10 Ways To Protect Your Couch From The Cat

For years, my cats' favorite "scratching post" was the sofa. They clawed the upholstery, and when it was in shreds they started clawing the wood frame. They had cat scratching posts but never used them. Little did I know they were in the wrong place!

I've learned a lot since then. These are the 10 best ways I've found to keep a cat from scratching furniture.

1. Put your cats' scratching posts and pads in places that work for them, even if they don't work perfectly for you. One of the reasons cats scratch furniture is to mark their territory visually and with the scent in their paw pads. If you put their posts and pads at the entrances to rooms, they'll use them instead of the couch. Another good place for a scratching post or pad is near where your cat likes to sleep. Cats love nothing more than a good stretch after a nap.

2. If your cat still insists on scratching the furniture, put her scratching post or pad right against the furniture she's clawing. If you give her a surface she likes, she'll prefer it to the upholstery, especially if it's sprinkled with catnip.

3. Provide scratching materials cats love. Some suggestions:

  • Tall, stable scratching posts covered with carpet or sisal. The post should be at least 33" high so the cat can really stretch all the muscles in her back and stable enough that the cat won't feel like it's going to topple over on her while she's scratching.
  • Wide honeycomb cardboard scratching pads.
  • Wide scratching pads on an angle, like Imperial Cat's Rub and Ramp. There are other inclined scratchers, but this one is very stable and won't tip over.
  • A pile of logs.
  • A big tree stump
  • Doormats.
  • Carpet remnants.
  • Carpet remnants or throw rugs, reverse side up. Secure them with duct tape or the leg of a table or chair. They won't be fun to scratch if they keep moving around.
  • Rattan and wicker. A wicker child's chair or laundry hamper could make your cat very happy!
  • Large cardboard cartons. They're great for hiding, too. Put some tissue paper inside and sprinkle catnip on it.

4. If your cat is scratching the carpeting, put a coir (coco fiber) doormat or carpet squares on the floor in her location of choice. She'll be able to scratch in her favorite location without damaging your rugs.

5. Put Soft Claws plastic nail caps on the cat's claws. The nail caps are similar to false fingernails for humans and will protect your furniture and rugs when the cat scratches.

6. Put Sticky Paws or double stick tape on furniture the cat is scratching. The sticky feeling will be unpleasant underfoot and discourage the cat from scratching.

7. Place bubble wrap on chair cushions, the backs of chairs and other places where the cat is scratching. The bubbles popping will startle the cat and discourage her from scratching there.

8. Put vinyl carpet runner, bumpy side up, on your furniture. She won't like the feeling underfoot, and cats can't claw vinyl!

9. Use an electronic deterrent, like a ScatMat, on chair and sofa cushions, arms and backs. The cat won't like the tingling sensation underfoot and will stay away.

10. Keep your cat's nails trimmed. She'll be more comfortable and will do less damage if her nails are short. Here's a video on how to trim your cat's nails.
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