How to stop your cat from scratching your furniture

Although it’s a natural behavioural instinct for a cat, scratching furniture is not appropriate. Scratching can become destructive and cost a lot in furniture repairs or replacements. Thankfully it is easily managed without the need for an around-the-clock cat sitter.

Your household cat knows nothing other than what comes naturally and that bringing mice to the front door gets plenty of attention. When they feel the urge, they will scratch.

It’s important to have a proper understanding of their behaviour to get along with your cat.

Why do cats scratch?

Cats scratch for various behavioural reasons, but here are some of the most common.

1. Marking their territory

Cats are territorial animals, and they scratch to indicate to others that the residence is indeed cat-occupied. Cats are known to scratch surroundings like gardens and exteriors of new homes. Your cat will amp up their scratching tactics when a new family member is introduced, whatever the cat breed.

2. Claw relief

Just like humans need nail pampering, cats also get the urge to file their nails. When their nails are getting too long, they will scratch a surface to tidy them up. The bonus is at least most of the time they take care of their own nail care.

3. Stress relief

When we feel a little stressed we often soak in bubbles, go for a run, or get a good massage. When a cat feels on edge, they poke out their nails and get themselves some scratch therapy. Cats will scratch when they are tense, perhaps after a run-in with a dog or a neighbourhood cat. Scratching helps them get their frustrations out and wind down. It also helps them to exercise and feel good.

How to stop a cat from scratching furniture

Now that we get why cats scratch, the following steps will get your cat focused on scratching where they should be.

1. Get a scratching post.

Scratching posts are available at most pet shops. Most major retailers that stock up on pet care supplies will also sell scratching posts.

Scratching posts come in a range of sizes and textures, the most popular being carpet and rope. The scratching post you select needs to be tall enough to allow your cat to stretch and sturdy enough to take your cat’s weight.

cat scratching post

Place the scratching post near the area that your cat has targeted already. If your furniture or goods have not fallen victim to scratching yet, put it in a convenient area for your cat. Near the front door or their favourite sleeping spot are usually effective places.

Remember that cats are territorial. You should have at least one scratching post for every cat you own.

2. Provide exercise and playtime.

Exercise your cat by offering plenty of playtime with them. This will help to ease any tension they are feeling instead of targeting your furniture.

3. Redirect your cat’s behaviour. 

If you catch your cat doing some sneaky scratching where they shouldn’t be, encourage them to move. Use a toy or call them away from what they are working their claw magic on. Yelling at or smacking your cat will only give them a reason to run away and avoid you.

If you need to redirect scratching behaviour from furniture, cover the item with a blanket or sheet until the kitty’s focus moves away from that item. 

well-behaved kitten on its owner's lap

Just like we love some good stress therapy from time to time, cats love a good scratch. Do away with unnecessary furniture repairs by offering the appropriate tools and encouragement they need.

Need a pet lover for some cat sitting any time soon? Find the perfect sitter for your cat on Airtasker.

Top related questions