Cats scratch. This is a fact of feline life that all potential cat parents have to know and understand before they bring home these pets. If you’re the kind of person who doesn’t like scratch marks on your furniture or any other item, then a cat may not be the best pet for you. However, if you’re willing to face their scratchy behavior head-on, then there are several ways you can address this behavior. Do keep in mind that you cannot extinguish the scratching behavior in cats. What you can do is to prevent them from scratching your furniture and other items that you don’t want them to scratch. Here are 5 tips to help you.
Trim Your Cat’s Nails
Trimming you cat’s nails will not prevent your cat from scratching your furniture or any other item. However, well-trimmed nails can help prevent damage to these items. They will not have the necessary mechanism to puncture and cut through the materials on your furniture. This is one of the most practical and easiest ways you can protect your furniture from cat-scratch-induced damage.
When trimming the cat’s nails, it is crucial to use the right nail clipper. Don’t use human nail clippers or those for dogs. Cats have smaller nails than their canine counterparts. Using the wrong nail trimmer can injure your cat. It can also leave rough edges on the nail of your cat. These rough edges can still make scratch marks on surfaces. As such, it is always a good idea to file the nails after trimming.
An alternative to trimming the nails of cats is the use of nail caps. These are plastic sleeves that you put on each nail. The smoother surfaces of these nail cups can help prevent damage to your furniture. The main issue with these contraptions is that cats don’t like them. It may take some time for your cat to get used to the feeling of having sleeves on its nails. Also, these require replacement every 3 to 4 weeks. It may not be a practical way to address cat scratching.
Buy a Scratching Post or a Cat Tree
There is a piece of feline furniture that is perfect for such a behavior: the cat scratching post. These are items that come with a rough surface often sisal rope. Other products may use synthetic surfaces on which cats can scrape their nails. When picking a scratching post, make sure that it has a stable base. This will allow your cat to scratch with all its might without toppling the post.
A better, albeit more expensive, alternative is a cat tree. A cat tree comes with several “floors” where your cat can rest and play on. Many of these come with scratching surfaces, too. Since cat trees are wider at the base, they are more stable than ordinary scratching posts. Plus, you get to give your cat its own personal playground. As you may already be aware, some cats scratch because they feel bored. If you can give them a structure that doubles as their play tower, then you minimize their tendency to scratch.
Use Deterrent Sprays and Other Gadgets
There are plenty of cat scratching deterrent sprays in the market. You can spritz these solutions on any item that you don’t want your cat to scratch. There are also homemade recipes in online resources if you want to make your own deterrent spray. These products work by emitting an unpleasant smell on the surface of the furniture. This makes it very unpleasant for your cat to scratch on.
There are also devices that you can mount onto the legs of your furniture. They come with motion sensors that activate the device to elicit an ultrasonic wave. Only your cat can hear this sound. Since it is motion-activated, you avoid negative association. The sad thing about these contraptions is that some cats are quick to learn that the annoying sound is coming from the device. As such, you should mount the device in such a way that your cat will not look at it as the source of the noise or the spritz of water.
Give Your Cat Plenty of Toys
In most cases, scratching is a symptom of cat boredom. If they feel bored, they can try to vent their boredom on ordinary things like your carpet and furniture. They will try to scratch it to no end.
In such cases, giving your cat plenty of toys can give it a more productive outlet for its boredom. It can swipe at the toys. And if you pick the right cat toy, you can also provide them with a miniature scratching platform. The whole point is to replace your cat’s sense of boredom with something more constructive. For more options, check out our detailed review of the best cat interactive toys.
It may also be wise to bring your cat outside the house, but in your backyard. It can play all it wants. It can also scratch at the trunk of the tree. Make sure to supervise your cat whenever it is playing outdoors, however.
Protect Your Furniture and Other Items
Sometimes all you need is a good protective cover for your furniture. There are now different products in the market that you can place over your furniture. These come with materials that are sturdy and scratch-proof. They can help you preserve the integrity of your furniture.
One very helpful solution is to put double-sided adhesive tape or sandpaper on the part of the furniture that your cat scratches most often. The sticky surface of the adhesive tape will make your cat not want to scratch on that surface. The problem with an adhesive tape is that it can lose its stickiness over time. This means you need to replace it.
Putting sandpaper works best since cats don’t like the rough and abrasive nature of sandpaper. You can also put the rough surface of Velcro onto your furniture.
If you think you can eliminate scratching from your cat’s life, then think again. This is a natural behavior that all cats share. The only way you can protect your furniture is by adhering to these 5 simple tips.