Friday, April 12, 2024

Why Do Cats Scratch The Couch

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Cats Are Curious Not Vengeful

Some owners blame their cats destructive behavior on spite or revenge. It may seem as if your cat is getting back at you for some perceived crime on your part, such as not scooping his litter box quickly enough or feeding him Turkey Surprise instead of Salmon Delight, but despite their high level of intelligence, cats dont think at that sophisticated level.

We should not impart malicious intentions to pets, says Pamela Perry, DVM, Ph.D., a resident in behavior at Cornell. Most destructive behavior is a manifestation of the pets normal investigative play or behavior in the absence of a more suitable or more appealing outlet. They are curious creatures who have a strong desire to explore their environment. It is up to us as owners to provide them with ample suitable outlets for their inquisitive natures.

Provide Them A Scratching Outlet

Finally, it is essential to provide them an outlet to take their scratching out on. Even a cat that has been declawed will continue to try and scratch, demonstrating that it is an ingrained and entirely natural tendency.

Scratching posts are the most common outlets that people give their cats and are essential to their training.

Cats Want A Variety Of Scratching Surfaces

One thing that we need to ensure with all of our pets is that they have plenty to keep them occupied and interested. Boredom is not fun and is not something we want any of our pets to experience. When choosing cat scratching posts from your cat’s point of view, keep in mind that he is interested in experiencing a good scratch and having fun. Choosing multiple different posts and a variety of materials will keep your cat busy and happy.

Helpful hint: Put a post with a pedestal in front of a window for entertainmentand maybe a little bit of sun.

Placing a cat scratching post with a horizontal platform on top in front of a window will allow your cat to scratch vertically, climb, scratch horizontally, sit and watch the action outside, and take a nap on a perch. A purr-fect way to satisfy your kitty’s desires and needs. Check out the Purrfect View. A cat scratching post can be moved near different windows in the home so your cat can watch something new.

Do Cats Scratch Faux Leather

Some owners believe that cats only target real leather. Supposedly, the texture and smell feel more natural. This encourages cats to scratch up authentic hide like they might find on carcasses in the wild. Unfortunately, research is uncertain if cats are drawn to leather, so real or fake doesnt make a difference.

Your cat may target your faux leather as readily as proper leather. Your cat may also dislike the smell, texture, and feeling, therefore giving it a wide berth. Sadly, you cant invest in faux leather as a loophole for dealing with a cat in the house. It would be a crapshoot in any case.

In fact, real leather and faux leather are very similar in texture. Even if your cat did purposefully target leather, this isnt guaranteed to scare it off.

There are advantages to faux leather over real leather, though. Fake leather is much cheaper. Perhaps you absolutely love the aesthetic in your home décor but dont want to throw several thousand dollars away just by sharing it with a cat. In this case, faux can lower your replacement costs.

Likewise, faux leather has many of the same advantages as real leather. Its easy to clean and wont collect a lot of fur. That can make tidying up a pet-friendly home much simpler, even if the furniture gets clawed up anyhow.

Why Do Cats Scratch 3 Reasons And How To Stop It

Why Does My Cat Scratch the Furniture?

How many times have you chased your kitty away from your curtains, carpet, or couch? No matter how many times you try to stop unwanted scratching, sometimes that message doesnt stick! So why do cats love to scratch so much? And if theyre scratching somewhere they shouldnt, how can you help them find a better place to put their paws?

Figure Out Where And When Your Cat Scratches Deter Immediately

You have to know where your cat is scratching and be aware of when he is doing it. Trying to discourage unwanted scratching wont work unless hes in the middle of doing it. If you try to train your cat after the fact, he wont understand whats going on.

Cats tend to scratch when they are excited, when they want to mark territory, or right after they wake up, so pay attention to these specific times.

Your Thoughts On Cats Scratching Leather

Do you have any tips, tricks, or stories about cats scratching leather?

Do you have a leather sofa at home? Has your cat ever tried to claw it up? Which section of the couch does your cat like to scratch?

Have you ever tried to repair a leather sofa thats been damaged by cat scratches before? Have you tried anything in terms of prevention? What worked? What hasnt?

Please leave your thoughts and experiences in the comments below Im sure every pet parent in this boat will be grateful for the advice!

Dig KittyClysm? Check out all the other blogs I pen & photograph.

Elises Favourite Tip

One of the most frustrating problems Ive had to deal with as a pet parent is staying on top of my cats desire to play. While this is typically hard to do, toys like these that allow cats to play by themselves make the job one heck of a lot easier.

The hits in my household are ridiculously affordable: , ball track toys, &kick sticks. I have a slew scattered around the house, so when my cats get bored, even if Im busy or not even home, my furries are able to actively play.

Why Having Claws And Scratching Is Important To Cats

Claws are a physically, socially, and emotionally vital part of every cat. Scratching, for a cat, is not only a natural act, but a necessary one as well.

  • It removes the dead outer sheaths of nail, keeping it sharp and ready for action.
  • It is an essential exercise technique which serves to stretch and strengthen their upper bodies.
  • Cats mark their territory visually, especially in multicat households, as a way of determining rank.
  • Between your cats toes are scent glands which leave her signature when she scratches.
  • You Should Never Declaw Your Cat! 

    Declawing is surgery where the claw and end bone of each toe are amputated; it is essentially the amputation of 1/3 of the cats paws. Declawed cats must be kept indoors only, since the front claws are a cats primary means of self-defense and escape against the many dangers and predators in our area. Declawed cats are often chronically painful, and may develop aggression or litter box problems. We strongly discourage declawing or tendonectomy surgeries.

    Paws and claws are integral tools for cats in no uncertain physical and behavioral terms. We have seen many cats relinquished to shelters who were declawed and then developed new unwanted behaviors afterward, including urinating outside the litterbox , or increased aggression and biting. The Humane Society of Boulder Valley, Denver Dumb Friends League, and many other shelters nationwide condemn declawing, which is considered cruel and/or illegal in many other nations .

    Furniture Protection From Cats

    If you dont mind the look, you can try covering up your leather furniture with a scratch guard. These can be used independently or paired with a drop cloth or slip cloth.

    Leather Scratch Guard

    Scratch guards are composed of a sheet of thin plastic. They can be stuck or mounted to the sides and corners of your leather furniture. Depending on the brand, they will strictly adhere to the furniture with thin tape or be mounted with little pegs. No matter the case, they create a barrier thats more difficult for your cat to pierce with its nails.

    Since these guards only attach to the sides and corners of your leather, they cannot protect the cushions. However, most cats target the corners and sides, as theyre the most abrasive parts of a sofa or chair. That makes them excellent for sharpening claws, but all the joy is taken out of it with the thin plastic.

    You can buy these sheets or make your own by putting heavy-duty tape onto your furniture. They may need replacing if your cat is persistent, or they may last for years. No matter the case, one downside is that they are unsightly to some people, even if theyre see-through.

    Drop Cloth or Slip Cloth

    A drop cloth or slip cloth covers the full length of your furniture. This not only protects it from dust but also scratching claws. If youre concerned about aesthetics, this is the least invasive option. With a tight enough fit, you may hardly notice the cover .

    How Cat Scratchers Can Keep Your Cat Happy

    Depending on your cats age and lifestyle, theyll prefer different types of cat scratchers. Some cat scratching posts arecat toys with balls and feathers for kitty playtime. Cats of all ages need the mental stimulation of play, and if you encourage them to bat the ball around and play with them, then theyll appreciate it. Plus, itll encourage them to scratch the appropriate surface.

    If you have a kitten, you can train them from kittenhood to use their scratching pad and let you trim their nails. If you have a grown cat, you may need to use additional techniques such as double-sided sticky tape or sandpaper on your furniture to retrain them to use a cat tree. Bullock also recommends offering your cat both a horizontal and vertical scratching post because every kitty has different preferences. 

    Try Water Or A Hissing Noise

    Teach your cat while gradually reducing vertical scratching by standing guard with a squirt bottle filled with water and giving him a light spray each time the claws come out. Some cats don’t learn well from water, so keep that in mind. You might also try making a “hissing” noise when your cat starts to scratch at something you wish he’d leave alone. Many felines respond intuitively to this sound.

    Make The Posts And Pads More Attractive Than Your Furniture

    Having plenty of posts and pads for your cat to scratch is extremely important, but so too are taking the simple steps to get your cat scratching those instead of your furniture. Heres what you can do to make your cats scratching posts and pads most attractive to them:

    • Location, location, location: Just like in real estate, where you put your cats scratching posts and pads is important. After all, if theyre in a place your cat rarely ventures to, theyre not likely to be used. Put the structures and surfaces you want your cat scratching in the spaces where they hang out most and itll be far more likely that your cat will use them.Similarly, if theres a particular piece of furniture you dont want your cat scratching, put an attractive post or pad right next to it so your cat has a better choice .
    • Spruce up their pads and posts: Many people don’t have enough scratching posts and pads around their home simply because many of the posts and pads out there aren’t exactly the nicest things to look at.But it doesn’t need to be this way, there are actually plenty of nicer, more upscale, more stylish cat scratching pad and post options available for you. Here are a few that can fit into even the nicest, most minimalist home decor.

    There are even some great, more modern-looking cat towers and “kitty condos” that will give your cat some fun perches and hiding spaces, along with some important and attractive scratching surfaces. Check out the options below.

    Why Do Cats Want To Scratch

    Learn How To Stop My Cat Scratching The Furniture

    There are a number of reasons why cats want to scratch objects. Cats need to keep their claws healthy and conditioned, which can be difficult in a home environment without access to trees. Scratching also serves as a way to mark territory, to show other cats that the area where the object is located is occupied. These visual markers act as an advanced warning system to avoid confrontation with other cats. Unfortunately some cats dont realise the couch is an inappropriate marking area!

    Another reason why cats enjoy scratching is that it acts as an emotional release. Frustration, anxiety or excitement can build up within cats, leading them to seek an outlet. You might have noticed your cat scratching when you come home from work, or when they encountered a companion cat, and this is a healthy way of relieving pent up emotions. Contrary to popular belief, cats do not scratch furniture and carpet out of spite or to purposely destroy objects.

    What Can I Do To Stop My Cat From Scratching My Furniture And Carpets

    Providing your cat with alternative surfaces to scratch is the first step to stopping your cat scratching the furniture or carpets. A general rule is that cats like to scratch on rigid surfaces that resist the pull of their claws, and they like their bodies to be stretched as high or as long as possible to get the full benefit from the exercise. Its very important not to punish your cat for scratching the furniture. Scratching is a perfectly natural, normal behaviour for a cat so they are not doing something wrong, they simply have no understanding of where it is acceptable or unacceptable to scratch.

    Alternative scratching surfaces such as cat scratching boards and posts are readily available in all pet shops and online pet stores. They tend to be made of wood or heavy-duty cardboard and covered in a material such as sisal string or wood bark.

    You can also buy multi-level pieces of cat furniture which allow your cat to climb, scratch, perch and even sleep on raised beds that form part of the structure.

    If space is an issue, then flat panels with a rough surface can be fixed to walls. There are versions available to buy, or you can make something yourself using sisal, seagrass or coir matting.

    Once a cat scratches on a surface, the pheromone scent and the marks they leave will encourage more scratching in the same spot so its best to try and provide suitable scratching surfaces as soon as possible.

    How To Stop A Cat From Scratching The Carpet

    Your first option for preventing damage from scratching is to direct your cat’s behavior to an acceptable target. Kitty furniture such as scratching posts are designed for that exact purpose.

    What do you do if your cat refuses to use the scratching post or sometimes chooses to ignore it in favor of your carpeting? The best solution is to provide scratching surfaces that are more desirable to your cat than your furnishings.

    Add a horizontal scratching pad. Cats have their own individual scratching patterns and preferences. Those that scratch carpeting may be more inclined to scratch horizontally than use a vertical scratching post. Fortunately, there are scratching pads made for horizontal scratching; some are wedge-shaped inclines and others are flattened out. Experiment to find one that your cat likes.

    Cover up the spot where your cat scratches. If possible, move a piece of furniture to your cat’s favorite carpet spot. A sisal scratching post may be a good choice here. For scratching that takes place in front of an entryway, cover the area with a thin mat. Two-sided tape can act as a deterrent and eventually train your cat to avoid the area, especially on vertical surfaces.

    How To Keep A Cat From Scratching Furniture

    Though it might feel like it sometimes, your cat doesnt scratch your furniture or carpets to upset you, she scratches to clean the exterior sheath of her nails, remove cuticles and to sharpen her clawsthink of it as a feline manicure! While you cant stop your cat from scratching, theres a lot you can do to protect your furniture and redirect your cats behavior. Here are our top tips for keeping your cat from scratching your furniture.

    Why Cats Scratch Furniture

    Fish have to swim, and cats have to scratch! While they might not always choose the best locations to scratch , scratching is a natural and necessary behavior for your cat. Like you might stretch your muscles and keep in shape with a yoga routine, scratching helps your cat to both stretch muscles and relieve any tension or stress.

    Needless to say, it can be quite frustrating when your cat chooses your brand-new sofa as their scratching post. But dont worry – there are plenty of ways you can get your kitty to scratch elsewhere – because its important for them to be able to scratch!

    So, why do cats scratch furniture and other surfaces?

    How To Stop Destructive Scratching In Cats

    Editorial Process

    Cats causing damage by scratching furniture and other household items is a common complaint among cat owners. Although, this can be frustrating, it is important to remember that scratching is a normal and natural behavior for cats. 

    Even though the urge for cats to scratch is normal, scratching places we feel are inappropriate, such as our couches and stairway posts, makes it a destructive behavior. Luckily, this is one which can be easily prevented and managed.

    Cat Scratching Is Territorial

    Kitties are territorial. Part of their scratching behavior designates their claim. Your cat may scratch trees outside your homes entrance, your door or doorway, carpeting inside, and furniture.

    Not only do they leave claw marks, but they also leave a scent behind. Their paw pads have scent glands called pheromones. Other animals can both see the scratch marks and smell the cat, so they know the area is claimed. Sometimes, cats who live with other animals feel extra compelled to claim their territory, so they may be especially possessive and scratch a lot. If you bring home a new cat, make sure you introduce them to a designated cat scratcher.

    Whatever you do, dont yell at them or spray them with a water bottle for their scratching behavior. Youll only confuse and upset your kitty. 

    Instead, you can understand their point of view and work with them to create a new favorite scratching pad.

    Most cats have a favorite place for scratching. For example, your cat might think your favorite chair makes a great scratching post. Whats your cats favorite clawing area? Thats a great spot to add an approvedscratching surface like a cat tree. 

    Whitney Bullock, the owner of The Charleston Cat Groomer in Charleston, S.C., says, Place a cat scratcher directly in front of the thing they scratch the most! Yes, you may not want the cat scratcher in your formal living room, but dont worry. You can slowly move it away day by day to a more preferred location.

    The On2pets Skyline Sisal Cat Scratching Post Has Three Poles And A Wide Turf

    Pros: Three horizontal scratching posts of different heights, sisal-covered posts, broad base covered in scratchable artificial turf, holds up to 32 pounds, made in the United States

    Cons: Requires light assembly

    To stop a cat from scratching furniture, the goal is not to punish the behavior but to redirect it. Every cat has their own personal scratching preference. If your cat is scratching vertically on your furniture, it’s likely they will prefer a vertical scratcher, said Quagliozzi. If they scratch carpets or rugs, a horizontal scratch pad is more likely to satisfy their desire. Some, like my cat Osito, enjoy both. Whatever they like, Calder said it’s important to have multiple scratchers.

    Of the seven vertical scratchers we tested for this guide, the On2Pets Skyline Sisal Cat Scratching Post was the clear favorite. Both cats returned to the scratcher multiple times a day during the first month of testing. Six months later, one still scratches there daily.

    Resembling a city skyline, this scratcher has three sisal-covered vertical posts at heights of 30.5 inches, 22 inches, and 16.5 inches bunched together at the center of a wide rectangular base. The base is covered in scratchable artificial turf. After six months, the scratcher’s sisal is a little shaggy but still looks nice overall.

    How Do I Stop My Cat From Scratching My Furniture

    4 Tips To Stop Your Cat Scratching the Furniture

    When you’re wondering how to stop cats from scratching furniture, the number one solution is to give them other things to scratch. If you look at what cats scratch outside trees and posts you can see that a scratching post or cat tree is a natural choice for keeping your cats claws off your furniture.

    Scratching posts and cat trees simulate the exterior environment and what outdoor cats use as an outlet for scratching. When you purchase a cat tree or post, be sure to go for a quality item that is strong and not wobbly. If your cat feels like the post or tree is unstable, they may not use it. It should also be tall enough for them to completely stretch their muscles.

    If youre not keen on purchasing a cat tree or scratching post, there are additional objects that can work just as well. Other alternatives include bark-covered logs, sisal fibres, softwood remnants and fabric offcuts.

    Ive Bought A New Scratching Post How Can I Encourage My Cat To Use It

    If youve bought a new scratching post, make sure you are placing the new scratching surface in a location where your cat spends a lot of time or near where they have previously scratched.

    Cats are naturally curious creatures, but they dont like to feel that they are being forced to do something. Your cat may take some time to explore the new object, but they will accept it more readily if they have decided when and how to use it on their own terms.

    If you are keen to speed up the process, a simple game involving a rod and string that dangles a toy around the base of the scratching post will encourage their claws to make contact with the surface to let them know that it is there.

    You could also try applying Feliway® FELISCRATCH to the scratching post. This synthetic pheromone smells like the scent that is released by the glands between a cats pads and will make it smell familiar.

    If you have purchased a tall scratching post or multi-platform cat tree make sure it is rigid and doesnt wobble you might even need to attach the taller models with a bracket to the wall. You could try placing some treats on the different surfaces to encourage them to explore.

    Why Your Cat Is Scratching Your Furniture

    One of the most common issues cat parents have is that their cats are scratching up their furniture. But its important to remember that scratching is a totally normal cat behavior. There are several reasons behind it, including:

    • Sharpening their nails
    • Stretching their claws
    • Marking an area as their territory

    When you catch your cat in the act, you might find yourself wanting to scold or punish him. Youre frustrated, after all.But that reaction could actually make things worse.

    Scratching due to marking can increase due to stress, Dr. Spano told The Dodo. Punishment may further stress out the cat, and if the scratching behavior is due to marking, this additional stress from punishment may thus increase anxiety and exacerbate the issue further.

    Tips To Solve Cat Scratching On Furniture & Doors

    The evidence is everywherethe sofa, curtains, and even your wallsyour favorite feline is a scratcher! For all the meows, purrs, and cuddles, a red flag is still raised when it comes to allowing your cat to cruise freely about the house. You may find yourself asking, “How do I keep my cat from scratching the furniture? Is it even possible?”

    Option 3: Have More Scratch

    If you have a leather sofa your cat really likes to scratch, it may not be that he or she actually genuinely prefers to scratch leather over other materials.

    The truth of the matter is that your cat may just scratch your sofa because when he/she gets the itch to scratch around it, theres nothing else nearby thats nice to scratch on, so your leather furniture gets the grunt of the claw-work.

    We spend a lot of time on and around our couches, and cats like spending a lot of time around us.

    If theres specific furniture in your house thats more damaged than other pieces, Ill hazard a guess the damaged pieces happen to be where you spend a large chunk of your waking hours.

    The resolution to all this? Increase the amount of scratch-approved items you have in your home, concentrating especially on places your cat spend a lot of time.

    And Im not just talking in the same room either. Some rooms are enormous, and some rooms are small, yet certain cats really dislike having to go even a little far from where theyre spending time to find something adequate to scratch.

    The easiest way to make sure a scratcher isnt too far to be a suitable replacement for the leather couch? Place a scratch post you know your cat likes to use right in front of the spot your cat typically scratches on your leather sofa like the back, the sides, the front, wherever your particular cat likes clawing.

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