Ask the Vet: How do I Stop my Cats from Scratching the Furniture?
Like it or not, cats love to scratch. They do it for two main reasons:
- Functional & Physiological – To keep their nails sharp and smooth, to mark territory with visible scratches, and possibly to reduce stress
- Communicative – A way of telling you or other animals something (“Hey, I don’t like that!”)
Unfortunately, in the home, cats aren’t very discerning about where they scratch. This means their scratching habits can result in marred furniture and ripped up cushions, curtains, and other fabric.
To avoid this, our veterinarians recommend utilizing a scratch post. It’s the very best way to save your furniture.
Scratch posts can stop cats from scratching other items in your home.
A 2014 AAFP (American Association of Feline Practitioners) paper concluded that offering a scratch post in the home and positively reinforcing its daily use can help reduce unwanted scratching in cats.
It is crucial, however, to obtain the right post with the right features. The best cat scratch post should:
- Be 3 feet high or higher
- Have a base width of between 1 and 3 feet
- Have 2 or more levels
- Feature a rope (sisal) substrate
- Feature a vertical scratch surface
As an added boost to help your cat use the scratch post every day, spray the post with a feline pheromone product. Feliway is a good option. This will pique your cat’s interest and encourage them to hang around the post and use it.
Should cat scratching ever be reason for concern?
Most of the time, scratching in cats is a normal (albeit sometimes frustrating) habit that all cats share.
In rare cases, however, cats may be using scratching to communicate negative feelings. For example, they may direct this negative behavior toward you or other pet housemates. If this happens, always consult your veterinarian. Your cat may be acting out because of a physical problem, such as pain.
Concerned about your cat’s scratching habits?
If you are concerned about your cat’s scratching habits, make an appointment at Sunset Veterinary Clinic.
Our veterinarians will assess your cat for possible underlying problems and provide the necessary treatment to ensure their health and well-being.