The biggest concern people have with cats is scratching furniture. Many people believe that cats display such behavior for the sheer thrill of destroying a treasured antique or living room sofa. You are probably at your wits end if you live with a cat that has shredded your upholstery, and have abandoned all hope of ever being able to stop your cat from shredding the furniture.
Cat scratching is normal and an essential part of being feline, in spite of trying to train a cat not to scratch furniture. Many people are under the impression that cats scratch to sharpen their claws or are deliberately out to destroy furniture. This is not the case as scratching serves several purposes which include:
- Conditioning their claws
- Scratching is effective for stretching shoulder and back muscles
- Serves as territorial marking and creates a visual sign for other cats passing by. Visual marks are important in an outdoor setting as this reduces physical confrontation with other cats.
- Scratching relieves stress
- When cats scratch they leave an olfactory mark by means of scent glands that are situated in the paw pads, which in turn leaves pheromones for other cats to gather information from
- When cats are anxious, excited, frustrated or happy they are able to release their emotions by scratching
Why Declawing is NOT an Acceptable Option
Declawing an irreversible painful procedure that involves amputating the joints of the toes can lead to emotional, behavioral and physical complications, as this procedure literally maims a cat. The claws are an essential part of a cat’s anatomy that provides mobility, balance, defense and survival. In some instances secondary contracture of the tendons can occur which makes walking difficult and uncomfortable.
When the end joints of the front paws are missing, a cat will compensate by placing added weight to its hind legs that creates an imbalance. Added weight to the hind legs can lead to front leg muscle atrophy. Cats become extremely distressed when out of balance, as balance is part of a cats basic anatomy.
Effective Methods to Redirect Cats from Scratching Furniture
Scolding your cat is a futile exercise, as cats are one of nature’s most self-sufficient and pragmatic creatures. The most effect way to stop cats scratching furniture is to provide them with a scratching post that has a rough texture such as sisal that allows them to dig their claws in and satisfy their scratching needs. Cats love rough surfaces that they can shred to pieces. Carpet posts are too soft and the cat may rip their claws or get their claws caught in the carpet loops. Here are some effective solutions that you can do to prevent your furniture from being shredded:
- The Kitty Couch is the perfect hangouts spot for the cat that not only keep the claws healthy and trimmed but also offer varied sleeping and scratching position for cats. The Kitty Couch Sofa allows for a good neck and back stretch and will not topple over.
- Sisal textile material scratching posts can be shredded to pieces which provide a cat with great satisfaction and releases their primal urges. The texture and grain are perfect for cats to shred and provides a good medium to mark their territory.
- Using the reverse side of an old rug provides a resistant surface for clawing. You can place this over an area where your cat has already been clawing. The best way to secure the rug is by duct tapping or staples to make it stationary.
- Use lemon or orange scented sprays on the surfaces that the cat tends to scratch as cats have an aversion to citrus smells. If the cat still scratches the furniture, then use spray bottles with water set on stream and squirt the cat each time they scratch the furniture to establish an aversion to the spot where they persist scratching.
- Trimming the razor sharp tips can defray some of your cat’s potential destruction. Avoid clipping the pink tissue area as that is painful and may result in bleeding. Only the clear tip of the nail should be trimmed. If you find it difficult to trim the nails, vets will trim the nails for you.
- If you are creative you can make your own cat scratching post. There is a host of designs that come with step by step instructions available online to choose from. You can use both sisal and carpet backing on various platforms to make it more interesting for your cat. In addition you can also create a safe hideout where the cat can rest and view its domain. Attach various toys for the cat to play which will keep them occupied and happy for hours.
- Horizontal structures that include tree roots and branches help the cat stretch and exercise their shoulder and back muscles, promoting good muscle health as opposed to scratching only vertically. Use different surface textures which will provide different benefits and experiences.
Cats love scratching posts with different textures and structures, if space permitting you can create a horizontal scratcher in one room and a vertical in another room, and a large condo or perch in their favorite room. A few simple scratching posts will provide your cat with multiple emotional and health benefits, in addition to saving your furniture, and will also make you cat very happy. Remember cats are creatures of habit, so start them off with good habits.
Check out our Cardboard Cat Scratcher Sofa. Made from premium durable corrugated cardboard, it will last three times as longer than the cheap ones. The sofa design will encourage your cat to lounge and relax on their own couch and claim it as their own.