15 ways to keep your cat from destroying your sofa. Isn’t that information all of us cat people want. But first, we ask, ‘Why do cats keep coming back to our favorite comfy chair or sofa and latch onto it like there is no tomorrow?’ They knead and scratch with a vengeance like they are determined to destroy it.
Destroying furniture is one of the top five reasons people relinquish their precious felines, even though these awesome creatures, snuggle with us for hours on end, purr us to sleep, and entertain us with their humorous antics.
You see, this is the thing, Cats are hardwired to knead and scratching. Kneading and scratching are normal cat behaviors, and they cannot be stopped; however, we humans can teach them to scratch where we want them to scratch, and not destroy our furniture, woodwork, doors, etc. This is why we are sharing these 15 ways to keep your cat from destroying your sofa.
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How to stop your cat from ruining your furniture
There are many reasons cats knead and scratch. Let’s look at 10 reasons your cats knead and scratch. We will also talk about 15 ways to stop that pesky, destructive behavior.
First, let’s look at why cats knead and scratch.
- While all cats scratch, not all cats will knead. Even big cats, like lions and tigers, will knead and scratch.
- Cats begin kneading as kittens before their eyes are even open, as it stimulates the flow of their mother’s milk. They often will purr when kneading.
- Kneading, fondly called making biscuits by many, is definitely a feline trait – you will not see dogs kneading – not all cats knead., The back-and-forth motion of the cat’s front paws resembles the back-and-forth motion we humans use to knead bread.
- It is a way of showing trust and affection towards their owners or favorite toy.
- For years, it was assumed they were sharpening their claws to remove the dead outer layer of their claws. As a cat claw grows, it sheds the claw’s sheath, like peeling an onion, to reveal a new sharp claw every few weeks.
- While their claws do not get much larger with age, they become sharp as the old dead outer layer is peeled away exposing a new fresh, sharp claw.
- That is why it is important to clip your cat’s claws on a regular basis, every two to three weeks.
- Now it is believed cats knead and scratch as a way of communication, letting other felines know where they are.
- Felines have scent glands between their toes in their paws and when they make scratching or kneading movements, they leave odor cues other cats can smell. Humans cannot detect these odors.
- It marks territory by leaving both a visual mark and an odor or scent because they have scent glands on their claws.
What kneading looks like?
- Felines alternately push out and pull in their front paws, often interchanging between right and left legs.
- Sometimes the paw moves just slightly. Other times a cat lifts their paws up and down as if parading in place.
- Not all cats knead in the same way; some never push out their claws, and some use all four paws.
- As adults, cats often knead when happy or content because it associates the motion with the comforts of nursing and its mother.
- Cats may bite while kneading you for several reasons:
- They are overstimulated and have simply had enough.
- Redirected aggression
- Or not feeling well
Cats are very territorial – another trait hardwired into felines. Kneading and scratching serve as a territorial warning, or marker, stating this cat lives here, and this is his or her territory.
They often knead and scratch to stretch their bodies and flex their feet and claws, especially after waking up from a nap. Kneading, by flexing the feet and claws, is one of the many ways that cats keep themselves flexible and limber.
Are my cats deliberately destroying my sofa?
The answer to this is no. They are not trying to annoy you. On the contrary, they are trying to impress you, and show you how much they love you.
Therefore, you should never punish your cat from kneading and scratching. Because it is an instinct and hardwired into your cat’s DNA, you cannot change this behavior.
Even declawed cats will knead and scratch. It is something they need to do and cannot stop. Never, never punish your cat for scratching furniture or your woodwork. The key is to find alternatives, and that is why we are sharing 15 ways to keep your cat from destroying your sofa.
Cats tend to pick a small number of conspicuous objects in their environments to scratch, and return to them repeatedly, finding it difficult to leave that particular piece of furniture or windowsill alone.
Most cats are attracted to anything with a nubby, coarse, or textured surface, or something they can really sink their claws into. These textures may include your sofa, stuffed chair, windowsills, door casings, carpeting, a favorite blanket, your laundry, a stuffed animal, a toy, or your lap.
15 ways to keep your cat from destroying your sofa
- Do not declaw, as you are amputating the cat’s first joint, and it is painful and can lead to phantom pain and exacerbate arthritis in later years. That’s the Number One reason we are sharing these 15 ways to keep your cat from destroying your sofa.
- Place several scratching posts of different types and sizes in the places where your cat scratches, not hidden away in the corner. The key here is these scratching posts need to be where your cat scratches, not in a back room. Put them beside the sofa or comfy chair, not off in the garage.
- Placement is important as your cat kneads and scratches to intermingle your scent with theirs. It’s a form of bonding. If they are scratching the door casing, place the post right in front of the side where they are scratching.
- Cats like to scratch near where their human spends a lot of time. That because scratching is a way of complementing your scent with theirs. I t is marking a piece of furniture as owned by your and your cat.
- Spray catnip on the scratching post to help it gain your cat’s attention and interest. You can also rub anything with your scent on the post. That could be an old worn-out T-shirt or a used towel. Attach toys to the top of the post, creating a fun place for your cat to play as well as scratch.
- Play with your cat around the post. Use wand toys, catnip mice, or other favorite toys so your cat will associate the scratching post with fun and play.
- Make sure the scratching post is sturdy and will not tip over. This is one place you will not want to skimp on price. Once your cat gets spooked, it will be almost impossible to train him to use the post, as he will be afraid of it.
- Try to replicate the fabric the cat is scratching, and you might want to try several different types of posts: sisal rope, carpet, corrugated cardboard, or even a small tree limb. You may want to create a DYI project to create the ideal scratching post for your cat.
- Reward your cat with treats, extra TLC, or playtime for scratching in the RIGHT places.
- Observe your cat’s scratching behavior. By being aware, it will help you chose the right alternatives to train kitty to scratch in acceptable places. Some cats like scratching posts that stand tall; others prefer ones that lay on the floor. And lots of cats like both.
- Make sure the scratching post is long enough so your cat can stretch out his ENTIRE body while scratching and making biscuits with their paws. This is especially true for horizontal(upright)posts.
- For an adult cat, the scratching post should be 36-42 inches high.
- Invest in vertical, angled, and horizontal scratching posts, giving our cat the option of different scratching and stretching positions.
- Think outside the box. Try some different types of materials, everything from cardboard, posts you can attach to the wall, carpeting, sisal rope, sisal cloth, or even a small tree limb.
- If you have carpeting in your home, you may want to avoid that as a main scratching place as kitty will find it hard to understand why you let him scratch carpeting on the post and not on your floor. When you’re looking for a carpet cleaning company, be sure to only hire fully licensed and insured carpet cleaners.
- Cat trees provide another option for kitty to stretch out and play. What’s great about cat trees, you can find ones that will match the décor of your home. They come in all shapes and sizes, including ones that look like a cocktail glass or even a real tree. Your cat will be able to knead and scratch while laying down, or to the top of the tree. He can knead the cat tree while napping and soaking up the sun, as well.
- Cat trees come in all types of sizes and shapes. You can have a one-tier with a circular hiding place. You can have two or three layers, creating vertical space for your cats.
- These are particularly good in multi-cat households, as cats are territorial. One cat can claim the top tier, while another cat takes one a bit closer to the floor. Both cats can enjoy soaking up the sun, and climbing the cat tree, much as they would do outside if climbing a real tree.
- Cats live in a vertical world and they depend on elevated areas for safety, comfort, exercise, and fun.
- In a multi-cat environment, vertical territory can help maintain peace because the higher-ranking cat can claim the highest perch as a show of being the top cat.
Questions to ask about scratching posts
- What is your cat scratching now?
- Where is it located?
- What is its texture?
- Is it tall, on the floor, or both?
- When does he scratch?
- Is the area sturdy? Does he really sink his claws in to stretch?
Enticing your cat to scratch in acceptable areas will take some work.
12 additional ways to keep your cat from destroying your sofa
- Stop your cat in action by making a loud noise, like clapping your hands, to get kitty’s attention when scratching in an undesirable spot. This acts as a form of diversion.
- Entice him away from the scratching area with food or a toy. Chances are he will learn this is a better option, and cats are particularly motivated by food.
- Put a blanket or heavy towel on your lap so the kitty’s claws do not go into your skin.
- If your cat starts biting you while kneading your lap or stomach, stop petting them. They are overstimulated and are telling you to stop.
- Play with your cat. A bored cat can get into trouble. Play will help them stretch, spend quality time with you, and yes, wear them out so they spend less time kneading and scratching.
- Great times to play with your cat include early morning so he is worn out while you are at work, or in the evening so he lets you get a good night’s sleep.
- Put a heavy sheet, mattress pad or some other pad around your couch or comfy chair. You could even use a shower curtain or plastic drop cloth. Then place your couch or chair cover over it. It will not show and will give added protection in the event your cat does start clawing the sofa.
- Use the two-sided tape, StickyPaws on the area your cat is scratching. These Furniture Strips are 2″ X 12″ transparent adhesive strips that apply directly to fabric to stop cats from destroying home furnishings.
- Place some aluminum foil, over the surface where your cat is scratching. They will not like the feel of the tape or the foil and will avoid the area.
- Strategically place some sort of barrier, like a box or other piece of furniture, to prevent your cat from accessing the area they want to scratch. We use boxes stuffed into the back of our sofa so the cat cannot get behind the sofa-a place he loves to scratch. Additionally, you may also want to learn more about Caster Central to explore the option of using furniture casters to enhance the mobility and flexibility of your furniture.
- Spray the area your cat is scratching with some sort of citrus or menthol. Cats do not like the smell of citrus or menthol. You also can try placing cotton balls soaked in these substances on the surface. Change them out every few weeks.
- A common home remedy is a mix of water, eucalyptus oil and lemongrass oil, which can be rubbed or sprayed on the furniture where your cat usually scratches.
- Use an over-the-counter spray deterrent like Feliscratch by Feliway, billed as a simple answer to the cat’s inappropriate scratching in the home. According to product literature, Feliscratch:
- Helps redirect scratching onto the scratching post.
- Is Clinically proven to help reduce or stop unwanted scratching in the home.
- Place Feliscratch treated post near areas of unwanted scratching or place it near where your cat sleeps.
- You also can use Feliway Classic Spray to get cats to avoid a certain area. It can be applied daily to areas of unwanted scratching after they have been cleaned with water and soap.
- Be sure to never use Feliway Classic on a scratching post as this would stop your cat from using it.
- Feliway products are based on pheromones, which act as a chemical communication between members of a specific species. Cat pheromones only affect cats, not humans, dogs, rabbits, or any other animal.
- The cats inhale their pheromones, which are then received and interpreted by the vomeronasal organ, located between the cat’s nose and mouth. This releases happy messages, which reassures your cat and stops them from feeling like they need to keep marking your sofa and door casing over and over again.
- Feliway is not a kitty tranquilizer. It is not a drug. It is all-natural. It is a copy of the feline F3 facial pheromone that cats use to mark their territory – by rubbing their cheeks or chin against furniture, curtains, walls, and other items in the home, letting them know they are safe and secure. It is not ingested. It is transferred by smell, the same sense cats use when marking their territory, person, or home with their own facial pheromones.
- Feliway can be dispensed in two convenient ways:
- •A diffuser that is plugged into an electrical outlet
- •Or a spray that can be used in high traffic areas
We hope you enjoying reading these 15 ways to keep your cat from destroying your sofa. For even more tips and tricks, sign up for our email list below to receive your FREE Guide to Stopping Your Cat From Destroying Your Sofa.