Is your cat ruining your couch and carpet in the living room? Are they excessively going about the house scratching your furniture? Believe it or not, there are multiple reasons why cats do this. So, let’s take a closer look at your cat scratching furniture, why, and how to stop it.
Why Do Cats Scratch Furniture And Carpets?
Do cats scratch furniture for attention? This can certainly be a reason. While cats are independent and aloof, they enjoy their human companions’ company.
So, if they feel like they want your attention, they might scratch at furniture, doors, or the carpet. Whether negative or positive, they know this will get your attention.
Believe it or not, there are other reasons cats scratch furniture. They’re not only doing it for attention, and they’re not being brats. Let’s take a closer look at this type of cat behavior and how to get them to stop scratching.
Your Cat Is Stretching Its Body
One reason your cat is scratching the furniture is simply that they’re stretching their body.
When your cat stretches their muscles, this allows them to exercise appropriately and move well. While stretching, they unsheathe their claws to stretch out the muscles in their paws and toes.
Since their claws are out, it may seem like they’re scratching. However, it’s just their claws being sheathed and unsheathed.
They’re Marking Their Territory
Cats have scent glands in between their paws. So, an odor escapes when they stretch out their toes, thus unsheathing their claws.
While we can’t smell it, other cats and animals can. For example, a cat scratches furniture to release this odor as a way to mark territory.
Scratching Keeps Their Claws Healthy
One other reason cats scratch is because they’re keeping their claws healthy and clean. For example, a cat’s claws will shed the top layer of its claw by scratching. Thus, the nail gets cleaned, filed down, and sharpened.
Your Cat Is Relieving Stress
Scratching is one of the ways that cats release stress. By scratching furniture or the carpet, your cat won’t engage in other stress-relieving behavior such as going outside the litter box. Overall, scratching helps your cat remain calm and stay healthy.
How To Prevent Your Cat Scratching Furniture
Overall, cats need to scratch. But even though it’s a normal act for cats and helps keep them healthy, you certainly don’t want your kitty to destroy your furniture. So, how can you prevent your cat from scratching items they shouldn’t?
Get Scratching Posts
One of the best ways to discourage scratching on the carpet or couch is to give them something they can scratch.
There are various types of scratching posts for cats. For instance, there are tall towers, some with toys attached, or simple ones that are only made for scratching.
For example, some great scratching posts can be found below:
- Kitty City Carpet Cat Scratching Post
- Pawz Road Cat Scratching Post Bed
- Activity Center Cat Tower Furniture Scratching Post
But how can you entice your cat to scratch their post over the furniture?
Well, you can place the scratching post in front of where they usually scratch. For example, if they go for the arm of the couch, put the post in front of it so your cat will only be able to scratch the post instead.
In addition, you can add their scratching post in a spot where your cat loves to play or lounge. Then, if it’s in their space, they’ll know it belongs to them.
If they don’t, you can always sprinkle some catnip or add a treat or two at the top of the scratch post. It’ll encourage your cat to play with it, sniff the post, and eventually use it.
Use Positive Reinforcement
If your cat scratches their post or even lays in the bed at the top (if you have one), then you can praise them. For instance, give them treats and lots of pets as positive reinforcement if they scratch their post over the furniture.
On the other hand, you’ll want to discourage them from scratching the furniture. To do that, you can redirect them to their scratching post, make a loud noise to keep them away or cover up the area.
To cover the scratching area of the couch (or where ever they scratch), you can add tin foil, double-sided sticky tape, or cover it with a plastic sheet. Over time, your kitten will get the hint that they can’t scratch that area.
Keep Your Cat’s Claws Trimmed
As mentioned, a cat may scratch furniture to keep its claws clean. However, if you trim their claws regularly, they’ll still scratch, but it won’t harm the furniture as much since their claws are short. You should trim your cat’s nails every two to three weeks to keep them healthy.
Alternatively, you can use nail caps. These are plastic tips that you can put on the end of your cat’s claws. They don’t hurt the cat and will protect your cat’s nails (and your furniture).
Can You Declaw Your Cat?
The short answer is no. Declawing your cat is considered inhumane for several reasons.
For example, declawing cats cause long-lasting pain to the cat. Even after surgery and recovery, most cats deal with physical pain in their paws for a long time, if not for the rest of their lives.
This pain makes it harder for them to walk, exercise, and play. In addition, it may make your cat lame and cause them to go the rest of their life with a limp.
Also, it’s an invasive operation. Declawing can cause bone spurs, nerve damage, and infections.
Finally, for a few weeks after surgery, you’ll need to change their litter box to a newspaper. Otherwise, it could cause damage to their healing wound. Due to this change, your cat may refuse to go in the litter box, causing more issues.
Overall, declawing a cat is never a good idea. The only time it’s acceptable is if it has a medical benefit for your cat. For instance, if they have a cancerous nail bed tumor.
Preventing Cat Scratching Is Easier Than It Seems
As long as you start your cat young with regular nail trims and introduce them to scratching posts, they should leave the furniture and carpet alone. However, scratch is also in their nature, and it feels good to them. So, you may catch your kitty scratching the furniture occasionally.
Rachel Poli is a content writer and author, but her real job is being a stay-at-home pet mom. Her zoo currently consists of a dog, a cat, two turtles, and two fish tanks. She’s also an avid pet sitter for a few local families, caring for various animals.
After realizing how little information there is for pet sitters on the internet, Rachel decided to start her own animal website. She strives to educate pet parents and pet sitters about the overall care of our furry friends.