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Trimming nails, creating scratch safe spots, and other ways to keep cats from scratching your furniture


Have you ever walked into your living room and found your favorite couch scratched up? You’re not alone. There may be many things that we love about your feline friends, but destroying our furniture is not one of them.

Before we can go into preventing cats from ruining your furniture, we must first think about why they might be doing it.

Why do cats scratch furniture?

Cats need to scratch for a variety of reasons. Some needs are physical, and other times it is emotional. From removing the dead, outer layer of their claws or to stretch, scratching is a natural need for most cats.

Other times, scratching also promotes marking their territory - a combination of a visual marking and scent released through their paws. You can expect this to happen more frequently in a multi-cat household and in the early stages of introducing new family members.

Lastly, cats can also scratch to deal with mental issues. Many indoor cats in small homes and not enough intellectual stimulation and exercise are prone to a variety of interrelated concerns. From depression, anxiety, and even boredom, some cats scratch to release pent-up stress.

In this article, we will walk you through how to resolve each of these needs, so your furniture will be safe from your cat’s claws.

How to Keep Cats from Ruining Your Furniture

To solve your cat’s negative scratching habits, you must look holistically to treat the problem. Preventing your cats from ruining your involves addressing both their physical needs, making compromises with your space, and providing for their emotional needs.

Trim the Nails of Your Cat

Since one of the primary reasons why cats scratch is to remove dead skin from their claws, it makes sense to address this first. Unlike outdoor cats, most indoor cats do not have enough exercise to wear off their cat claws naturally. With this, many indoor cats need your help to maintain their nails.

Make sure that your cat is relaxed before you begin the trim. Avoid injury by using the appropriate type of nail cutters. Gently put your cat on your lap. Then, squeeze the foot pad of your cat until the nails extend. Afterward, gently trim the nail while avoiding the pink portion called the Quick. You can do it little by little until you have reached the appropriate length.

If the nails of your cat are not maintained properly, they can curl inward and cause pain on their foot pad. Should you not be comfortable enough to trim the nails of your cat, bring them to a professional groomer or vet to avoid any possible infection.

Trimmed cat nails are more likely to cause less damage if they would still attempt to scratch your furniture. Schedule cat nail trimming at least once a month for best results.

Create Scratch-Friendly Spaces

Cats are naturally territorial animals. In a multi-cat household, scratching is often a symptom of feeling that someone is intruding in their space. Of course, not all of us can move to a bigger home every time our furry friends are acting out.

A way around this is to create more levels or vertical spaces in your home to give the illusion of a larger territory. You can add more cat-friendly shelves or cat trees that your furry friends are allowed to climb on. To encourage them to stay in these areas, you can use a few sprinkles of catnip.

Lastly, build safe spaces where your cats are allowed to scratch. For example, dedicated scratching posts that are durable and easily replaced. It is much easier to divert your cat’s scratching to appropriate locations instead of forcing them to stop scratching furniture altogether.

Deter Cats from Off-Limit Furniture

Once you have made more scratch-friendly locations in your home, the next step is to create off-limits areas, uncomfortable for your cat.

By attaching sticky surfaces such as double-sided tape or slippery plastic cover, these are typically textures that are not enjoyable for cats. Alternatively, you may also add plastic or rubber runners that you can remove easily.

Should they still insist on stepping or scratching your furniture, you can also use cat deterring sprays. You may use a homemade spray made from apple cider vinegar and water in areas that you want them to avoid. Not only is ACV a cat deterrent, but it is also a natural deodorizer.

If you are not comfortable with ACV, you may also opt to buy specially formulated cat repellant sprays. Many commercial cat repellents have a variety of scents that do not have any harmful ingredients for your feline friend. You may even place automatic cat repellant sprays in permanent places for stubborn cats.

Tend to Your Cat’s Emotional Needs

Lastly, if you have identified that your cat compulsively scratches due to mental issues, you have to address those too.

Start by eliminating their boredom by intellectually stimulating them with toys, a window with a view, and various YouTube videos. If they are the kind of cat to enjoy walks, train them to walk on a leash, so you can bring them outdoors.

If your cat’s stress is due to adding another kitten or cat to your home, make sure to introduce them properly. Many cats tend to feel threatened in the beginning, but as long as you don’t skip steps, things should be fine after some time.

Should you suspect that their behavior is due to changes like moving, re-decorating, or having other people over for extended periods, be patient and even more loving to them. Remember that it’s normal for your cat to act out in the middle of disrupted routines.

Creating a Cat-Friendly, Scratch-Resistant Home

The reality is cats will scratch. It’s in their nature, perfectly normal, and the price we pay for having a furry friend in our home. With this, the most that we can do is to manage this need by creating a cat-friendly and scratch-resistant home.

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