As much as we love cats, they have a tendency to do a number on our furniture. But did you know there’s actually a biological purpose for your cat’s scratching? No, your sweet kitten isn’t maliciously clawing at your new sofa to ruin your day. A cat scratches because it’s a form of exercise for their muscles and because it cleans and maintains their claws. That said, there’s no need to forfeit your furniture to the whims of your live-in feline. Read on for the best ways to cut down on cat-related collateral damage—and no, declawing is not an option.
- Provide your cat with something he or she wants and needs: an alternate place to scratch in the form of a fancy scratch post or board. Look for a scratching post that closely resembles tree bark—think rough, coarse, and stable. If you have upstairs and downstairs areas, or if your home is large, then consider more than one post.
- Take time to condition your kitty to use the scratching post and nothing else for scratching. Put the post somewhere he or she already frequents and feels comfortable in, as well as somewhere firm so that it does not topple over when in use.
- A light spritz of water can help establish an association between scratching your furniture and an unpleasant surprise. Give the spray before he or she starts scratching, and make sure the spray bottle is not set to a strong stream.
- Allow your cat some outside time where possible. Your cat has probably already picked out a favorite tree to scratch out, so this just means less time clawing at your rustic farmhouse table’s wooden legs.
- If your cat is scratching a specific spot time and time again, try covering that area with a blanket or thick towel. If you limit access, your cat will likely back off.
- If your cat still needs more convincing, try applying a few strips of double-sided tape to the problem areas (or Sticky Paws, adhesive strips designed to deter cats), plastic wrap, or tin foil until he or she takes the hint.
- Certain fabrics also deter certain cats from scratching. A high-quality microfiber in a very tight-weave may prove too tight for the cats to get their claws into, and the fabric is very easy to clean.
- Use slipcovers to prevent permanent damage to your prized pieces. These IKEA slipcovers present some stylish options that you won’t be embarrassed by. Slipcovers in general are easy to remove and can be washed, unlike upholstery!
- Try Soft Paws, which are temporary nail caps for cats’ claws. An entirely humane alternative to declawing, Soft Paws are easy to apply and entirely nontoxic if swallowed.
- Lastly, do your best to keep your cat's claws trimmed with regular care. Since part of the reason for scratching is to sharpen and even shorten claw growth, you can help out with a regular, careful trim of your cat's claws.
Do you have any tricks for keeping your cats from ruining your furniture? Share them with us below!