How To Stop A Cat From Scratching Furniture
*gasp!* Noooo! You look over across the room and your oh so precious kitty is shredding one of your favorite pieces of furniture to bits! You nearly want to cry! Or scream. Or do bad things to your cat. (Please don’t!) I know, I know! It is one of the most dreaded parts of cat parenting. Unfortunately there isn’t a one-size fits all miracle solution for how to stop a cat from scratching furniture. Luckily though, there are some effective options you can try.
Our Best Tips & Tricks for How To Stop A Cat From Scratching Furniture
Why Do Cats Scratch?
Understanding why cats scratch will help shed some light on this troublesome feline behavior. To us humans, sometimes it can appear as if they just love being destructive! Thankfully, revenge is rarely the case for which they choose to go scratching your favorite chair.
Here are some of the most common reasons cats scratch:
- Good Ol’ Stretching! Your four legged kiddo loves to stretch their body as much as you do! Know that feeling when you first wake up in the morning and extend your arms & legs, yawning and reaching for the stars? Feels nice, doesn’t it? 🙂 Your cat is doing much the same when they insert their claws into your furniture and grip so they can flex their backs and legs. It is a form of exercise for them.
- Marking their territory. As you may know, cats have scent glands in their faces and other areas of their body. When they rub these glands against you (or an object), they are marking their territory and letting other kitties know they are there! “You and this space belongs to me!” Their paws are an area where they have these glands. When scratching the furniture, they naturally leave a marker saying I was here. This makes your kitty feel more at home & safer in their space.
- Shedding Nails. Cats have an outer layer (or sheath) on their nails. This outer layer grows out and sheds. It is completely normal and necessary for this process to happen once every few months on average. As the old sheds off, a nice new and very sharp version replaces it. Scratching for a cat helps them to maintain nail health and length.
- Frustration. Some kitties tend to show more of these scratching behaviors when they are excited, irritated, frustrated or in some way upset. If your cat has been bird or critter watching from the window, sees other cats outside or wants to do something forbidden – they may find a sudden urge to go clawing somewhere!
Our Top Methods and Products To Discourage Furniture Scratching
I can honestly say that furniture scratching is easily one of the most common “behavioral issues” I’ve faced as a cat parent. Trust me, I know it can be absolutely maddening.
Learning how to stop a cat from scratching furniture can be a trial and error process, depending on why your cat is scratching, to begin with!
Our cat Dizzy has a pretty severe case of stubbornness when it comes to scratching the corner of our lounger sofa and our recliner chair. She’s also pretty fond of my office chair!
Simply redirecting her attention and saying, “no Dizz!” clearly wasn’t the solution. So if that’s you right now with your cat, read on!
Beyond a shadow of a doubt, one of the most effective solutions to this problem is strategically placed cat scratching posts and other cat enrichment items.
Even if you already have a scratching post in your home and it’s not working, keep reading. The key to success with this is varied heights, directions, materials, and options.
Vertical Cat Scratchers
First, think about this: What direction does your cat reach when they scratch your furniture? It’s pretty much always vertical (upward reach for them).
**Another important note? If your cat isn’t responding well to a certain material, give them another option. Some cats prefer cardboard to anything else. At a minimum, they like to have at least one cardboard option in the home. (Our Dizzy goes crazy over cardboard!)
For that solution, I recommend this:
PetFusion 3-Sided Vertical Cardboard Cat Scratcher
There is so much you will love about this one, but most of all, the cats go crazy over it!
Made of recycled cardboard, you are loving your cat and the environment. I also love that you can rotate it around for even wear since the cardboard circles the entire design! You get more value for your money.
Something else that’s really neat about this one? Not only does this give your kitty the option to stretch and scratch but they can also scratch horizontally on the inner part. There are so many ways for your cat to exercise, claw and do what cats need to do with this scratcher.
I guess that’s why it is so popular with the kitties! It works!
If cardboard isn’t your kitty’s favorite material, then your best bet is a rope-like material. Woven sisal fiber is great because it is extremely durable and gives your cat a fantastic workout!
Pioneer Pet Vertical Scratcher
This vertical cat scratch post is the ultimate solution. I can pretty much guarantee your cat will love it and thank you for it. The height (32″) gives them the ability to get a great stretch in, they are able to really reach up and the fibrous material gives their claws what is needed for optimal health.
Cats won’t use anything that doesn’t feel safe to them. If you have a post or pad that wobbles and moves as they go to it, chances are they won’t return. This post has a nice, solid base (16×16″ wide) that will keep it stable for kitty.
Placing this post near their favorite furniture scratching spot and redirecting them to it will help your cat understand that this is for them but NOT your sofa! In time, you should be able to gradually move the post to your desired location if you’d like.
Cat Scratch Lounges
Do you live in an apartment or have little space for extra items? Cat scratch lounges may be a great solution for you. Cats love these things! Their scent gets all over the lounger and makes them feel truly secure in their home space. I love that and you will too.
A clear winner for me (most importantly, the cats!) is one made by PetFusion. They are just so great at designing cat products that not only work well for us but our cats really adore.
PetFusion Ultimate Cat Scratcher Lounge
This incredible space saving design gives your cat the perfect place to sleep, scratch and play! What could be better than that?
Cats absolutely adore this thing. We all know how much they love to lounge about and this lounger seems to be a perfect fit for ’em.
The recycled cardboard material is always a hit with our Dizzy. She can not resist! When you are desperately trying to get your feline to keep their paws where they belong, try this: they’ll love it!
Cat Scratch Trees
Are you a multi-cat home with several badly behaving kitties? 🙂 If so, or if you have one cat but need another space-saving design, the classic cat scratch tree will be your best friend.
There are so many cat tree options out there, and to be honest, so many of them are pure junk! Oh my goodness, I have been absolutely blown away by how much money some of the big box stores charge for cat trees! Most of them won’t even last! Even the material they are made of is harsh and falls apart easily.
If you have been thinking about purchasing a cat tree for your home and are looking for a quality option you and the cats will enjoy for a good long while, I might have one you’ll love.
Lazy Buddy 72″ Multi-Level Cat Tree
To spend money on a cat tree, it needs to be made of quality. Not to mention, your cat needs to be safe! Though a chubby kitty is cute, they can also be at risk if they get wild on items that can’t hold them!
This Lazy Buddy cat tree doesn’t wobble, budge, tilt or fall apart. It is a quality build that will hold even your most food-challenged kiddos. 🙂
I am recommending this one because it is durable. It is good value for the money. Cats absolutely LOVE it and you don’t have to worry about their safety. Your cat will be able to scratch, lounge, play and have a grand ol’ time bouncing, climbing and jumping all over the place.
Offering your cat this alternative to your furniture will make them one happy camper. Most of all, it gives you a chance to change their cat scratching behavior!
Calming By Cat Pheromones
Did you know that one of the primary reasons cats scratch furniture is to leave their mark on your shared space?
Pheromones are natural chemicals we as humans, cats and mammals naturally secrete that have actual psychological affects on us without even realizing it.
For cats, their facial pheromones communicate safety, claimed territory, and security. When they rub their face on you or your sofa, they leave their pheromones behind. It instantly soothes and calms them.
It is true that this method does not work for everyone. For our Dizzy, it worked! We sprayed the furniture with Feliway spray and she no longer scratched anywhere near that area. She instantly felt secure in this home.
Pro Tip: (This is a miracle worker for spraying cat carriers 1 hour before you need to take a car ride to the Vet or other locations)
If you have an anxious kitty who is scratching to mark more than anything, you may have great success with this product. It is available in a spray and a diffuser that you plug in to the wall.
If you need calming “on the go” for travel, the spray is perfect. The wall plug-in works best for multiple cat homes or when a consistent, longer-term calm is needed.
Furniture Guards & Training Tape
Last but certainly not least are two options that will save your furniture and your sanity!
Some very smart soul out there came up with a pretty ingenious solution!
In Hand Furniture Scratch Guards
These clear vinyl pieces lay over your furniture and save the corners and edges from being ripped to shreds. It does require inserting small screw pins into your sofa or chair so if that isn’t something you are willing to do, these are not the right solution for you.
This affordable option however will save you from the agony of seeing your favorite furniture torn up. Pretty smart thinking!
Believe me when I say that not all cat training tape is created equal! This high quality double-sided sticky tape trains cats that some surfaces are out of bounds for them!
Jxselect has made a tape that is 100% safe for your cats, your furniture and you!
This tape is clear and will blend with any fabric or colors. Cats don’t like that sticky feeling on their paws and soon realize where you have tape isn’t a place they want to be!
If you love your cat but really don’t love the damage to your home, try this! Unlike the vinyl guards needing to be screwed into your furniture, this option is non-invasive and does work.
Cats Need To Scratch!
Just remember, cats really do need to scratch. It’s a part of their needed exercise and nail health.
Believe you me, I understand when you say that you don’t mind them scratching but just not your beloved couch! My hope is that as you’ve read this article, you have now found the perfect solution for you and your home.
Something else to keep in mind is that routine trimming of your cat’s nails helps a whole lot. There are some great cat nail trimmers available out there today which make the whole process much less painful for you and your cat!
Do you have a cat that tears up your furniture? Do you have any tips you’d like to share? Let me hear from you!
All My Love & Healing Purrs,
Very useful article. And I liked how you showed scratching boards in a lot of different shapes depending on which way your cat likes to scratch. Good idea. And that spray to calm them sounds really good too.
Thank you so much. I’m grateful you found it useful. Each of our kitties are so unique in their preferences that I felt it was best to offer several options for the varied personalities (and explain why). 🙂
Feliway spray is absolutely amazing. My post about how to calm cat anxiety features my favorite product for this use because we use it on our beloved Dizzy and it works!
Excellent suggestions. Thank you.
Thank you so much! I am grateful it helped you! Let me know if I can answer any questions for you.
Thank you kindly for coming by and commenting as well!
Wow that was a very informative post !
Thank you so much. 🙂 I tried!
Thanks for these tips. At the end of the day we’d forgive them anything, wouldn’t we?! (But if we can save our furniture, all the better)! You have some beautiful models 😻
You are certainly welcome 🙂 I suspect you are absolutely correct….we will forgive them just about anything. Much like kids who say they don’t know why they did something – our pets are truly perpetual kids. They don’t always rationalize their naughtiness! Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. Always nice to have you here ❤ Praying you & yours are well!