The problem of cats scratching furniture is so frustrating! Owners facing this problem sometimes consider cat declawing, some try a cat scratching post, and others look for cat behavior training advice. It is possible to solve cat scratching problems, for good!
First of all, they are not trying to be naughty! Animals don't have human emotions, such as anger or vindictiveness. You'll sometimes hear someone say "Fluffy was mad at me so he did such-and-such." That's rubbish!
Cats scratching furniture is a cat behavior problem that stems from instinct, pure and simple. A little cat behavior training will teach him what is allowed in the house, and what is not. If he continues to scratch when you are not looking, it means he needs to scratch!
For example, we rarely find our cats on our kitchen counter. They know it's not allowed. When we have found them up there, they have had an empty water dish. Every time. They were just thirsty, not naughty!
Cats need to sharpen their claws. Why? In the wild, they need those claws for hunting, as we know. And although they get all their nutrition from the food dish nowadays, they still have those animal instincts.
There are physical reasons for cats to scratch, too. When you see a cat scratching furniture (or woodwork, or his cat scratching post) his whole body is benefiting.
He is stretching his muscles and body. It's good for his overall health. That regular stretching keeps him in top condition, which will pay off in his senior years. He may have better joint health as a result.
A cat will "hook" his claws into a cat scratching post (hopefully), and then he can stretch the muscles in his legs, back, shoulders, and paws. He pulls back against his own clawhold, and this is the only way he can tone these muscles.
When there is a problem with cats scratching furniture, some cat behavior training is in order. First, decide where you'd like your cat to scratch. Provide him with a well-made cat scratching post.
Make sure it's accessible to him, and in a good location. Put it where he likes to "hang out" and preferably where you can see it, too.
Whenever you catch your cat scratching furniture, make sure to distract him immediately. Give him a startle by clapping, or saying "No!" or "Psst!" Don't scare him. Then get up and physically take him to the cat post.
Help him by revealing his claws and showing him how to scratch. He will make the connection. It will take time, persistence, and as with any type of pet behavior training, consistency is key!
When You Can't Be There
If your cat has run of the house when no one is home, consider covering his favorite "cat scratching furniture" with a sheet or blanket. Or try some double-sided tape on his favorite spot. Also, there are sprays and other products designed to deter cats from an area.
For some people, the cats claws are the problem. In this case there are things you can do. When our cats were young and particularly hard on our floors, we trimmed their claws regularly. It's very easy. Get some guillotine style clippers and press the claw out of its "pocket." Then just snip off the sharp tip.
Cat Claw Covers: They are basically little rubber sleeves that you glue on to the claw. Most cats don't even notice them, and cat claw covers provide a humane option for their owners.
Of course, there are people who opt for cat declawing. This practice has fallen out of favor in recent times. More people are aware of what it really entails.
Cat declawing is an extremely painful procedure, wrought with possible complications and many behavioral and health consequences. It is considered mutilation, inhumane, and is now banned in many areas.
For those who are dealing with cats scratching furniture, take heart! Consistent cat behavior training, and patience, should see the problem resolved.