It’s always surprising for cat owners know that damaged furniture in a cat-filled home is always the owner’s fault. Surely, you don’t personally spend your time scratching the sides of your sofa, but you’re certainly not providing your cat what she needs to stop doing so.
Cats claw on furniture as an exercise, and there is no way to stop a cat from doing so. For one, owners should never declaw a cat, because while some may see it as plucking out nails, the process is akin to chopping off fingers! This can permanently alter the way your cat walks, and it deprives cats from any means to defend themselves when needed.
Similarly, cats need to file their own nails in order to prevent overgrowth. If a cat allows its claws to grow, they will curl into its own paws, which also hinders movement and is very painful. The only way you can stop your cat from destroying your furniture is by training her to do so.
Here’s what you need to do.
Buy scratching posts and rugs
Most people who complain about their furniture being damaged by cats have one or no scratching posts in their homes. You should always have as many as you can, and in different shapes and sizes. Some cats like posts with a string toy, others like a long post with nothing distracting.
Alternatively, you could also opt for furniture that is not easily destroyed by pets; this helpful post will guide you through that in more detail, along with other useful tips that might help you. On the other hand, you may opt for scratching rugs if you don’t want to add scratching posts everywhere. However, using both will make the training process faster and easier.
Put scratching posts in every room
You should always sprinkle those posts in every room. Always place them where your cat usually likes to claw on your furniture. Usually, cats have a favorite side because it’s where they have left their scent.
Seeing as cats are attracted to scents, you can try using a catnip spray on your new scratching posts to make them more appealing to your cat. You might also want to rub some of your cat’s toys on the posts to make it easier for her to get used to it. If you have multiple cats, once a cat starts using one or two, all other cats will follow.
Buy double sided sticky tape
While you’re working on making your new scratching posts more appealing to your cat, you should simultaneously make the usual scratching places on the sofa unpleasant or uncomfortable to scratch. The safest way to do that is by placing double-ended sticky tape wherever your cat likes to scratch. Your cat will immediately stop scratching that area and will start looking for alternatives.
Consider automatic spray bottles
You should never try to discipline a cat on your own, because cats will continue doing what they please as soon as you look the other way. This is not because they don’t care about you, but they will always do as their instinct tells them, and if that means they need to destroy your furniture, they’ll continue to do that.
Using a spray bottle to discipline your cat is never effective because all that does is make your cat resent you. On the other hand, you could always purchase a tool that does the job for you. Automatic spray bottles have sensors that go off once cats approach a certain area. You can use them near the sofa, and place the scratching post somewhere else.
Reward your cat
It’s pretty clear that you can never change a cat’s behavior by punishment, but you can encourage good behavior through rewards. Whenever you see your cat using the new scratching posts and rugs, give her a treat and a pat on the head to encourage her to keep using them.
Once your cat grows used to her new scratching tools, you can reduce the amount of treats. Your cat will never go back to scratching furniture because sisal is much more comfortable for a cat to claw and knead on.
It’s important to understand that cats cannot be disciplined, but they can certainly be trained if you provide them with the right tools and reward them when they behave in a way that is acceptable to you. Never be hostile to or raise your voice at your feline friend; when you personally punish your cat, eventually, she will begin to misbehave as a result of fearing you, and feeling unsafe in her own territory.