How to Stop Your Cats From Scratching Furniture
Scratching is a natural routine for cats. They scratch when stretching, to slough off old claws, for emotional release, for play, and for a variety of other healthy reasons. Unfortunately, this scratching is at odds with most pet owners’ desire to protect their furniture, so Ragdoll cat owners have come up with a variety of creative ways to channel their cats’ scratching energy away from their furniture and towards other outlets like scratching posts.
While there are a variety of ways to prevent cats from tearing up your furniture, one tactic to avoid is declawing. Declawing is extremely painful for cats and can leave them with serious physical and emotional cat health issues for life. Here are some other strategies to try with your cat instead of having them declawed.
Finding a good scratching post and training your cat to use it is the key to preventing them from ruining your furniture. Remember that there are a variety of scratching post options out there. Here are a few different characteristics of scratching posts to vary and experiment with:
- Horizontal, vertical, or slanted posts – try the TopCat Scratching Post and see others in our cat product shop
- Cardboard, carpeting, sisal, wood, or upholstery posts – You can see the scratchers we love and have reviewed in our shop.
- Vertical or horizontal grain posts
- Real logs with bark
Play around with different types of materials until you find what your cat likes. Remember that most cats like tall posts so that they can stretch out fully, and they need something sturdy that won’t fall over when they jump on it. It might be tempting to throw away an old, unsightly scratching post, but remember that cats like things that are worn in, so this could drive them back to scratching furniture. You will also want to put your scratchers in a variety of locations, particularly near entryways like doors and hallways.
You can use a few different techniques to train your cat to use a scratcher. For example, you can put them in a room with just scratchers, then go in and reward them with a treat when you hear scratching. You can also demonstrate to a cat using your own nails how to scratch the post, then gently hold their paws to mimic that motion. Be careful not to force it if your cat doesn’t want you to guide their paws, as this could turn them off from the scratching post altogether.
Another step you can take is protecting your furniture. You can get furniture covers from places like Bed, Bath & Beyond, or you can make your own furniture protection by gluing roping to a cheap end table, or covering furniture in clear vinyl or upholstery corkscrew pins. This might not be the most attractive solution, but it could be a good temporary way to preserve your furniture while you are training your kitty to use a scratching post.
You can also keep your kitty’s claws from doing harm by regularly trimming them, which will dull their them and temporarily lessen the cat’s desire to scratch. Another thing you can do is put claw caps on their claws, such as SoftPaws. You can have these put on somewhere like your vet’s office so that you don’t accidentally damage your cat’s claws.
How to Keep Cats From Scratching Furniture Home Remedies
If you catch your cat in the act of scratching or want to preemptively make the furniture unattractive to them, here are a few techniques to try:
- Rubbing Vicks Vapor Rub on the furniture legs
- Putting orange peels around the furniture
- Spraying with a water spray bottle
- Using noisemakers like a can of pennies to startle them
You can also try to do this with a firm “no” to begin to train your cat to respond to verbal commands.
Make sure you reward and entice your kitty to use scratching posts. Give them treats for good behavior, or put catnip on a scratching post to appeal to them. It is also helpful to play with your cat regularly, which will help them release stored energy with you instead of on your furniture.
Spay/Neuter Your Cat
Spaying or neutering can also be a way to decrease scratching habits, since scratching can be a sign of territory; cats have scent glands on their paws that they use to mark areas.
Jackson Galaxy also has a lot of instructional videos and tips for training your cat not to scratch furniture.
Scratching furniture is a natural, healthy practice for Ragdoll kitties, and one that you want to redirect rather then discourage entirely. Put some time into finding the right scratching post for your cat, then training them to use it regularly.
What tips do you have for stopping your cat from scratching furniture?
Great info! All 3 of mine prefer cardboard to scratching on the furniture. So funny because Mariposa, our Maine Coon, uses the scratcher just as much as the 2 Ragdolls. No one told her that she has no claws! Poor girl..
Teresa, what kind of rag doll are you holding in your picture. Looks like the next one we would like to get. We have a seal matted now. Thanks.
Thanks for the inquiry on Miss Illaria Rose Peabody. She is a 4 year old seal mitted lynx Ragdoll.
Hope you post a Ragdoll of the week when you get your new baby!
poor girl – but love that instinct!
Me.too Jenny. They must not have removed her knuckles.as they say some have because her “grip” is really strong and she uses it to pull things out of tight places and also tries to open cabinets.
Pawesome post, Jenny! So many awesome and helpful tips (of which many we have used in the past to deter our past kitties from scratching on our furniture and encouraging them to use the various scratching posts provided). We have been very fortunate with Miss PSB. She uses her vertical scratching post tower thingy and her vertical scratching devices (we FINALLY got an infinity scratcher lounge from Karma Pets via Amazon recently and she really enjoys scratching on that now, too) without fail. 🙂 <3
Big hugs & lots of love!
Patti & Miss Pink Sugarelle 🙂 <3
love it – glad she loves her Karma scratch lounge.
In true Miss PSB Diva Style she was mighty suspicious of the new infinity lounger at first and gave it a wide berth for a few hours until I put some catnip on it. But, even then, she still has yet to figure out that she can recline/lounge on it. She’s only been on it on all fours for a few seconds at a time and then immediately jumps off. She scratches on it with her hind end planted firmly on the “safety” of our carpeted floor and then proceeds to scratch on the curvy ends of it with her front paws. I’m so curious to see how long it will take her to feel comfortable enough to jump up there and scratch like crazy with all four feet touching the lounger AND to actually recline on it and lounge/sleep. Hilarious!
SIDENOTE: Here’s an idea of how very cautiously quirky she is…we’ve had the Petstages Cheese Chaser toy ever since she was a kitten. It has sat in our living room virtually ignored for the past 3.5 years unless my hubby or I try to initiate play with her by spinning the ball around manually. She is JUST NOW beginning to play with it by attacking it and jumping all over it and batting the ball around like a maniac in the past month! She started doing that last week and now does it for about 20 minutes each day. lol 🙂 <3
Big hugs & lots of love!
Patti & Miss Pink Sugarbelle 🙂 <3
The moment Diva came out of the crate when the breeder brought her to me, I introduced her to a good scratching post, and I introduced her to the cardboard ones too. With a good choice of permissible ones, I have never had a problem in the almost 8 years I have had her.
I have had to resisal the original post 3 times, and it is still he fav post.
well done, diva!