Let’s preface this guide by stating the obvious: cats are awesome and in so many different ways. The combination of their mesmerisingly soft fur and those huge, mysterious eyes, paired with the Instagram-worthy things they do make the common housecat the ideal pet.
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That said, even cats require proper training and guidance, a balance between kindness and strictness, and plenty of attention to stay in the good books.
A common problem people have with their furry friends is that cats tend to scratch, well, everything around the house, especially that all-too-appealing fabric furniture. This can be particularly problematic if you’re moving into a new home, or if you want to bring a young feline into your house or apartment. Whatever the case, you’ll want to use this guide to keep your furniture – and treasured possessions – free of claw marks.
Try out furniture covers
The first and probably most obvious ‘solution’ to this issue is to throw some durable covers on your furniture. You can find slipcovers for every type, size, and shape of furniture at your local home shop, and choose between a variety of materials and colours. The key is to choose a slipcover you can wipe clean easily or that can be washed in a washing machine. Keep in mind that the material must be durable too.
Make no mistake, your cat, if adamant, will scratch through the covers no matter what. This makes slipcovers a more temporary solution, but you could turn it into a long-term one if you combine it with other methods such as training and scent deterrents. That said, slipcovers do impact the aesthetics of the furniture, so you might not want to keep them on at all times.
Use a scent deterrent
The next thing you can try is to spray some scent deterrent on your furniture – and any other area you don’t want to be clawed. You can find scent deterrents at every pet store nowadays, and they usually do the trick but you should understand the potential drawbacks. Firstly, deterrents don’t exactly stop clawing – they deter the cat from approaching that particular spot completely, even if it’s a square. So, if your goal is to stop your cat from clawing at the sofa but you don’t want to deny her the pleasure of relaxing on its soft cushions, then you might not want to use a scent deterrent. If, on the other hand, you don’t want your cat on the furniture at all, then, by all means, spray some right now. You will need to spray again in a few days, though.
Buy furniture with a fabric safeguard
One of the best ways to avoid using deterrents or slipcovers is to choose the furniture pieces that already come with some sort of fabric protection in them. When you’re looking for new sofas for the living room you should always have your cat in mind, and look for the pieces that boast an added layer of durability and protection. Some furniture companies also provide unique formulas that further strengthen and protect the fabric, but without actually deterring the cat from the spot. This means that your cat can sit on the furniture, but will be reluctant to scratch it if you combine durability with proper training and other effective methods.
Trim your cat’s claws
One of those ‘other effective’ methods is to simply trim your cat’s claws regularly. Do not mistake this for declawing, as that is a completely different procedure that is highly inhumane towards the feline. Instead of forceful mutilation that will negatively impact the cat’s quality of life, choose to have her nails trimmed regularly by a vet, or learn to do it yourself. With duller claws, your cat might not feel the need to scratch the furniture but will retain its balance, and quality of life in general. And it’s not just the furniture she won’t feel the need to claw apart, your precious houseplants and other décor elements will be safe as well.
Give your cat something else to scratch
Of course, one of the best ways to train your cat not to scratch the furniture is to provide a worthy substitute. Now, cats are a bit complicated when it comes to this because you might find them scratching the new post for a couple of minutes before returning to their favourite armchair. This is why you need to complement the scratching post with some tantalising incentives.
Encourage the kitty with catnip and rewards
When your cat scratches the furniture, she should be scolded. This is a negative emotion that she will, with enough repetition, associate with the object. This is step one. Step two is to provide positive associations with the new scratching spot. First, spray some catnip on the scratch post. Spray plenty of it on to entice your cat to shift her focus from the furniture. Next, be ready to give plenty of praise. Have her favourite treats at the ready and make sure to reward her every time she (or he, of course) starts scratching the right spot. This will require you to be present a lot at first, but if you’re consistent, you will get her to fall in love with the new scratching post in no time.
And finally, remember that there’s nothing that can replace quality interaction between a human and a cat on a daily basis. If you neglect your feline, you can bet that they’ll scratch your apartment down to the studs. Be sure to stick to these tips, but don’t forget to spend plenty of quality time with your furry friend.