Clawed and scratched furniture is a real headache for every cat lover. I bet you know it too well… If you want to stop your cat from sharpening his claws on your furniture, fetch some scissors and a double-sided adhesive tape. Before we move on to details though, here’s a bit of background knowledge…
Why do cats actually scratch furniture? Despite common belief, they don’t do it to peeve anybody…! There are three most common reasons for this kind of behaviour:
- Hygiene – when cats scratch furniture surface, they shed old claw sheaths (they often also remove it with their teeth). After taking off this used, outer layer, the world is presented with a lovely, new and brutally sharp claw. This makes furniture-scratching a kind of a beauty treatment in a salon for a cat… minus the gossip. Remember that the cats that don’t tend to their claws (because, for example, they were not taught how or have no ability to do this) may encounter problems with built-up excess nail. Lack of proper claw hygiene may result in inflammation, wounds, infection or injuries (shall your kitty put too much force into pulling out a claw caught on some surface). Therefore, it’s recommended to do a regular checkup on your kitty’s paws, paying particular attention to claws and pads.
- Territorial – not everyone knows that on large paw pads and between them cats have scent glands. The pheromones released by these glands serve as a territorial marker and a warning for intruders. Which means that, for cats, scratching furniture is a way of telling the world who’s the boss. If the cat feels insecure or that his position in the household is under threat, he will mark the territory with all his might – with the use of his paws (he may also pee on the furniture). It’s often the case when you have more cats or other pets and Mr Fluff is forced to fight for the seat of the boss. Other possible scenarios include a new addition to the family (a baby, for example) or sensing other cats (if you live in an area abundant in kitties).
- Emotional – marking the territory with claws may also be a sign of distress, fear or need for attention. Cats are great at detecting human emotions. When the household members go through a difficult period and, for example, they fight a lot – it’s enough to make the cat feel anxious.
Remember – if a cat who hasn’t been scratching furniture excessively starts to demolish it with his claws all of a sudden – you can be sure that something is up! Do not trivialise the problem and do not punish your pet. And, of course, make sure you always provide your cat with space where he can sharpen his claws in blissful peace. It could be a professional cat scratcher or an old pouffe. The main thing is to make it available to your kitty at all times.
Last but not least, a promised lifehack – how to stop your cat from clawing your treasured furniture.
What are your tricks to deal with furniture scratchers?