Cats make wonderful companions, but if you do not train them properly, they can end up running the house, and destroying everything in it. One of the biggest training problems with a lot of cats is getting them to stop scratching on furniture. It is best to train them as kittens not to claw furniture and draperies in the first place, but this is not always an option.
If you adopt an older cat, you have to work with the habits that they have already developed. So, if you have a cat that likes to scratch furniture, how do you get it to stop?
Don’t Declaw: How to Stop Your Cat from Scratching Furniture
Some people think that the answer to the problem of cats scratching furniture is to have them declawed. This is actually the worst possible solution. Just imagine having your own fingers amputated down to the first knuckle, and how painful that would be.
That is the equivalent of declawing, and this surgery is not only painful, it can lead to many other problems, both physical and psychological. Let’s look at some of the less drastic ways that you can train your cat to not claw on your furniture.
Get a Scratching Post
One thing that you need to keep in mind is that scratching is a natural behavior for cats, and they do need to scratch things. They do this to keep their claws trim and sharp, to mark their territory, to stretch their muscles, and for their own personal pleasure because they enjoy it.
So, forget about stopping your cat from scratching things. What you need to do is teach them to scratch on something that is just for them, and to leave your furniture and curtains alone.
The best thing to do is to make sure that your cat has a good scratching post. But, you can’t just go out and get any scratching post.
Not all cat scratchers are made with the same materials, and most cats tend to prefer some materials over others. Don’t get one that is soft and pretty, just because you like the way it looks.
Your cat is likely going to hate it. Instead, get one that has a rough surface, which cats love because they can shred this type of surface (sisal is the best choice, and the fabric is better than the rope). Make sure it is tall enough for your cat to be able to get a full vertical stretch, and the base needs to be heavy so it isn’t going to topple over.
Getting Your Cat to Use the Scratching Post
Your cat may not automatically start using the scratching post, and you may have to take steps to convince them that they want to use it. For starters, place it near the furniture that they like to scratch, because they have claimed this area as their territory. Make sure it is stable, because if they scratch it and it topples over, they will likely not go anywhere near it again.
If your cat still continues to scratch your furniture instead of the scratching post, make the post more enticing. Get some catnip spray and spray it all over the scratching post.
Most adult cats love catnip, and they are going to want to attack anything that has catnip on it. This isn’t going to work with kittens, as cats usually aren’t attracted to catnip until they are six months to a year old.
You should have more than one scratching post, so there is one in every area of the home that your cat frequents. Make sure that there is a scratching post near their sleeping area, so they can get up and stretch on the scratching post instead of your furniture.
It may take some time, but you can get your cat to stop scratching your furniture and other things in your home. Obviously, the younger they are when you start training them, the easier it is going to be.
But, even older cats can be trained to use scratching posts instead of destroying furniture. Make sure that you have several cat scratching posts around the house, and you might even want to reward your cat with a treat every time they use a scratching post instead of your furniture.