How to Stop Cats from Scratching the Furniture


This article is written by Pet Circle 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 tips to keep save your sanity (and furniture!) from clawing kitties.

1. Provide appropriate places to scratch
2. Deterrents
3. Feliway
4. Reinforcement
5. Nail Trimming

Provide Appropriate Places for Your Cat to Scratch

Shop All Cat Trees and Scratchers Now

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.

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 or object provided right next to it. Over time you can slowly move the scratching substrate or object to a suitable location away from the furniture.

Scratching Deterrents

Shop All Cat Deterrent Sprays Now

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 Bitter Apple Spray can also be sprayed at the site. The furniture can be draped with a material sprayed with the deterrent, 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.


Shop Feliway for Cats Now

Feliway is a manmade version of the odourless pheromone normally left by cats when they rub against objects in their environment. This pheromone is usually released by your cat when he or she feels happy or content and is also used to mark territory. When used correctly, Feliway can help to reduce your cat's stress levels and combat marking behaviours like scratching or spraying.

If your cat is scratching inappropriately at multiple around the home, the Feliway Diffuser should be used in the room where your cat spends the most time. If scratching occurs in just one particular area, then the Feliway Spray can be used to spray just that area. The Spray can also be used in addition to the Diffuser if required.

If using the Feliway Spray, it is important that you do not spray the areas where you want your cat to scratch, such as scratching trees and posts. Spraying these areas will prevent your cat from using them!

Reinforce Appropriate Scratching

To keep your cat clawing at the right site, a Catnip Spray can be applied to the appropriate scratching place. Catnip tends to increase cats playfulness and when sprayed on new toys, or scratchers, can encourage your cat to use them. There's also a range of catnip stuffed toys available to keep your cat or kitten entertained.

Cat Nail Trimming

Shop All Cat Nail Clippers Now

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

Keeping Indoor Cats Happy

How to Catify Your Home

Choose the perfect cat furniture

Shop All Cat Supplies Now