If you have a cat that destroys your furniture you are not alone. Cat owners describe this as a common behaviour. Although it is normal for cats to get the urge to scratch, scratching inappropriate places is a destructive behaviour, but one that can be easily managed.
Cats need to keep their claws conditioned and healthy, which can be difficult in a home environment without access to trees. Another reason cats enjoy scratching it’s an emotional release. Excitement, frustration and anxiety can build up in cats which then leads to them to seek an undesirable outlet.
Provide a scratching post
Not all cats will like the same scratching posts so you will need to try different ones. Scratching posts come in all shapes and sizes, from the traditional vertical models to horizontal squares. There are a variety of textures used to cover scratching post including thick carpet, rope and soft carpet. If your cat is targeting one piece of furniture be sure to place the scratching post in front of the furniture. Otherwise place the scratching post around the house such as their favourite sleeping spot.
Make sure your cat gets plenty of exercise
Your cat is hardwired to pounce, jump and stalk and they won’t hesitate to use your couch as a launch pad. Playing with your cat will provide an outlet for stored up energy or stress and can help reduce destructive behaviours.
If your cat is scratching your furniture, gently redirect them towards a scratching post. To prevent getting scratched yourself, encourage them over to the scratching post with a toy or with stimulated scratching movements. Temporarily, you can put a thick cover over your furniture to protect it while the behaviour is being redirected.
Protect your furniture
Without turning your couches into an eyesore, try transparent furniture scratch guards for popular target zones in your house such as backrests and armrests because they seem to have a magnetic pull that cats just can’t resist.
Turn speakers toward the wall. Put plastic, sandpaper, double sided tape or upside-down vinyl carpet runner on furniture or on the floor where your cat would stand to scratch your furniture. Discourage inappropriate scratching areas by removing or covering them.
Trim your Cats Claws
To reduce the potential for serious damage whist also preventing accidental snags and pokes, you can trim your cat’s claws. Giving your feline friend a mani pedi won’t do much to combat furniture scratching but it may help to reduce the damage slightly. It is advisable to see your vet or book with an experienced pet groomer.