Is your cat or kitten driving you crazy ripping up your expensive furniture? With a little knowledge and a little planning, you and your cat can reach a happy place and save your sofa.
Scratching’s Purpose -
It’s important to have insight as to why cat’s scratch in the first place. For a cat, a deep stretch goes from nail to tail. For cats, stretching is a form of muscular exercise, supposedly similar to a mini-workout. While outstretched, scratching helps keep the nails sharp and ready for defense. Another reason cats tend to scratch is that their paws contain special scent glands. They use this scent to mark territory and it’s how they seem to always find their way home after an outdoor adventure. Now that we know that the need to scratch is deeply embedded in a cat’s brain, let’s look at some tips for saving the furniture and rugs in your home.
Protect Off-Limit Areas -
Once your cat chooses an undesired scratching spot, move quickly to protect it. Home remedies that may work for you are wrapping aluminum foil, which cats avoid for some reason, on the surface, spraying the surface with diluted vinegar, citrus oil or eucalyptus oil. Cat’s tend to avoid those scents. There are many products available for purchase to help prevent scratching or at least lessen the damage it can cause. Double sided tape strips and plastic furniture protectors are just a few popular options. The best approach is to protect your furniture and simultaneously establish approved scratching areas.
Create Approved Scratching Areas -
So now that we know why cat’s claw and we have ideas for protecting our furniture, you will need to redirect their attention to a location where they are allowed to scratch. A popular choice is a cat tree. These are multi-level carpet and durable rope covered jungle gyms for cats to climb, perch and scratch all they want. These also are tall enough to allow your cat to outstretch fully. If you don’t quite have the room for a full tree, there are may products available that offer smaller sized scratching opportunities.
Corrugated cardboard trays are a favorite, as are rope wrapped posts. When introducing the approved areas, show your cat that it’s a good place to scratch by scratching with your hand. They will see you and hear the sounds of your nails and overtime will hopefully get the idea. Offering treats during this process is encouraged. You can also rub catnip on the surface to draw them in even more.
Don’t Punish -
Make the off-limits area known to them with a quick hiss or no, but be cautious. The cat should not feel like the act of scratching is wrong, just the place. After the brief discipline, bring your cat to the approved area. Show them again how much fun you have scratching it and give those treats and praise during the process. Creating a positive experience is more likely to increase approved area adoption.
Nail Maintenance -
Another tip for keeping cats from ruining your furniture is to keep their nails trimmed, which may need to be done every 2-3 weeks or so. Nail caps are an option as well. They are basically covers placed on each nail.
Be Consistent -
It’s important to know that convincing a cat not to use your expensive sofa as a scratching post may take time. They tend to be independent, but if you are consistent and encouraging, chances are better that they will learn to accept your rules.