Your cat scratching furniture is something that you definitely cannot permit.
But cats will scratch, how do you persuade them to claw in the right place?
When we see a cat clawing at something, a tree, a scratching post (good kitty,) or an item of furniture (oh no!) most of us immediately think the cat is sharpening it’s claws.
Well yes, the clawing and scratching helps remove the old sheaths from the claws to reveal nice sharp new ones.
But sharp claws, essential for the cat’s defense are not the only reason that cats scratch.
A cat’s paws have scent glands, so the act of gouging out a furrow in a tree for example, leaves the odor as a territorial or warning marker to other cats.
The scratch marks also serve as a visual sign.
Ever notice that cats usually stretch upwards when they scratch?
That stretching and pulling with the claws is good exercise. It helps to keep them in condition and they may also enjoy it.
Many cats like to stretch when they wake from a long slumber or a quick nap, but for some the wakening stretch is not enough, they like to scratch as well.
A cat may also claw in front of other cats as a sign of dominance, or to indicate that the cat is at ease in that territory.
Another possible reason for a cat scratching furniture is simply to get attention.
Yes, the attention that she gets may be a scolding, but in her mind that may be better than no attention at all.
There you are, your cat’s favorite human, and you are super busy preparing a meal or getting yourself ready to dash off to an appointment.
No time for kitty, and kitty loves attention, when she wants it of course, not necessarily when you want to give it to her.
She has tried everything, the body language, the woeful meow, the rubbing against your legs. No good, you are so wrapped in what you are doing that you don’t notice her.
There is only one thing left to try – scratch at something.
That worked! It got her a yell that sent her running from the room, but you noticed her, she got your attention.
Shame that she scratched up your bookcase to get it!
Cats don’t like to be bored. Who does?
A jaded cat could ruin your decor out of sheer frustration.
Cats may have the reputation of being solitary and aloof creatures, but the reality can be quite different. Cats do like to be taken notice of, to be talked to, to be petted, and perhaps most of all, to be played with.
Try to set aside a little time out of your busy day to devote to your cat. A little playtime each day could mean a happy, nondestructive cat.
Make sure that she has a few toys around that she can amuse herself with in the times that you can’t give her your attention.
A cat that is allowed outside the home has a variety of places to scratch.
Trees of course are a favorite; many cats find the texture of bark a particularly satisfying surface. Then there are fences and fence posts, your garden shed and garden bench.
Whilst you may not want your cherished cherry tree denuded of bark, or gouge marks in your shed, you likely prefer this to your cat scratching furniture in your home.
The outdoors not only gives your feline more choice of surfaces and places to scrape his or her claws, but it’s where the other cats are at. Your cat will want to scratch to mark their territory, to leave a message for those other cats.
Sometimes the weather is not to her liking, so she stays in the house. But just because she is at home does not mean she will not feel like a stretch and scratch.
She may want to mark indoors too, after all, the inside of your home is still her territory. She may want to advertise that fact even though those other cats can’t get in.
You may stop your cat scratching your furniture but you are not likely to alter the fact that your cat is programed to scratch.
Its part of what makes a cat a cat, like sleeping a lot or looking cute.
Some of the reasons cats claw and scrape are discussed above, it is natural behavior for your cat. You can’t stop kitty from scratching, but the good news is that, with patience, you can help her to control where she does it.
So where do you want your cat to scratch when she is in the house? On her scratching post of course.
You do have one, but your cat will not use it? Or she will use the post sometimes but seems to prefer scratching your furniture?
Bring a post home and place it in front of some cats and they will know what it is for and immediately start scratching away at it. Other cats, perhaps most, will need some training and encouragement.
It could be that the reason your feline friend does not use her post is simply because it is the wrong type for her. Or is the post in the wrong place? If it is she is not likely to use it.
You can find more information on how to select the right scratching post for your cat and training her to use it here - The Right Place For Kitty To Scratch.