Cats can be a wonderful and rewarding addition to your household. For many people a house doesn’t feel like a home unless it has a resident cat. Unfortunately there are some downsides. From the hard to avoid issues of cat upset stomach, diarrhea and other symptoms, to furniture damage from claws, there’s a lot of damage a cat can do in your home.
Today we’re taking a look at the issues of cat claws on furniture: why they do it, and what you can do to stop it.
Why Do Cats Scratch?
If you want to put a stop to cat scratching you need to understand why your cat is doing it. Cats scratch for lots of different, inter-related reasons. It’s a way of relieving anxiety or boredom, a way to get a good stretch, to help remove dead or blunted ends of claws and also to show ownership: cats have scent pads on their feet as they do in their cheeks.
Part of protecting your furniture from cat scratching may have to take in the reason they are scratching in the first place. If it’s due to anxiety – for example if your cat only attacks your sofa when you’re out of the house they might have some separation anxiety – then you can try to address that anxiety. Providing extra toys, puzzle feeders and making more of an effort to play with your cat might reduce scratching if it’s due to boredom.
You’re unlikely to be able to completely stop your cat scratching in your home – it wouldn’t be fair to your cat to try and prevent them exercising this instinctive behaviour. The best thing you can do is try to redirect the urge to more acceptable targets.
Purpose-built scratching toys are often made with coiled sisal rope, which is sturdy and satisfying for your cat to get its claws into it. They also need to be sturdy enough for your cat to dig into without rocking or toppling – consider anchoring them to the floor if needs be!
If your cat prefers to scratch horizontally, rather than vertically, try a scratch pad made of corrugated cardboard. Whatever you choose, place the scratch toys near where your cat likes to scratch and try to direct their attention at the toys rather than your precious furniture.
Protecting Your Furniture
One of the most effective things you can do is place a physical barrier between your cat and the furniture they’re intent on destroying. Covering the patches of carpet they favour with rugs or with plastic runners, putting a sofa throw between your cat and the sofa they long to scratch, or putting anti-scratch tape on the table leg they focus on are all great ways to help them direct their attention on the purpose built scratch toys you’re providing for them!