Why do cats insist on laying siege to our furniture and what can we do to stop them?
If there’s one thing our feline friends love, it’s to scratch away at whatever they can get their claws into. Whether it’s the carpet or the plush new sofa you’ve finally saved up for, cats have their own things in mind for our prize possessions. While frustrating, this doesn’t mean you have a naughty pet on your hands. In fact, the need to scratch is a perfectly natural part of a healthy cat’s development. Instead of trying to discourage it, our aim should be to provide alternative surfaces for our furry housemates to scratch to their heart’s content.
Why Do They Scratch?
There are a few reasons why cats just can’t help themselves from giving our furniture a messy makeover. They will often do this to get rid of the dead, outer layer of their claws, making way for the sharp and shiny new ones beneath. Think of it as a form of pedigree pedicure.
Scratching can also provide a great workout session for cats, exercising the muscles in their back and front legs. They will often opt for a strong, rigid surface which doesn’t slip around to do their scratching, hence why our sofas and armchairs seem so appealing.
It can also be a way for your pet to mark their territory. It’s well known that cats use scent as a means of leaving their mark, and with scent glands in their paws, they’re able to provide both a scent and a visual mark by scratching furniture.
In some cases, cats will scratch as an expression of anxiety or getting their owner’s attention. They may be hungry or unsettled by recent uncommon activity in the household or the presence of another cat. Here are some things to watch out for if you think your cat may be anxious.
What Can We Do?
So, we know that scratching has many physical and mental benefits for our cats. Instead of stopping them, we should find a suitable surface for them to use which doesn’t destroy the front room. Cat scratchers are a fantastic alternative, specifically designed to satisfy their needs and contribute to a healthy and happy development.
There are many different types of cat scratchers out there, so it’s all about finding the right one for your pet. After all, no two cats are the same. A good way of choosing is by observing your cat’s scratching habits. What kind of surface do they usually sink their claws into? What texture is it? Shape? Whereabouts in the house is it? Answering questions such as these will help decide the most suitable and enticing scratching option for your kitty.
Most cats prefer a tough, rigid surface so they can work their muscles and get a good stretch in while they’re at it — scratching poles or mats are ideal for this. If they tend to work away at a vertical surface such as the arm of a sofa, they may favour a wall-mounted scratcher.
If they’re particularly adventurous and love to explore while exercising, climbing trees can be a fantastic way of providing the support and enjoyment these little thrill seekers crave. Always make sure the frame is correctly assembled and doesn’t wobble. This could cause your cat distress and discourage them from using it.
If you have multiple cats, it’s wise to have a scratching post for each of them. That way you avoid anyone getting their whiskers in a twist, with each cat having the support they need.
Getting Them to Use Their Cat Scratcher
Once you’ve decided which is the right scratcher for your cat, there are ways you can encourage them to start using it.
Make sure the cat scratcher is in a good, clear location for your cat. Often they’ll feel the urge to scratch in or near important areas to them, such as entrances or where they like to curl up after a long day. Adding a toy or treat near the scratcher can also be a good way of enticing your cat to begin using it.
Meanwhile, making a few simple alterations to the damaged piece of furniture can help deter your cat and encourage them towards the cat scratcher. Cleaning the upholstery will remove their pheromone scent from the item, thus making it less inviting. You can also try applying double-sided tape to the scratched area, making the surface far less appealing to their paws.
Remember it’s also important to praise or reward them once they start using the post. With the right cat scratcher and a little encouragement, your sofas should be safe in no time. Good luck!
There’s something unique about the bonds we have with our cats! Show them you care with some stylish cat furniture. And if you’re feeling social, share pictures of your gorgeous cats on our Instagram and Facebook accounts. We can’t get enough of your cat photos!