It’s too often that people think that they will have to deal with their cat scratching furniture and ruining it. The truth is, there are several ways to prevent this from ever happening again. The first step is understanding why cat scratching furniture and belonging behavior exists — it isn’t out of spite. Cats scratch as a way of expressing themselves, for stress relief, for a good stretch, or just to clean themselves up and remove the outer layer of their claws. All of the methods listed below are fairly cheap and easy to introduce into your household. Instead of buying new couch covers and scolding your cat, try out these suggestions for some serious peace of mind.
1. Invest in a Scratching Post
Scratching posts are popular for one reason: They keep your cat distracted from the couch! Most cats scratching furniture don’t choose the couch because they know it bothers you, although it might seem that way at times. They tear it up because it’s a nice, therapeutic stress-reliever, or because they need to shorten their claws. With no cat-friendly nail files at their disposal, they target the closest material that lets them really dig in. This might be your couch, shoes, carpet, rug, and so on. Getting them a scratching post shows them that they have their own space to stay well-maintained and have some fun while not messing up your furniture. Scratching is a natural occurrence and you do not want to discourage it, so simply redirect it. Be sure to try out a few different types of scratching pads (upright, incline, flat, corrugated cardboard, carpet, sisal rope, etc.) because, just like humans, every cat can have its own preferences.
2. Trim Your Cat’s Nails
The next big step that you should take is trimming your cat’s nails. This isn’t nearly as scary as you might think, and it doesn’t hurt the cat as long as you’re trimming his or her nails conservatively. There are plenty of groomers out there who will take up the job for you if you need them to. Keeping your cat’s claws short and trimming them once a month will minimize the damage they can do to your belongings while keeping them happy and healthy. Trimming nails is also important for preventing extremely painful ingrown nails. Me-owch!
3. Use Cat Toys and Catnip
A great way to distract from your cat scratching furniture or tearing up the house is to use cat toys or catnip that keeps your cat from eyeing your expensive belongings as a play item. Oftentimes, the reason they’ll scratch on couches is because they don’t have a big enough array of toys and entertainment to choose from. We all like variety, and cats are no different! Catnip is an extremely powerful tool that will distract almost every cat, so toss some of that stuff on their toys and watch the magic happen. A great way to incorporate catnip into your cat’s routine is by sprinkling some into a cardboard scratching board so that is falls into the little holes. Over a long period of time, your cat will scratch and scratch to try to gather as much of it as possible.
Don’t Be Afraid to Try Multiple Methods
Finding different methods to prevent your cat from scratching up your furniture isn’t all that complicated. See what they love and use it in your favor. Keep in mind that the best way to change behavior in cats is with positive reinforcement and rewarding good behavior, so give your cat a treat whenever he or she uses that new scratching post — you’re sure to see less cat scratching furniture damage to your couch.