cat scratching on sofa arm

How to train your cat to not scratch your furniture

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In this quick and easy tutorial, we’ll guide you through training your cat to kick the scratching habit. From understanding why cats scratch to practical strategies for redirecting their attention, you’ll gain the knowledge and tools for a peaceful coexistence between your cat’s claws and your furniture.

Why is your cat scratching furniture?

Before you dive into training, it’s crucial to get inside your cat’s head and comprehend why she has this irresistible urge to scratch. It’s hard to imagine but it’s not just fluff in there. To train your cat to not scratch on your furniture, your need to understand her first. Cats scratch for various reasons:

  • Stretching those kitty muscles: One of their ways of limbering up!
  • Keeping claws in check: Scratching helps shed the outer sheath, allowing claws to grow healthily.
  • Sending secret messages: Cats use scent glands between their toes to communicate, and scratching helps spread these pheromones – some say it’s a sign of kitty happiness!
  • Claiming territory: By leaving their scent behind, cats make their space feel like home, creating a cozy haven for themselves.
cat chilling on scratching post

Even if the temptation is strong to just spray your cat with water or tell her No – you don’t want to take all those benefits away from your little friend. And you don’t have to, because there’s a solution called redirecting! Before we jump into the nitty gritty, let’s look at a few things you’ll need to get in order to train your cat.

It’s time to train your cat to not scratch (the wrong stuff). Gather your cat training arsenal.

To embark on this training journey, assemble some essential tools in your cat-training toolkit. These include:

  • Scratching posts
  • Scratching mats/pads
  • Furniture covers
  • Catnip
  • Treats

These supplies will not only deter your cat from scratching your furniture but also provide her with a healthier outlet for their natural instincts.

cat scratching on wall scratch pad

3: Cat-proofing your scratched furniture

  • Sofa Arm or wall attack: If your sofa’s arms, walls, or doors are taking a beating, consider these solutions:
    • Mount vertical scratch protectors on the wall where it’s been happening.
    • Attach hanging scratchers to the sofa’s arms.
    • Position a sturdy, tall scratching post right next to the sofa as an easy alternative.
      • Ideal Scratching Posts: Most cats prefer vertical scratching posts longer than three feet. Opt for materials like sisal or loop-free carpet to allow your cat to rake through it without getting caught in the fabric.
  • Carpet or Lower Sofa Scratching: When these areas become targets, try:
    • Using floor mats or cardboard cat scratcher pads.
    • Resorting to throw blankets if the previous option doesn’t work.
    • Avoiding plastic, as it can encourage pica behavior, is not durable, and is not cozy.
cat scratching on sisal carpet

Training techniques to stop your cat from scratching

Now that you got alternatives in place, it’s finally time to start training your furball!

  • First things first: Be patient. Rome wasn’t built in a day and it might take you and your cat a little to get vibing.
  • Focus on redirection rather than punishment. Cats don’t comprehend punishment, including loud noises; it merely scares them and can worsen their stress levels and behavior.
  • Make the new scratching areas enticing by using catnip or valerian spray. You can also mark them with your own scent (by rubbing a worn piece of clothing against it), making them more interesting to your feline friend.
  • Engage your cat in play on the new scratching surfaces, allowing her to become familiar with these areas.
  • Don’t forget the positive reinforcement: give your cat treats or reward her with attention, pets, and sweet talk when she uses the new scratching places to encourage the desired behavior.

With love, understanding, and these practical steps tp train your cat to not scratch, you can enjoy a happy and scratch-free environment with your feline friend.

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