It is in a cat’s nature to scratch – it is a natural behaviour that all cats have, even big cats like lions and tigers. They scratch at things for many reasons including; loosening and removing the outer part of their claws and exercising their muscles in the front legs and spine.
While most domesticated cats will have access to the outdoors and scratch things like trees and fence posts, they may also enjoy scratching indoor household items such as furniture and carpets. Some cats even start showing this behaviour just to get their owner’s attention. If your cat has started scratching at objects in the home, here’s some tips on how you can encourage them to stop.
How can I stop my cat from scratching my furniture?
The first step to stopping your cat from scratching and damaging your furniture and carpets is providing them with alternative surfaces that they’re allowed to scratch as much as they want. A general rule is that cats like to scratch on rigid surfaces that resist the pull of their claws, and they like their bodies to be stretched as high or as long as possible to get the full benefit from the exercise.
The best way to encourage your cat to stop damaging your furniture is to buy them an alternative scratching surface such as a cat scratching board or post. You can buy these in any pet shop and they are relatively cheap. They are usually made from wood or heavy-duty cardboard, coated in wooden bark or strong string which provides a great surface for your cat’s claws to get into.
You can also buy multi-level pieces of cat furniture which allow your cat to climb, scratch, perch and even sleep on raised beds that form part of the structure.
Once a cat scratches on a surface, the pheromone scent and the marks they leave will encourage more scratching in the same spot so it’s best to try and provide suitable scratching surfaces as soon as possible.
How to choose the right scratching post for your cat
Before you start the process of finding the perfect scratching post or board for your cat, ask yourself the following questions about your cat’s current scratching behaviour:
- Is there a pattern to when they are scratching? For example, when they wake up?
- Is there a certain area of the room where your cat likes scratching?
- What height is the object that your cat is scratching?
- What is the texture of the surface like?
Using these answers will help you consider a suitable scratching post that your cat is more likely to enjoy using – leaving your furniture and carpets damage free!