It’s something all cat owners fear and stress over: ruined furniture. Cats have this way of making us feel like they did nothing wrong, even though we just cleaned up their hairball, vacuumed their hair and dusted for prints after finding a small dead animal carcass neatly displayed in the doorway to our bedroom. What’s worse is that any sort of cat training requires an amount of patience that most people don’t have — kitty hides when you grab the spray bottle, thinks you’re playing when you chase her, and will only end up in your lap on her own terms. Needless to say, controlling your cat’s behavior is one of the most daunting and frustrating tasks. Luckily, there are cat psychologists who have figured out the ways (dare I say SECRET ways) to stop your cat from doing certain things like destroying your furniture.
1. Get a Sisal Textile Scratching Post or Tree
Sisal is the perfect material for cat scratching. Cats have a desire to shred, but something perfectly smooth doesn’t look easily shredable, and something too messy will look shredded by someone else. Therefore, you want something that carries a textured pattern. Ever wonder why cats claw your rug? This is why. It looks clean and perfect but not smooth. This becomes a prime target for their claws to mark their territory. They tend to mark territory in places where the family and household members congregate the most (bedroom doorways, beddings on the side of the bed, couches and loveseats). So, get a sisal scratching post and place it in the same area as one of these. Also, the best scratching post will also have some sort of mount at the top which she can climb up to and sleep or sit in.
2. Clip Your Cat’s Nails and Reward Afterwards
Clipping your cat’s nails can greatly reduce the amount of scratching going on and is much more humane than declawing. Cats need their claws to feel like a cat and be happy. A declawed cat can have many psychological problems as well as not being able to defend itself in tough situations (and don’t think that housecats don’t need claws. There are many reasons a cat could use its claws, such as there being a fire or there being a mouse or other pest in the house; they use their claws to climb, defend and attack and it’s only natural for them to have their claws).
It may seem strange to reward a cat for having its nails clipped, but it really works in helping to get them to accept it as a fact of life. You don’t want to struggle with her every time you do it! Clipping them when they are young will greatly increase their acceptance while also greatly reducing their need to scratch. Furthermore, by giving her a reward like a treat of some kind will make the experience more pleasurable and memorable.
House cats particularly have the problem of boredom. After all, they don’t do much aside from sleeping and eating. Playing with them, chasing them, letting them chase your string and holding them gives them a lot to think about and wears them out. This will really cut down on the clawing since they will only want to sleep!
4. Furniture Cat Repellent Spray
Did you know that there are actually anti-cat sprays on the market? You can spray your furniture, or any other area that you don’t want your cat to scratch, and it keeps them away.
5. Get a Window Perch
Cats LOVE watching the world outside, especially if they are a house cat who’s never explored the outdoors. Get them a cat tree so they can perch next to the window and watch all the amazing things that are happening outside. An even more clever trick is to put a bird feeder next to the window. Just, whatever you do, make sure you keep that window closed!
6. Use natural deterrents
Everyone has heard of spraying cats with water. This works so well and if you haven’t actually tried it, I would suggest trying it before anything else. Cats hate the idea of being sprayed with water so much that they will most certainly remember the episode and in most cases won’t take too many sprays before giving up on whatever it is you are spraying them for.
Another natural deterrent is orange peels. Cats do not like citrus smells. If you place your orange peels next to the furniture your kitty is scratching, they will avoid it. After a few days of this, they will usually be trained. Combining this with the water spray works very very well!