As much as we love our cats, the accompanying occasional damage to our homes - whether it is our furniture or carpets - can often cause tempers to fray. Luckily, there are a number of ways you can alter their habits and behaviour without becoming an emotional wreck. In this blog we’re going to examine the most popular methods employed by behavioural experts in an effort to learn how to stop cats from scratching.
Why do cats like to scratch?
For owners who have never had a cat before, it’s easy to conclude that cats enjoy scratching your possessions for the sake of it. However, research has determined that it is, in fact, a very healthy behaviour for felines in general. Unfortunately, if the cat has no access to more resilient toys and scratching posts, your furniture or carpet are a great alternative.
The scratching behaviour itself allows a cat to shed the outermost layer of their claws while also helping them to stretch and flex their muscles – an enjoyable feeling most of us can relate to.
A cat’s paws also contain the interdigital glands which secrete a substance whenever it claws an object, leaving their scent as a marker - this allows other cats to become aware of their presence. The clawing also leaves behind a visual marker that is often noticed by other cats – but when these markers end up destroying your sofa, it becomes a priority to find out how to stop cats from scratching furniture.
How to stop cats from scratching
1) Locate and treat where your cat likes to scratch
Cats tend to return to the same areas and objects that they have scratched before. By locating these areas, you can then go about making these spaces as unappealing as possible for them. By using herbal sprays, or similar treatments, you can cover up any scent markers in that area, and the majority of cats will begin to look elsewhere for objects to scratch.
2) Buy scratching posts/pads
Of course, once you’ve deterred your cat from scratching your furniture or carpets, you need to give them something to scratch that is built to take damage, and luckily, there are a huge number of toys and accessories available on the market to gain your buddy’s attention. Buying a vertical scratching post with sisal rope is a great way to learn how to stop cats from scratching furniture, while horizontal scratching pads are excellent to help you discover how to stop cats from scratching carpets.
3) Trim their claws
As mentioned previously, cats enjoy scratching as it allows them to shed the outer layers of their claws. By regularly trimming their claws, you can help the process a little, and so the urgency to scratch is greatly reduced.
4) Provide a place for them to exercise
Cats also tend to be more destructive when they have a lot of unspent energy. Buying toys that require a lot of attention and physical activity are excellent for helping your cats to relax and get in the mood for a snooze – a tired cat is a happy cat!
5) Help them to feel more secure
As cats can be quite territorial, a feline with a nervous disposition is much more likely to exhibit destructive behaviour in an effort to claim the house as its own. Insecure cats often benefit emotionally when they know that their living area is safeguarded by their owner. Keeping the cat flap and certain curtains closed allows them to relax without having to worry about another cat intruding into their private zone, and negates the urge to provide multiple territorial markers.