Scratching the Furniture

Cats scratch objects in their environments for a variety of reasons. Scratching stretches the muscles (especially after a nap), removes the outer sheath of the nail, marks the area with the scent from the gland in the cat’s paws, and sometimes, it’s just fun! Because scratching is such a vital part of a cat’s well-being (which is why even declawed cats will “scratch” surfaces), it should not be punished. Rather, the cat should be taught to scratch on a scratching post or another place that is acceptable to the humans in the house. And if you’re looking for a scratching post, we’ve got some great choices in our adoption center store.

Most cats prefer to scratch on vertical surfaces, but if your cat is clawing the carpet or armrest of the sofa, you will need to provide a horizontal scratching surface. Regardless of what you buy, be sure it is sturdy enough to not move while the cat is scratching it. Posts should be tall enough to provide plenty of opportunities for the cat to stretch. Place the post/pad near the item your cat scratches the most, or near her favorite sleeping spot. Spraying or rubbing it with catnip or attaching a toy to the post often helps to encourage the cat to use it. In a larger home or a household with multiple cats, more than one scratching surface may be necessary.

You must prevent your cat from scratching off-limits areas. Cover the spots your cat has been scratching with double-sided tape or bubble wrap. Spraying the furniture with a synthetic pheromone, like Comfort Zone® with Feliway®, can help reduce scratching that is done to mark territory. If you catch your cat attempting to scratch the furniture, interrupt her by making a noise (but not so loud as to scare the cat), and then take your cat to the scratching post and encourage her to use it by dragging a toy up the side. Do not place your cat’s paws on the post and attempt to make her scratch. Most cats don’t enjoy this, and you could form a negative association with the scratching post.

Reward your cat with praise any time you see your pet using the post. In the initial stages of training, a treat or other special reward should help to ensure that your cat chooses the post again in the future.



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