How to Teach Your Cat Not to Scratch the Furniture » Vetsavers Pet Hospital

How to Teach Your Cat Not to Scratch the Furniture

cat scratching

How to Teach Your Cat Not to Scratch the Furniture

Cats can be great pets—they are cuddly but don’t need constant attention and daily walks. Almost every cat owner, however, has dealt with the annoyance of a cat who destroys furniture or other items in their house in a fit of scratching rage. While kitties cannot be made to stop scratching, as it comes naturally to them, they can be directed into scratching the appropriate places.

The trick is to train your cat to scratch what you want

  1. Make sure you are well stocked with scratching posts where your little one can scratch to his heart’s content.
  2. If you cat has already selected a favorite site at which to sharpen his claws while plotting his next great bird hunt, cover the area with netting or something with a loose weave. This will snag claws and encourage Mr. Whiskers to scratch elsewhere.[1] Other unappealing surfaces will work too—double sided tape, aluminum foil, sandpaper, or plastic are good ideas. [2] This will only be temporary, as your kitty learns where it is appropriate to scratch.
  3. Make sure that using scratching posts and designated scratching areas is very appealing to your kitty. This can be done by playing with your cat in these areas, praising and rewarding him for doing so, and stashing treats on scratching posts.
  4. Approved scratching areas should be close to kitty’s favorite scratching spots- next to his favorite napping spot, for example.
  5. Never punish a cat by hitting or yelling. They will only become afraid of you. When you do catch your kitty scratching a bad spot, make a loud noise such as clapping or slapping the wall to interrupt him. You can also keep a spray bottle of water on hand for when you catch your kitty in the act of vandalizing your couch. A light, quick spray will not hurt him but will be an unwelcome surprise. Then, redirect him appropriately. Never attempt to discipline if the cat is not caught in the act—they will not make the connection to scratching a bad place.

This process might take weeks or months, but once your furry feline is trained to scratch only approved areas, you can be sure that he will have a healthy outlet for his scratch cravings and your furniture will remain intact.


Perfect Paws: Cat Training & Behavior

Humane Society: Cats: Destructive Scratching