My method is not to stop them from scratching the furniture but to buy furniture, sheets, and other household items that I don’t necessarily care about being damaged. Know that you won’t be able to prevent the behavior completely – it is ingrained into their DNA. Still, you can minimize and possibly stop the damage that they inflict on those sofas and 500-thread count sheets!
Cats, contrary to popular belief, would do well with a good professional grooming. The groomer can also file down their claws making them too dull to tear up upholstery. With duller claws cats may lessen their scratching activities. Scratching helps them to shed the outer, dead layer of the claw which you may have seen around your house. Regular grooming once a month when combined with other methods of prevention will be effective in saving your furniture.
Your groomer or vet also have caps for their claws. These are like kitty acrylics – they are soft pieces of plastic that fit perfectly over their claws onto which they are super-glued. The cost isn’t too expensive and they last for about four to six weeks, until the natural nail sheds its outer layer. If you feel confident enough, you can purchase the caps in a variety of pretty colors and apply them yourself!
Products for Prevention
Scratching is a behavior that has many evolutionary functions behind it. One of these functions is to mark territory. As a cat scratches, he leaves behind a scent. This is the reason why you will often see your cat scratching only one specific area of a chair or sofa. You can spray your furniture with a deterrent that is specially made to be unpleasant for your cats.
The other product made to deter cats is a double-sided sticky tape that you can apply to the most inviting areas of your furniture. Cats hate any areas that are sticky and thus will avoid them.
Cats will scratch your fine furniture because they don’t have their own toys to occupy them. Spending $100 on a cat condo may seem like a frivolity but it is a piddling amount when compared to the real damage your cute kitties can do to a sofa costing $500 or more.
Along with a cat condo buy a cheap armchair from your local thrift store. Cats love coarse materials such as velvet and dense cotton weaves. Hide the armchair in a bonus room or the den where your cat can knead to his heart’s content.
Cats love the cardboard scratchers made especially for them. Be on the lookout for deals at your local dollar store – they often have them in stock whereas the local department store will overcharge $10 or more for one scratcher. Keep toys around – yarn balls, automated toys that move and have blinking lights, and suspended tchotchkes hanging on strings are some of their favorites and will keep them occupied.
Using preventive measures such as scent sprays and sticky tape will give your cat less options to exercise his need to scratch. Therefore, providing other materials for him to scratch on is imperative for his happiness and your sanity.
By Gabrielle Allemeier
About the Author
Gabrielle Allemeier volunteers her free time as an animal rescuer and foster pet parent. As an animal lover, she enjoys sharing the knowledge she has gained from her experience with a variety of animals. Along with being an animal lover, Gabrielle is a globetrotter. She lives in Los Angeles, California with her terrier, Thisbe.