Cat Scratch Fever
Like a lot of cat owners my furniture aesthetic ranges from moderately maimed to completely annihilated. There is just something about a couch that gets a cat’s claws itching for destruction.
Here are some methods I’ve used in my attempts to keep the demolition at bay.
The first step is to trim your cat’s nails. It’s not a fun task, but dull claws mean less damage to your home.
The most important step in correcting this behavior it providing scratching surfaces for your cat. This allows them to scratch that natural itch to use their claws.
So how do you get them to use a scratching post?
Place the scratching post in a prominent location. Though tempting to put the post where we like it best, cats use scent and scratch marks to communicate and they like their messages to be loud and proud.
Use catnip to lure your kitty over to where you’d like them to scratch.
When your cat uses the surface reward them with play and treats!
That all being said my six cats have two scratching posts and a $200 cat tree and still attack my couch at every opportunity. So how do you deter them from your furniture and carpet while you train them to use a scratching post? Here are some methods I’ve tried with mixed success.
Not to be confused with squirting a cat with water, which doesn’t do anything but make your cat upset and your furniture wet. Deterrent Sprays come in many shapes and forms, from using scents cats find unpleasant to sprays specifically designed to train your cat. While having to reapply daily is a downside and the odors can be quite strong, sprays are affordable and can be found at most pet supply stores. (I can try to get an image of the spray mist, but worried about showing labels).
Feliway or other Synthetic Cat Hormones
As a standalone Feliway is not a solution, but I included this one in the list because it has been successful in helping with various behavioral problems amongst my six. Synthetic hormones help to promote a calm environment making anxious cats feel more secure, which leads to less territorial marking in general.
A lot of professional behaviorists recommend this method and there are two kinds of tape suggested. Double-sided tape, which creates an unpleasant sticky surface that cats hate, and a thick tape like SmartyKat Scratch Not Tape. The problem with double-sided tape is that it’s unpleasantly sticky for everyone, not just the cats, and getting your arm hair or clothing caught in it is not pleasant – trust me. It’s also easy for cats to find cracks in your defenses and before you know you’ve covered your couch in so much tape it looks like it has a plastic slipcover from the 1950s. (I planned on covering my loveseat in this tape in a silly fashion for a photo but we couldn’t find the tape at PetsMart – will look again) That all being said this was the most successful method for me. The one-sided tape only needs to be replaced every few months and the cats left the couch alone where it was taped.