How to Stop Cats Scratching Furniture

If you have a cat that won't stop scratching your furniture, you're probably wondering how to make them stop it, which is why we've put together this handy guide to help you prevent your cat from shredding your sofa! Keep reading to find out more.
Cat scratching furniture

There’s nothing worse than getting a new sofa and coming home to find that your cat or kitten has ripped it into ribbons, or finding deep scratches in your freshly painted door frames. Cats’ scratching furniture can be a real problem, especially if you’re house-proud! Sometimes it may seem that your cat’s out to cause trouble, but it’s important to know that these scratching behaviours are deeply ingrained instincts and they have numerous benefits to both their health and wellbeing.

Keep reading to find out how to stop cats from scratching furniture and to discover why they always seem to target your favourite spots.

Why do cats scratch furniture?

While it may seem that your cat just likes to destroy things, they actually scratch for a number of reasons. Firstly, scratching provides a full body workout for your cat and stretches out their muscles and tendons from their claws all the way down their back. Cats scratching furniture also helps to maintain their claws and keep them sharp by shedding their claw sheaths which keeps them in tip-top condition.

Additionally, cats’ paws contain scent glands and when they scratch objects, they release a visible and chemical scent marker that identifies their territory in the home. They’re most likely to target prominent and frequently used areas such as sofas or your favourite armchair. This is because scratching these areas will make them feel more secure and relieve stress by putting their scent on things, making it feel more like their home.

Sometimes cats may do it because they’re bored which is especially common with house cats who aren’t getting enough mental stimulation. So now you know what causes them to do it, how can you actually stop cats from scratching furniture?

How to stop cats from scratching furniture

The best way to prevent cats from scratching furniture is by providing them with plenty of scratching opportunities inside the home. Outside cats will scratch trees and posts so it’s a good idea to simulate this inside with scratching posts. Ensure that you only purchase good quality ones that are strong so they won’t wobble when your cat scratches on them, as this may put them off. You should also make sure that the scratching posts are tall enough for your cat to stretch all the way up so that they can exercise those all-important muscles.

You can also try providing fabric offcuts, bark-covered logs, softwood remnants or sisal fibre to provide plenty of variety to keep them entertained. Once they have these fun, easy-to-scratch objects, they’re less likely to target your furniture.

cat using scratching post

Placement is important

Place the scratching posts and objects throughout your home in places that your cat already likes to relax, or near items that they already scratch (such as the arm of your sofa). Near sleeping spots is also a good idea as most cats enjoy a good stretch and a scratch once they wake up.

If your cat doesn’t appear to be interested in the scratching post then you might want to consider an option with a dangling toy to encourage them to investigate it or adding some cat nip.

Stop repeat offenders

If you’re wondering how to stop cats from scratching furniture over and over again, you should make sure that you clean the object(s) in question thoroughly to remove the scent markings, as cats are more likely to scratch areas when they can smell their scent fading and will want to ‘top it up’. We recommend using a mild, non-toxic solution that’s suitable for the area and then make sure that you keep your cat away from the area until it’s dry.

Prevent boredom scratching

For cats that scratch furniture out of boredom or lack of exercise consider purchasing some cat or kitten toys and ensure that you schedule in some much-needed playtime with you and your cat. There are loads of cat toys available from electronic mice to teasers, so there’s bound to be an option your cat will love!

How to stop cats scratching carpets

If you have a cat that prefers to scratch things horizontally, your carpet may be looking a little worse for wear. The best way to stop cats scratching carpets is by providing scratching mats around your home and encouraging your cat to use them with toys.

So now you know how to stop cats from scratching furniture! Give our advice a go and your favourite chair will be scratch free in no time. Remember to never blame them for scratching things, as this is a cat’s natural instinct and they’re doing it for so many beneficial reasons!

cat scratching a sofa

If you are worried that your cat is a little bit too destructive, contact your vet – they’ll always be happy to help.

For more cat and kitten advice, read our article on how to make your home cat-friendly.