Cat scratching a couch

5 Helpful Tips on How to Stop Cats From Scratching Furniture

  • Jan 11
Cat scratching a couch

As a cat owner, you’ve seen it all before: the never-ending cat hair on your clothes, the cat litter scattered everywhere but the box, and the slightly soul-crushing scratch marks left behind on your favorite piece of furniture. 

Despite their cuteness, cats can be a hassle to deal with when they treat your furniture as their scratch post. Even though it’s said that cats have 9 lives, your precious couch in the living room certainly doesn’t. As frustrating as this may be, there are a number of tips on how to stop cats from scratching furniture. In this article, we’ll talk about some ways to make a cat proof couch and prevent scratch marks from popping up around the house.

Why Do Cats Scratch Furniture?

Before we get into the gist of how to prevent cats from scratching furniture, you should know and understand why they do this in the first place. Believe it or not, scratching is normal cat behavior and happens for several reasons:

  • To mark their territory. Just like dogs, cats like to mark their territory. When they scratch things, the scent glands in their paws release odors to mark and create boundaries.
  • To stretch. Cats can scratch your furniture as a form of exercise to stretch and strengthen the muscles and tendons in their upper body.
  • To keep their claws healthy. Scratching helps felines shed and remove old layers of nail at the tip of their claws, keeping them sharp and healthy. Just think of this as a cat pedicure!
  • To relieve stress. Cats tend to relieve their stress through scratching. This also decreases the likelihood of them developing other unwanted habits, such as urinating carelessly.

Should You Declaw a Cat?

If you’ve ever thought about how to stop your cat from scratching your furniture, you might’ve considered declawing them. While this may seem like an easy solution to the problem, it’s strongly advised that you don’t do this. If you declaw your cat, you’re essentially removing a portion of bone in addition to the toenail from which it grows. This procedure is incredibly painful for them and can pose post-surgery risks and complications. In fact, declawing your cat can lead to other physical and behavioral issues:

  • Ongoing physical pain
  • Infection
  • Difficulty walking
  • Nerve damage
  • Bone spurs
  • Refusal to use the litter box
  • Anxiety
  • Aggressive behavior (e.g. biting)

How to Stop Cats From Scratching Furniture

Keeping your favorite couch or table scratch free doesn’t have to be difficult. Here are 5 helpful tips on how to stop your cat from scratching your furniture:

1. Make the furniture less appealing for scratching

There are several ways to make a cat proof couch and protect other furniture from scratch marks:

  • Use a self-adhesive scratch protector like the Stelucca Amazing Shields Cat Scratch Deterrent for a cat resistant couch.
  • Tightly tuck a sheet around the scratched area of your couch to deter your cat from scratching at it.
  • Spray your couch or other furniture with a citrus-scented solution (cats are known for disliking the smell of citrus!).
  • Apply double-sided tape to the scratched area (cats hate the feeling of stickiness on their paws). Or, you can simply cover the area with aluminum foil to prevent cat scratches.

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2. Get some scratching posts or toys

A common way to stop cats from scratching furniture is to invest in scratching posts or interactive toys. When choosing a scratching post, make sure to go for one that’s tall, strong, and stable that will last over time. You should also choose a material that’s cat friendly, such as tree bark, sisal rope, corrugated cardboard, wool, and other fabric types.

3. Strategically place scratching posts

It’s a good idea to place scratching posts and other toys in areas where your cat spends the majority of their time in. These can be near their bed, next to windows, or even next to the furniture you’re trying to protect. Wherever you decide to place a scratching post, the key is to choose a spot where they are likely to mark their territory.

4. Encourage your cat to use scratching posts

Next on our list of tips on how to stop cats from scratching furniture is to encourage their use of scratching posts. Even if you’ve bought a quality scratching post and placed it in an ideal area of your home, it’s no good if your cat still insists on using your couch. To encourage your feline friend more, you can: 

  • Reward them with treats each time they use a scratching post
  • Sprinkle some catnip or spray honeysuckle on the post
  • Play with wand toys near the scratching post and then place them on the post to build your cat’s interest

5. Maintain your cat’s claws

If you still find your cat scratching the couch or other furniture, you may also consider having their nails trimmed. Clipping your cat’s claws every 2-3 weeks can prevent ingrown nails and reduce the risk of infections and pain. Just make sure to use quality nail clippers that have curved edges so they’re more comfortable for your cat’s claws!

Cat scratching a sofa

How to Keep Cats From Scratching Furniture

Keeping your home neat and scratch free with a feline pet can be difficult, but with these helpful tips on how to stop cats from scratching furniture, it’s not impossible. Check out our other Angry Orange products for more useful pet-keeping essentials!

Contributing Writer: Rebecca Lee