Scratching is a normal and necessary behavior for cats. Scratching allows them to shed the outer layer of their claws, mark their territory (cats have scent glands on the pads of their feet and when they scratch they leave their scent behind as their way of saying “this is my territory”) and provides a great way for them stretch out their muscles.
Scratching is such an instinctive behavior in cats that even cats who have been declawed scratch on a regular basis.
Of course, knowing that scratching is a normal part of cat behavior is all well and good and does nothing to prevent you from tearing your hair out when your cat is using your couch as his favorite scratching post.
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Here are some tips for keeping your cat happy and your couches, furniture and drapes intact.
6 Safe & Easy Tips to Stop the Scratching Damage
Regular claw trimming can help cut down on damage to household items and help blunt damage to the furniture.
2. Nail Caps
Temporary synthetic nail caps cover the nails to reduce damage to anything your cat may scratch. Nail caps typically stay on the nails for 4–6 weeks.
3. Sticky Tape and Repellent Sprays
Sticky two-sided tape and synthetic repellent sprays can be applied to furniture to deter cats from scratching where they shouldn’t. Aluminum foil can work too in a pinch.
4. Scratching Posts
Scratching posts should always be provided as an appropriate place to scratch. It is ideal to have one scratching post per cat and make sure they’re well positioned. Quality scratchers are easy to come by and can cost very little although there are many luxury brands available that suit the decor on any home. Cats love to scratch right after they wake up from a nap, so it is a good idea to put a scratcher near where your cat likes to sleep.
Encourage the use of your cat’s scratching post by placing your cat next to the post and demonstrating its use. This can be effective with cats around eight weeks old. Check out our post on the Animal Behavior College (ABC) online Cat Trainer program.
6. Naturally Derived Active Ingredients
For a long-term, quick and proven solution, encourage your cat to scratch in the right places with FELISCRATCH® by FELIWAY™. FELISCRATCH® is the only clinically-proven, naturally-derived and drug-free solution that prevents and stops destructive scratching in the home by attracting your cat to scratch in the right place, such as his/her scratching post.
We were so intrigued by the FELISCRATCH® product claims that we contacted FELIWAY to learn more. Imagine our delight to find that they had just launched an innovative and clever new website called: Save The Couches.
After our own research and testing the product ourselves, we were convinced of its effectiveness. Their FELISCRATCH® marketing campaign is cute, smart and catchy. Here’s the high level messaging:
Couches Everywhere Are Suffering. Each day, couches are abused and ravaged in the place they call home, by those who are near and dear to them. The reason? Cats destroy couches to mark their territory or simply because they think they’re big scratching posts.
This doesn’t have to be the fate of your couch. THERE IS HOPE.
How it Works
When scratching, cats mark their territory by leaving visual and chemical messages from their paws. FELISCRATCH® by FELIWAY is a copy of this scent. Once applied on the desired scratching surface, like a scratching post, it mimics your cat’s messages, encouraging him to scratch there again.
FELISCRATCH® redirects cat scratching onto the scratching post by mimicking the natural feline pheromone and visual signals (blue colorant). Simply apply the content of one pipette on the scratching post you want your cat to use, daily for the first 7 days, and then 1 pipette at the beginning of week 3 and 4.
80% of cats and kittens already scratching started using scratching post within the first 7 days. More than 90% of cats and kittens never started destructive scratching when FELISCRATCH® was used.
Check out their Save The Couches video (below).
*Warning: There are graphic scenes of highly damaged and ripped couches. The fabric carnage is extreme in some cases. There is even an unrepentant kitten caught trying to shred an innocent couch cushion in broad daylight. So please be careful not to cry out in shock (especially if viewing at work). There were indeed couches harmed in the making of this video.
On behalf of all cats and couches we call a truce to the abuse. These natural enemies can now co-exist peacefully. The balance has been restored. Cats are happy. Homeowners are happy. Couches are happy. It’s a win/win/win! Let there be peace, not pieces.