Clarendon Street Vets’ advice to reduce furniture damage from your cat

January 21, 2024

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Cats may be beloved members of the family, but their scratching can be quite frustrating, especially if directed towards our best furniture or carpets. This can pose particular problems in rented accommodation, if carpets need replacing at the end of the tenancy.

Scratching is a normal part of a cats behavioural repertoire, and is something that cats need to do. We cannot (and should not) stop our cats scratching, but can direct the behaviour towards suitable surfaces and discourage them from using certain areas. By providing your cat with suitable scratching alternatives, you can protect your furniture whilst ensuring your cat leads a happy and healthy life.

Why do cats scratch?

Scratching serves several purposes, including:

  • Claw maintenance: to keep nails sharp, cats will scratch their claws to shed the outer layers.
  • Territory marking: scratching deposits scent marks from glands on the paws, establishing territorial boundaries
  • Stress relief: cats can scratch when they feel anxious or stressed. It releases tension and makes them feel more secure in their environment.

How to reduce furniture damage from cat scratching

  1. Provide scratching posts and pads strategically near furniture that your cat has targeted before. If they are made from materials such as cardboard or carpet, it will really help to satisfy your cat’s scratching needs.
  2. Furniture covers can help to protect against claws. We recommend using either double-sided tape or sticky pads on furniture that your cat seems to target. As felines hate sticky surfaces this will deter your cat from scratching without causing harm.
  3. Use pet-safe deterrent sprays on furniture to discourage scratching and make use of catnip on scratching posts or pads to make them more appealing to your cat.
  4. Cats often scratch to mark their territory so offering them more space can help. Provide them with vertical spaces like shelves and cat trees and offer them praise and treats when they use them correctly. You should also provide lots of hiding places and areas to eat and drink and enough litter trays for the household. If there is any element of stress involved providing lots of resources and reducing stress levels will help decrease the frequency and severity of scratching.

There is some great information available on the Blue Cross website if you would like to read more about the subject.

If you are still struggling please do get in touch with us on (01223) 359021 Clipping nails may help if they are overgrown. If the cause of the scratching is stress we can advise on how best to minimize this and help you and your cat live in harmony!

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