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How to Keep Cats From Scratching Furniture: 6 Top Tips

how to keep cats from scratching your furniture
Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / Alek_B

Is your cat scratching your furniture? There are a few ways to stop this behavior. Follow these easy tips to keep your cat from ruining your furniture.

Scratching is a normal and necessary behavior for cats, as it dates back to their days in the wild where they needed sharp claws to protect themselves from predators and to catch their prey. But, if they are scratching your furniture, you might wish to find a solution.

Before getting angry with your cat for ruining your favorite armchair, understand that this tendency is natural for them. Never declaw your cat — this is an inhumane surgical procedure — cats’ nails are pieces of their bone and if removed can cause anxiety and other behavioral issues. Cats need an area to scratch, so just make sure it’s not your furniture. Here’s how: 

1. Purchase a Cat Scratching Pad

These are inexpensive cardboard rectangles that you can buy at any pet store or online (available on amazon**). They often also come with catnip packets that will make that pad even more interesting for cats based on the smell. If you can, have a few scratching pads located in different areas around the house so that your cat has multiple locations to scratch instead of your furniture – in particular, near where they like to rest or play.

2. Maintain Proper Nail Length

While your vet may be the one who usually clips your cat’s nails when they visit, you can limit the scratching by maintaining proper nail length. Once a month, clip your cat’s nails, but be careful not to hurt them by going too short. If you can see the pink of their nails, maintain a bit of space. You should never clip the nail below the pink line. If you’re uncomfortable clipping their nails, ask your vet to show you at the next visit. For best results, start when the cat is just a kitten so that the clipping is not stressful for them.

3. Cover the Furniture

Cats like to scratch where they rest, so place your pads nearby.
Cats like to scratch where they rest, so place your pads nearby.
(Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / photosforyou)

One way to keep your cat from scratching furniture is to cover the desrired item with with a sheet, aluminum foil, tape, or plastic to deter them. These surfaces are less desirable for kitty to scratch if covered as they do not like the feeling against their nails. If you have one of these handy, secure the cover with pins or other non-invasive items like tape. Remember to allow an area for the cat to scratch as well as covering the surfaces, this will ensure they are less inclined to scratch your furniture.

4. Make Your Own Cat Spray

Cats don’t like certain smells like peppermint or citrus, so creating a mixture of vinegar and a few drops of essential oils like mint may keep them from scratching the areas that you sprayed. However, this spray will penetrate the fabric of your furniture, so don’t use it on leather or other non-fabric textiles. 

5. Show Your Cat Their Scratching Posts

If you witness your cat scratching the furniture, gently carry the cat away from the furniture (do not yell at the cat, the cat may continue to scratch thinking they will receive attention from you) and bring them to their scratching pad or post. Do this a few times and your cat should get the idea. Put catnip on the pads or posts or treats to show your cat it is a safe and good place to scratch.

6. Place Scratching Pads in Front of Furniture

A simple way to eliminate the need for scratching at the furniture, position a scratching pad or post directly in front of your furniture where they like to scratch already. Although cats are often looking for space away from the crowd, they like their scratching areas to be where everyone else is, such as in the living room or by a window. Do not place the posts in areas they do not like to play in or rest, or in a place that is off to the side and away from the family space. 

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