How do I stop my cat from scratching the furniture?

Jordan from Tucson asks:

Hello Jimmie! This question is addressed specifically to Kimberly Baumgart. Could you please forward it to her? I have two cats who are 6 and 8 years old. During the last year, they developed a habit of scratching the sofa and bathroom cabinet. How can I keep them from such behavior


I forwarded this one to Kim, here is her response:

There are two main reasons why cats scratching the furniture.

  • First, it’s a marking behavior: a cat transfers scent from glands on her paws to mark the territory.
  • Second, she cleans her claws this way, removing the translucent covering from them.

You can’t stop a cat from scratching, as it’s her innate behavior; however, you can redirect her from furniture with a few tactics:

  • First, identify her preferences. Does she scratch carpets, sofas, wood, drapes? Depending on that, you’ll know what types of scratching posts will meet a cat’s needs. In your example, it’s a couch and a cabinet. Looks like your cat loves a combination of soft and dry surfaces.
  • Second, provide a cat with alternative options for scratching. Based on a cat’s preferences, buy or build corresponding scratching posts to place them next to the furniture she likes to mark. Spend some time to find an option that will have a matching color and texture to your couch.
  • Finally, make a cat’s target furniture less attractive so she could redirect to scratching posts faster.
    1. Deodorize it with an enzyme cleaner so a cat wouldn’t feel her scent there anymore.
    2. Use a cat scratching deterrent to prevent your cat from scratching this area.
    3. Install a couch protector, or use an indoor fence if possible so a cat couldn’t reach items suffering from her claws.

Such a comprehensive approach will definitely result in a positive change because your cat will get a good alternative for scratching and a strong deterrent from scratching the furniture.

Good luck!

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