Stopping a cat from scratching entirely is unrealistic, as scratching is a natural behavior for cats. They scratch to mark territory, sharpen their claws, and stretch their muscles.
However, if you want to prevent your cat from scratching furniture, people, or other inappropriate places, here are some steps you can take:
Provide Appropriate Scratching Posts and Pads:
Choose a variety of scratchers like vertical posts, horizontal pads, and inclined boards. Make sure they're sturdy. Cats like to stretch and pull when they scratch. Place them near areas where your cat already scratches and where they spend a lot of time.
Some cats prefer certain materials like sisal, cardboard, or carpet.
Use Cat Scratch Deterrents:
There are sprays and tape (like double-sided tape) available that deter cats from scratching specific areas. Place aluminum foil or plastic sheeting on furniture as a temporary measure. Cats often don’t like the texture.
Trim Your Cat's Claws:
Regularly trim your cat’s nails. If you're unsure about how to do it, ask a vet or groomer to show you. Consider soft nail caps like Soft Paws. These caps prevent damage from scratching without affecting the cat's ability to retract its claws.
Feline Pheromone Products:
Use UnRuffled Pets® or other synthetic feline facial pheromone products. They mimic the "friendly markers" cats leave when they rub their face against furniture, which can deter scratching in those areas.
Training and Positive Reinforcement:
When your cat uses the scratching post, reward them with treats, praise, or play.
If you catch your cat in the act of scratching somewhere inappropriate, redirect them to the appropriate scratching post or pad. Avoid shouting or punishing the cat as this might cause fear or aggression.
Protecting Your Furniture:
Use furniture covers or slipcovers which can be removed and washed.
Position furniture in a way that restricts access to favorite scratching spots.
Use furniture protectors (like plastic or sticky tape) which deter scratching.
Cats scratch more when they're bored. Make sure your cat has toys, playtime, and interactive activities.
Consider Multiple Scratching Options:
If you have multiple cats, ensure there are enough scratching posts and pads for everyone. Cats can be territorial about their scratching spots.
Declawing is considered inhumane by many veterinarians and animal welfare organizations. It involves amputating the last bone of each toe and can lead to behavioral and health issues.
Seek Professional Advice:
If your cat's scratching behavior seems excessive or if the above strategies don’t work, consult a vet or a feline behaviorist. There may be underlying issues that need addressing.
By understanding the reasons behind your cat's behavior and providing them with appropriate outlets, you can save your furniture and keep your cat happy. UnRuffled Pets® is working on pheromone deterrents which they hope to be able to offer in the future.