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How to Stop Your Cat Scratching the Sofa: 8 Simple Ways

Written by: Jordyn Alger

Last Updated on June 18, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

male domesetic cat scratching furniture with front claws

How to Stop Your Cat Scratching the Sofa: 8 Simple Ways

We love our cats, but that doesn’t mean that we love their habits. One of the behaviors that many cat owners complain about is furniture scratching. Scratching is a natural behavior that cats engage in to mark their territory, relieve stress, and maintain their nails. When you catch your cat scratching the sofa, they aren’t trying to upset you–they’re just engaging in normal behaviors that are good for them.

Stopping your cat from scratching is not good for them, as they need to scratch. However, you can prevent your cat from scratching your furniture. In this article, we will provide eight tips and tricks to stop your cat from scratching the sofa.

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The 8 Ways to Stop Your Cat Scratching the Sofa

1. Offer Your Cat an Alternative

When trying to prevent your cat from scratching up the sofa, you must offer them an alternative. Scratching products, such as Hepper’s Hi-Lo Scratcher, are a great way to engage in your cat’s natural scratching behaviors in a non-destructive way.

Once you have a scratcher for your pet, introduce it to them by modeling how it works and running your fingernails over the scratcher. This entices your cat to try it out in the future. You can also sprinkle catnip on the post to try to lure your pet over to it.

Hepper Hi-lo Cat Scratcher

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2. Find the Perfect Place for Your Cat’s Scratcher

Don’t just put your cat’s scratcher anywhere. Instead, you should place it in a prime location that will make your cat much more eager to scratch it than your furniture. It’s a good idea to place a scratcher near the furniture that your cat loves to dig their claws into. Similarly, cats enjoy when their scratchers are located near other household members, as they are social animals. Putting the scratcher in a living room or other commonly populated area will set you and your cat up for success.


3. Use DIY Sprays

If your cat is taking a while to adjust to the scratcher, you can take steps to make your furniture less enticing to them. One way to do so is to spray your furniture with DIY cat repellent. Combining equal parts apple cider vinegar and water into a spray bottle and spraying your furniture can keep it safe from your pet. To ensure that this spray doesn’t harm your furniture, you should test it on a small area before spraying everywhere.

It is important to note that you should never spray your cat with a DIY repellant spray. These sprays are not designed to be used on your cat and can be quite harmful.

Spraying sofa at home
Image Credit: y_seki, Shutterstock

4. Make Furniture-Scratching Unpleasant With Tape

Another way to repel your cat from the furniture is to use double-sided tape. Cats don’t like the stickiness of double-sided tape, so stick it all over your victimized furniture and watch how quickly your cat begins to avoid it. While your cat may attempt to scratch the furniture a few more times, eventually, they will associate the furniture with the unpleasant sensation of tape and move on to scratch other, more pleasant things (hopefully the scratcher).


5. Take Advantage of Pheromones

Pheromone products are often used to calm your pet down, as they produce a soothing effect in many cats. However, you can also use them to protect your furniture.

Cats release a hormone when they rub their faces against objects, which they do to mark familiar areas. Typically, cats will avoid scratching places that they have rubbed their face on. Therefore, if you apply this pheromone to your furniture, cats will be less inclined to scratch those areas.

person spraying on a cat
Image Credit: Vaillery, Shutterstock

6. Clean Up Their Favorite Furniture

Cats are drawn to areas where they have scratched before, meaning they are liable to scratch there again. To try and break up their pattern, you can clean your furniture to throw them off the scent–literally.

When cats scratch furniture, they are depositing pheromones onto the fabric. With a specialized enzyme cleaning product, you can neutralize the odor and discourage your cat from returning there for more scratching action. Your cat may still be lured in by the memory of scratching those spots, though, so this method may be best used in combination with others on this list.


7. Invest in Different Furniture

Velvet may be soft, but when pitted against a cat’s claws, it’s as solid as steel. This is because the design of the fabric’s looped threads aren’t easy for your cat to sink their claws into.

While velvet furniture may be a bit pricey, it can be worth the cost if it withstands your cat’s assaults. And if your current furniture is already torn up, then it’s only a matter of time before you’re due for a replacement, right?

golden british shorthair cat lying on a blue sofa
Image Credit: SunRay BRI Cattery RU, Shutterstock

8. Maintain Your Cat’s Nails

Maintaining your cat’s nails with regular trims of claw caps won’t prevent your cat from scratching, but it can minimize the damage done to your furniture.

Furthermore, maintaining your cat’s nails should be a part of your regular grooming care for your pet. By trimming their nails regularly, you can prevent your cat from experiencing the pain of overgrown claws. While the prospect of clipping your cat’s nails may seem daunting, it is something that you can train your cat to accept over time.

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What Not to Do When Your Cat Scratches Furniture

Although dealing with scratched-up furniture can be frustrating, you must keep a level head. When confronting this issue, there are a few things that you should not do.

Firstly, you should never have your cat declawed. The process of declawing your cat includes the removal of the claw and the first toe bone, which is extremely painful for your cat. Declawing will not prevent your cat from engaging in scratching behaviors; instead, it will only serve to frustrate them. Their inability to engage in normal scratching may make them anxious and even aggressive.

Yelling and punishing cats can made the problem worse.
Image Credit: AAresTT, Shutterstock

Secondly, do not punish your cat. As mentioned throughout this article, scratching is a normal and healthy behavior in cats. Punishing your pet for a behavior that they should perform for their own well-being will only serve to break your bond and induce anxiety in your cat.

Finally, you should not force your cat to use a scratcher. While scratchers are useful and important for cats to have, forcing your cat to use them by physically moving their paws up and down on them will only make the scratcher seem threatening and unappealing. Furthermore, you may strain your cat’s trust in you.

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Conclusion

No one likes to come home to see their furniture has been destroyed. Thankfully, your cat’s scratching behavior doesn’t have to escalate to that point. While you cannot (and should not) prevent your cat from scratching, you can redirect their behavior to a scratcher by making the scratcher more appealing than the furniture. Through a combination of the methods listed above, your cat can transition from using nails on furniture to a scratcher.


Featured Image Credit: Melissa Sue, Shutterstock

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