat to their scratching post  as this may trigger a stress response in your cat.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can cats be trained not to scratch furniture?

Unfortunately, you can’t really train a cat to stop scratching furniture if they have nothing else to scratch. Cats have an instinctive need to scratch things, and they’re going to find something to scratch whether you provide them with a scratching post or not. As a pet parent, it’s important to make sure your cat has a good scratching post and toys to keep them busy. A scratching post can keep your cat entertained and away from your furniture.

What scents deter cats from scratching furniture?

While there are sprays you can use to discourage cats from scratching furniture, there are certain scents that may keep them away as well. Some of the scents that are known to deter cats from scratching furniture include:

  • Citrus scents such as orange, lemon, and lemongrass
  • Mint and peppermint
  • Eucalyptus
  • Cinnamon
  • Rosemary
  • Wintergreen
  • Lavender
  • Citronella
  • White vinegar or apple cider vinegar diluted with water

If you want to use these scents to stop scratching, you can find them in essential oil form. Just mix some essential oil with water and spray the area where your cat is scratching. The scent should help keep them away.

Does trimming cats’ nails help with scratching?

When your cat’s claws get too long, they begin to curve and can’t be retracted completely. This can cause them to get snagged on carpet, furniture, and other fabrics, and can even lead to accidental scratches when you’re petting or playing with your cat. You should cut your cat’s nails about once every week or so to keep them from becoming curved. Keeping your cat’s nails short is important for their health, plus it helps protect carpets, furniture, and your skin.

How do I stop my cat from scratching my furniture without declawing it?

If you want to stop your cat from scratching, the first thing you should do is get them a scratching post. Take some time to introduce your cat to their scratching post and play with them around it so they know it’s a safe area.

Declawing isn’t recommended by vets because there are several drawbacks to this procedure. Declawing can cause pain in your cat’s paw, infection, tissue necrosis, lameness, and even back pain. Cats’ claws are there for a reason, so you shouldn’t have your cat declawed to stop them from scratching.

Cat on scratching post

Final Notes

Scratching is normal behavior for cats, and your cat is going to find something to scratch whether you give them a scratching post or not. The good news is, you can prevent scratching by getting your cat a scratching post and restricting their access to areas where unwanted scratching occurs.

If you need help figuring out how to stop cats from scratching, Dutch is the simple answer. Dutch can connect you with vets who can offer professional advice through online video chats. In addition to online vet help, we can also work with pharmacies to get prescriptions delivered to your door. Try Dutch today and get the vet help you need online.