If your cute little kitten has grown into a terror and won’t stop attacking your house, help is at hand. We’ve got some tips to help you work out how to stop cats scratching carpets and furniture.
Why do cats scratch?
Before you can work out how to prevent cats from scratching furniture and carpets, it is worth trying to understand exactly why they do it. Scratching is a completely natural thing, cats do it to sharpen their claws, stretch their legs and mark their territory. By watching your cat closely, you should be able to work out why he’s scratching. For some cats it’s routine when they wake up, for some it can be a sign of anxiety at the presence of another cat, and for others it can be that they just really enjoy a good stretch. By noticing habits and mood, you may begin to understand when your cat needs to scratch and can perhaps provide them with an outlet.
While it can sometimes be tricky to stop, cat scratching is necessary and it is important to remember this. Getting angry and chasing the cat will rarely solve the problem.
Use your newfound knowledge to keep cats from scratching furniture
If you believe your cat may be showing signs of anxiety, you should work on helping him feel more secure. Exactly where he is scratching may give you an indication of what is worrying him. For example, scratching near a door may mean he is afraid of something outside. Spend time with your cat, petting and cuddling him regularly. You may wish to try fitting a cat flap with a sensor that lets only your cat in and out, provide a bed in a high place to allow him sanctuary from other household pets, or restrict his access to only a couple of ‘safe’ rooms. Consider purchasing a spray or plugin from your vet that will emit a scent that relaxes your cat and helps him feel more at home (and less likely to destroy it!).
If you believe your cat is using your furniture purely to sharpen its claws, it may help to encourage him to spend more time outdoors. Reward your cat with his favourite treat if you spot him using a post to scratch in the garden. Alternatively, if you identify that your cat tends to enjoy a good stretch when he wakes up, it might make sense to provide a scratching post near his chosen ‘bed’.
How to keep cats from scratching furniture with a scratching post
A scratching post is by far the best idea when you’re wondering how to stop cats scratching carpets or furniture. But what a lot of people don’t realise is it may not be as simple as buying one and leaving it lying around your house. Sometimes cats need a little bit of training.
Which post to choose?
There are many different choices when it comes to scratching posts. You can choose vertical or horizontal surfaces made of wood, carpet or sisal material. If vertical, the post must be long enough for the cat to extend his body, and sturdy enough that it doesn’t tip over. By watching where your cat chooses to scratch you may be able to work out which kind of post it will be best to buy.
Where to put it?
As a rule of thumb, you should provide at least one post per cat. To start with it should be placed in an area where you’ve seen your cat scratching. For example, to keep cats from scratching furniture they frequent, place the scratching post right next to it. Once your cat is adept at using the post you should be able to move it to a more preferable location.
What if the cat won’t use the post?
You can add catnip and toys to the top of your post to get your cat interested, but ultimately, your cat may need some encouragement. Never carry your cat to the post and move his paws up and down to show him how it’s done. Cats are fiercely independent and will not like this. Instead, make the post a positive place to be. Play with your cat, pet him and offer treats when he scratches the post. Over time he will learn that it is his.
How to stop cat scratching his old spot
If your cat refuses to transfer his scratching to the post you should begin to discourage him when he goes to do it in the old spot. You could cover the area in tin foil, plastic sheeting or double-sided tape that won’t feel nice to the cat, or you could place something citrus-scented in the vicinity. Alternatively, try creating a loud noise, or squirting a little water. The trick here is to make sure the cat doesn’t associate this nasty surprise with you, or he’ll just scratch away to his heart’s content when you’re not around.
No matter what, please remember that claw removal is cruel and should never be used when you’re working out how to stop cats from scratching furniture. Always talk to your vet if you need advice.
While finding ways to get cats to stop scratching furniture may take time and patience, at least cleaning up their unwanted hair will be a breeze when you tackle it with the Gtech Multi K9.