How to stop your cat from scratching the furniture

Rebecca Alexander with one of her Cat Scratching posts and cat Ollie
Rebecca Alexander with one of her Cat Scratching posts and cat Ollie

Cat scratching is a normal cat behaviour but can be a real annoyance to the owner if it starts scratching the brand new, expensive sofa.

Cats scratch for two main reasons; to keep their claws sharp and healthy and also to mark their territory, communicating territory boundaries to other cats and other animals.

Roger Salmon

Roger Salmon

In addition, scratching provides a form of exercise for cats, stretching and retracting their shoulders, legs and paws.

Whenever possible, try to avoid giving your cat access to favourite scratching points on furniture by keeping them out of certain rooms or by protecting certain articles with other furniture, blankets, drapes, cushions etc. We personally find double sided sticky tape strategically placed down the sides of the sofas particularly useful. Also tin foil can be used but is obviously unsightly whereas the tape is almost invisible. Or you can try placing trays of water where the cat would stand in order to scratch the furniture.

It is also a good idea to remove existing traces of your pet’s scent from favourite furniture scratching points by use of a biological, spray, pet odour remover.

The better approach, of course, is to provide the cat with it’s own scratching furniture.

We had an old table in the kitchen which we allowed the cats to scratch, particularly one leg, and we were prepared to wait until it fell off.

When the table was replaced I sawed the leg off, so the cats could still scratch it, but of course being cats they totally ignored it.

It is important to site the scratching post near the damaged furniture and the surface is better rough, like tree bark, and covered in rope, sisal or carpet and sprayed with catnip.

Scratching is a natural behaviour so it is fine to interrupt if caught in the act but punishment is not advised as they do not realise the reason.

We do not recommend clipping your cats claws as this is only a very temporary solution.

However, this is necessary in some older cats when the claws overgrow, sometimes into their own pads.