How to teach a cat to scratch the furniture


From the moment you decided to get a cat, you had to go a long way – it’s accustoming the cat to the litter box, the fight for the rights of the owner of the house, harnessing temperament … It would seem that it was time to enjoy life, sitting in the evenings with a soft purring ball on his lap, but no – there was a new problem! Do not despair – the cat can be weaned from scratching the furniture, albeit it will have to spend a lot of effort and patience. Many owners consider this behavior as destructive and punish it, but for the pets themselves it is quite natural, related to mental and physiological needs. Today we will try to find out together how to teach your cat to scratch the furniture, to look at the best ways of doing it, and to give you a lot of useful advice.

Reasons why cats scratch furniture

The cat was originally a wild carnivorous animal that is perfectly adapted for hunting. Not for nothing they say that a cat the size of a tiger would (hypothetically) five times more dangerous than him. And it has the appropriate body structure: the whiskers, which serve as a locator to assess the distance to obstacles, the tail, which provides maneuverability, and claws, which must be in perfect condition, because they perform many functions. Therefore, you should not be surprised if your pet starts to tear furniture or wallpaper.

In general, all the reasons why the cat is engaged in this unpleasant for the owner, can be summarized in a small list:

  • Manicure (during sharpening, the animal removes the keratinized layer from the claws. In its place, new sharp claws appear);
  • relief of nervous tension (angry or frightened cats usually relieve stress in this way);
  • warming up (the pet “warms up” the muscles, like an athlete);
  • marking the territory (the smell of sweat secreted by the sweat glands on the paws remains on the furniture);
  • practicing (releasing claws is a very old hunting skill, hardly used by today’s cats; nevertheless it’s genetic).

How to wean a cat from nibbling on furniture

There are quite a few things you can do to wean your cat from scratching the furniture. Let’s start with the most popular ones.

1. Loud noises, voice command

Every time he tries to sharpen his claws on the furniture, say loudly and harshly “No!”, “No!”, “Shhhh!”. Keep doing this until the pet gives up on his goals.

Another effective way to wean him off the “bad” habit is to use ordinary baby rattles. You can buy a rattle or make one yourself – for example, put a few coins in a metal jar (you can find it in the kitchen), seal it and always keep it near you. If you notice that the cat wants to make mischief again, take the jar and rattle it strongly. The animal will quickly run away into the next room, because it does not like such strong sounds. Rattle each time to reinforce what you’ve learned!

Balloons – another good “sound” method of education, though not the most convenient for the owner. Inflate and tie several balloons, fix them at the scene. The trap should be designed for one of the balloons to burst in the process of another claw point. The loud sound will scare away the animal, and the next time it will be afraid to approach the ill-fated chair.

2. Sprayer with water

Cats are not known to like water procedures, so why not take advantage of it? Fill a spray bottle with water and spray it on him every time he tries to sharpen his claws in a forbidden place. But remember, this kind of “shower” is only effective before or within five minutes of an incident, otherwise the pet won’t know what he’s being punished for. Unpleasant feelings, as in the previous case, should be associated with the “crime”.

3. We arm ourselves… with smells!

Representatives of the feline family do not tolerate the scent of onions, vinegar and citrus fruit. It is better to give preference to the third option, because vinegar wears off rather quickly and the smell of onions will be unpleasant for you too. Mix lemon (orange, tangerine) aromatic oil with the same amount of eucalyptus oil in a container with a sprayer. Spray the resulting solution on furniture, wallpaper or other necessary objects. The advantage of this method is that it will not only discourage the cat from tearing up the furniture, but it will also fill the house with pleasant smells.

In addition to citrus fruits, you can use a variety of spices. Place coriander, ground chili pepper or other spices with a strong odor in the baggie and hang it (the baggie) in the desired location.

4. Sticky Surface.

The sensation of stickiness is as unpleasant for cats as water procedures, so you can stick double sided tape on the most attractive places (e.g. armrests, back of furniture).

You can also use a special sticky tape Sticky Paws, which can be glued almost anywhere – on the carpet, furniture upholstery, curtains. These tapes are almost invisible, and therefore do not spoil the interior of the room.

5. Claw trimming

When trimming a sharp part of the claw, you must proceed with extreme caution, otherwise you may hurt your pet. This should preferably be performed by a qualified veterinarian. Although you can learn to trim nails by yourself. The only thing to do is to do it to a certain length and at a certain angle, using only special scissors.

6. Closed doors

If there are any expensive items in the room, keep the doors closed as soon as the cat comes in. Prefer a door handle of this type, so that it will not open if the animal paws at it.

Or you can make one of these at the bottom of the door leaf.

7. Clawfoot 

A great solution to the problem. Characteristically, the scratcher is quite possible to make your own hands, but this requires a few important nuances.

  • The place should be as comfortable as possible for the pet.
  • The height must match its height.
  • The scratching post should be fixed securely so that it can withstand the load.
  • The top layer should be made of a rough material of medium hardness, reminiscent of tree bark. A great option is sisal rope, although you can use other materials as well.

A cat always thinks he is the master of the house and that is why he will hardly confine himself to one place to show his power. If you have a big apartment or you are a happy owner of several cats, you’d better put 2-3 scratching posts where the animals like to be.

How to train the cat to the scratching post?

“Aggregate” for sharpening claws is usually placed where the pet is used to do it. As mentioned above, if there are several such areas, the scratching post should be as many (ideally).

  • If the cat has its own sleeping place, the scratching post should be placed there (cats always stretch out after waking up).
  • The cat can be shown how to use the scratching post – first of all, run his paw over the post (this should be repeated several times).
  • All distracting objects should better be covered or taken away, so that the pet focuses more often just on the scratching post.
  • Place foil, duct tape or slippery plastic on the floor in the place where the cat likes to scratch the wallpaper or furniture.

Do not lure the cat to the sharpening “machine” with valerian. The cat will dig its nose into the scratching post, rub its nose against it, howl loudly and do different circus tricks, without even remembering what the cat is supposed to do.

Other ways to train your pet

Try other ways of disciplining your cat.

  • Spray. We must say at once about the dubiousness of this option, because usually whiskers continue to scratch furniture treated with special sprays anyway.
  • Protective covers. They are stretched on the furniture not only to protect against pets, but also to cover the stripped fabric. According to manufacturers, elastic covers are not very suitable for cat activities due to their mobility and low stability. It is quite easy to clean and wash stretch covers, and their cost is noticeably lower than a new chair.
  • “Soft claws”. If you do not want to mess with covers, rattles, tape and other things, you can pay attention to the claws of the pet. For example, you can attach special silicone tips to the front paw claws, which are shaped like a claw and fastened on the glue, but do not hinder the reflexive movements. In other words, the claw will be easily retracted and released. What is peculiar, these caps go together with the keratinized layer in 2 months, but if desired, they can be glued on again.
  • Claw removal. A radical method that only heartless owners resort to. A nychectomy is a surgical operation in which the claws are amputated along with the phalanges of the fingers. As a result, the cat becomes disabled, its movements become uncoordinated, it is unable to hold its balance, cannot climb, and its spine and posture are severely damaged. If such an animal gets into the street, it will be completely defenseless there.

What not to do

People for the most part do not know that their prohibitions and threats do not work on cats. The animal will always do what he wants, without regard to your opinion. Therefore, weaning wolf from a bad habit, keep in mind some important points.

  • Do not resort to any physical punishment (the pet will harbor a grudge and will definitely take revenge on you).
  • Shame the cat only during the “crime” (belated lectures won’t change his mind).
  • Do not throw out the old scratching post, the smell of which is familiar to the animal (it will be very hard for it to get used to the new one).
  • Finally, you should not shout at the cat (use your tone of voice, but not the volume).