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How to Stop Cats From Scratching the Furniture

Stopping your cat from scratching furniture involves understanding their natural behavior and redirecting it to more suitable outlets. Here’s an in-depth guide on how to tackle this:

Understanding Cat Scratching Behavior: Scratching is a natural behavior rooted in a cat’s instincts and serves various purposes, including:

  • Territory Marking: Cats leave visual and chemical cues via scratching to mark their territory.
  • Nail Maintenance: It helps them shed old nail material and maintain sharp claws.
  • Stretching and Relaxation: Scratching also allows cats to stretch and release tension, triggering calming chemicals in their brain.

Why Cats Scratch Furniture: Cats often target furniture due to the materials’ ease of tearing or their texture. Understanding their preferences aids in redirecting their behavior effectively.

Strategies to Prevent Furniture Scratching:

  1. Provide Suitable Alternatives: Scratching posts should mimic the furniture your cat scratches. Experiment with different materials like upholstery fabric, sisal rope, carpet, wood, or cardboard. Ensure the posts are sturdy, tall, and strategically placed near the furniture your cat prefers.
  2. Encourage Usage: Entice your cat to the scratching posts by modeling scratching behavior, using catnip, offering treats, or providing praise each time they use the posts instead of furniture.
  3. Discourage Furniture Use: Use motion-detection air spray cans, citrus-based sprays, double-sided sticky tape, or cover furniture with blankets or plastic sheets. These methods deter cats without causing harm.
  4. Address Anxiety: Excessive scratching may indicate anxiety. Calming supplements, such as Purina® Pro Plan® Calming Care probiotic powder, or medications prescribed by a vet can help soothe anxiety.
  5. Provide Enrichment: Enrichment activities like climbing trees, perches by windows, interactive playtime, leash training, or installing a “catio” can divert their focus from furniture.
  6. Seek Professional Help: Consulting a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist or a board-certified veterinary behaviorist can be beneficial in managing excessive scratching behaviors.

Addressing Carpet and Flooring Scratching: For horizontal surfaces like carpet, apply similar principles—offer scratching boards that closely match the type of flooring your cat prefers. Use sprays, enzymatic cleaners, or deterrents like Feliway Classic to deter scratching.

What Not To Do: Avoid drastic measures like declawing, punishment techniques, or forcing your cat to use a scratcher. These actions can cause anxiety, and aggression, and strain the bond between you and your cat.

Understanding and redirecting your cat’s scratching behavior involves patience, positive reinforcement, and providing suitable alternatives to ensure a harmonious coexistence with your furniture.

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