How to stop cats scratching the furniture

LAST UPDATED 17 July 2019

This article is written by our veterinarian, Dr Elise Barry BVSc

Scratching is a normal cat behaviour. It allows them to shed their old outer nails, mark their territory and provides a convenient back and limb stretch. Yet for some owners this healthy habit is frowned upon when the household furniture becomes shredded and clawed.

Follow these 5 tips to keep save your sanity (and furniture!) from clawing kitties.

5 Tips to Stop Cats Scratching the Furniture

1. Safe scratching

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Cats need to be given an appropriate scratching surface. Some cats like to scratch up and down (vertically mark) so therefore a scratching post or tree is recommended. Whilst others prefer horizontal marking so a substrate on the ground (like a cut up square of old carpet) should be provided.

2. Deterrents

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To stop cats scratching the furniture you can cover the site in double-sided tape. Bubble wrap, velcro and alfoil also discourage clawing. Scent deterrents like Wound Gard or Bitter Apple Spray can also be sprayed at the site. The furniture can be draped with a scent-marked material like a towel, newspaper or sticky-taped cotton wool. Care should be taken to not directly spray furniture in case staining occurs. Also it should be noted that some cats will actually take a liking to bitter apple.

3. Redirection

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Cats need to be directed to safe clawing sites. If furniture scratching has already been established then a deterrent should be used on the furniture and a replacement scratching material provided right next to it. Over time you can slowly move the scratching substrate to a suitable location away from the furniture.

4. Reinforcement

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To keep your cat clawing at the right site Feliscratch is recommended. This product is a synthetic pheromone that mimics the natural scent markers on your cat's paws which direct where a cat should scratch (territory marking). It also provides a visual aid (blue lines) for appropriate scratching and in conjunction with natural catnip will help tempt even the fussiest cat away from the household furniture.

5. Nail trimming

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Although a kitty manicure does not prevent scratching it can reduce the damage done by sharp nails whilst the training is underway. Trimming nails of cats who go outdoors is generally not recommended as it can stop them from being able to escape upwards by climbing from dogs or other dangers in a hurry.

Further Reading

How to trim your pet's nails

Your guide to feliway

Choose the perfect cat furniture

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