It comes as a surprise to absolutely NO ONE that cats like to claw things. Why wouldn’t they?
They have 18 little daggers—or 28 if they’re a record-breaking polydactyl cat—on the bottom of their feet. They have the inherited urge to use those little daggers anywhere they can—on scratching posts, furniture, and anything else that has fun and scritchy textures. But cats use their little scratchers for more than just fun and games.
As noted by the Humane Society, cats like to scratch surfaces for a variety of reasons including shedding dead layers of nails, marking their territory and stretching their bodies out like good long boy and girl cats do. Your cat also might be scratching because he or she is bored. It’s particularly frustrating when little furry ones claw up hard-earned furniture that you’ve spent a lot of money on. The last thing you want is your new suede couch to look like it’s gone through a paper shredder.
As a business who specializes in furniture for cats (and dogs!), we’re well versed on cat scratching. In this blog post, we list five ways you can deter your fur baby from shredding up your furniture like Freddy Krueger’s face.
1) Consider getting furniture that is not easy to scratch:
Cats love texture they can really sink their nails into. Instead of buying a nice plush couch, consider buying thick leather or anything that might have hard surfaces on the corners, such as wood or metal. Same goes for chairs, tables and any other furniture your cat might like to scratch. Wood and metal are not as fun on kitty paws and your cat will most likely avoid furniture with hard surfaces. Also, if you have small or moveable objects in the house that can be repositioned or relocated, such as speakers, curtains, pillows or stuffed animals, move ‘em out of your kitty's way.
2) Encourage your cat to scratch elsewhere:
If your kitty likes to scratch a specific spot of your couch, put a scratching post or scratching board nearby to help deflect them. Anything that has cardboard, carpeting or rope feels good on little kitty paws. The Humane Society recommends sprinkling a lil’ catnip on the scratching post or board to help entice your kitty. As mentioned above, cats need to regularly scratch their claws to remove dead layers of nail, to mark their territory and to stretch. MAU offers a variety of fun and swank-looking modern cat trees that include cat scratching posts and ropes to help your kitty get their ya-yas out.
3) Try using deterrent spray:
There are several different types of anti-scratching spray that you can use on your kitty. First is a pheromone spray option that uses a replica of a cat pheromone to help the cat feel at ease. Feliway, the most common pheromone spray, recommends you spray the cat 8-10 times, every 4-5 hours. This will help calm your cat and prevent them from turning towards destructive behavior. This spray is also good for car trips, vet trips, or anytime the cat is put in a carrier. There are also non-pheromone options such as Nature’s Miracle, which helps deter cat scratching by masking the pheromone left behind on furniture. Nature’s Miracle recommends spraying directly on the furniture. You can also make your own anti-scratching spray using water and essential oils.
4) Put anti-scratching tape on furniture:
If scratching posts are not keeping your cat from scratching the furniture, purchase anti-scratching tape from your local pet store or anywhere pet supplies are sold. Anti-scratching tape looks a lot like double-sided packaging tape, and you put it over the part of the furniture where your cat likes to scratch. Cats do not like sticky things on their paws, so they’ll quickly develop an aversion to the sticky area. However, if you’re going to use anti-scratch tape, you will need something for cats to scratch as well. Use this in conjunction with your MAU cat tree and just watch the magic happen!
5) Trim your kitty’s nails:
Just like us humans, our cat’s nails need to be trimmed. By trimming their nails, you’ll help keep them from becoming Edward Scissorhands. If you’re new to kitty nail clipping, here are some helpful tips. First, use either a cat nail clipper or a human nail clipper. Whatever you feel most comfortable with. Second, try to trim your cat’s nails while they’re resting—not when they’re turbo-charging around the house. Third, push your kitty’s feet pads and it will make their nails extend out. Fourth, when trimming the nail, do not clip as far as the pink section of the nail. This section contains nerves and blood and you’ll make your poor kitty bleed and be in pain. Fifth, if your cat is having none of this nonsense, don’t try to do all 18 toes. Wait until another day to clip more. If your cat is completely uncooperative, you can take him or her to the vet for nail trimming. If nail trimming is totally out of the question, consider buying an abundance of cat scratchers and cat furniture with scratching posts in order to deter your kitty from shredding your home.
A couple of other things to note:
Your cat isn’t scratching your furniture because they’re trying to piss you off by being a destructive devil. They’re scratching your furniture because they need to and it feels good. Please do not punish your cat by hitting them, spritzing them with water or declawing them. Most vets will not declaw cats as it is considered painful and inhumane. Plus, kitties need their claws! The ASPCA also recommends NOT throwing away well-used scratching posts and boards as cats really enjoy shredded objects. If you think your cat is scratching because he or she is bored, consider giving them more attention, more play time, scrunchable cat furniture, or getting them a kitty friend. It IS possible to get your kitty to stop scratching. It just takes time, attention and love.
If you're having issues with a new kitty, it's important that you're prepped to ensure bad behaviors don't arise. To help you get started, Redfin reached out to 14 cat experts, from Seattle, WA to Ottawa, ON, including us. Here is our best advice on how to prepare your home for a kitty. Check out How to Prepare Your Home for a Kitty: 14 Tips from the Pros.