Cats Scratching Furniture 101 - All You Need To Know - FRANQATE

Cats Scratching Furniture 101 – All You Need to Know

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If you’re a cat owner or you just plan to become one, you may be wondering «Is there any chance to save my property from damage caused by feline habits

The answer is – «Yes, surely you can!» Below you’ll find all the information you need + tips and tricks that actually work. 

Which cats scratch least?

Let’s start straight to the point – all cats scratch. You can’t keep a cat from scratching. 

But! Some breeds are trained easier that the others, so we’ve made a quick rating for you that contains most popular breeds and facts that you may want to consider.

  • Cat breeds with LOW risk of scratching furniture
    These breeds are smart, patient and highly social. That makes them easier to train as they never want to disappoint you
    – American Shorthair
    – Maine Coon
    – Persian
    – Ragdoll
    – Russian Blue
    – Sphynx
  • Cat breeds with MODERATE risk of scratching furniture
    These breeds are highly independent. When alone or angry, they may want to show you off their character and so do things they know are prohibited
    – Abyssinian
    – Birman
    – British Shorthair
    – Burmese
    – Scottish Fold
    – Siamese
  • Cat breeds with HIGH risk of scratching furniture
    You may never know what happened to a cat you met on the street, and scratching is not the only problem you may encounter
    – Rescued cats
    – Stray cats
  • Now, let’s move to the reasons why cats scratch. This will help us to build an actionable plan on reducing possible damage to your furniture, carpets and walls.

    Why do cats scratch?

    Here’s a quick overview:

    1. To get rid of old dead layers of claws;
    2. To sharpen claws and be ready for a hunt;
    3. To leave a mark about their presence and dominate the territory;
    4. To relieve stress.

    Reasons 1 and 2 can be tamed with good training, regular claw-trimming and providing sufficient scratching posts for a cat to choose from. 

    However, when it comes to kneading or showing off, there’s not much to be done with cat’s training. According to veterinary research, cats start kneading as kittens when drinking mother’s milk and later on forever associate the motion of kneading with the rewarding comfort of nursing. 

    via GIPHY

    That being said, you may need to protect the furniture itself (especially those places with higher risk of being damaged), or choose puncture-resistant upholstery. Follow along to learn how

    How to train cats to avoid furniture

    First and foremost – you need to make scratching process easily accessible and enjoyable.

    And here’s how:

    • Put multiple scratching posts and pads. It’s best to have at least one scratcher at each room.
    • Provide different forms and angles. You may have vertical, horizontal and even diagonal scratchers! Below are some examples for your reference.

    • Use different types of textures and experiment with them, if needed. A recent survey of 4000 cat owners showed that all of them use multiple types of scratching posts, most often they  choose carpet + sisal textures.

    Which texture suits your cat?

    Sisal and wood are perfect for heavy clawers

    Cats Scratching Furniture 101 - All You Need to Know
    Wood + Sisal rope cat scratcher by Armanda Jones

    Carpet, cardboard and jute suite gentle paws.

    Cats Scratching Furniture 101 - All You Need to Know
    Carpet cat scratcher by
    • Scratchers should be easily accessible. There’s no use in hiding them somewhere deep inside the room. Cats won’t go looking for it. They’ll just start clawing somewhere else.
    • Use scratchers of suitable size and height. Cats like to stretch when clawing and they also like climbing, as in the wild they claw on trees.
    Cats Scratching Furniture 101 - All You Need to Know
    DIY Cat scratching post by
    • Don’t forget to renew the scratchers when they are heavily damaged. Otherwise your puffy kitty may go and find a better place to scratch.

    Secondly, don’t forget to trim claws every 2-3 weeks.

    • Cut before the quick of the nail. This is the blood supply part of the nail, so if you hurt it it will bleed and be very painful. So snip only the white part of the claw!
    Cats Scratching Furniture 101 - All You Need to Know
    Cat nails Quick by
    • Use pet toenail trimmers. They are safe and can’t hurt your kitty if he/she makes a sudden jerk
    • Try clipping nails at sleepy or after-meal relaxed time. Make sure no other pets will disturb you
    • Make friends with the paws. Practice gently squeezing cat’s paws when petting him/her so he/she knows that this doesn’t hurt.

    That’s it! 

    This should help you avoid any unwanted damage in most, if not all, cases.

    BUT as I mentioned earlier, sometimes it’s just impossible to exclude the risk of clawing on sofas, recliners, even walls.

    So if…

    …you are renting furnished apartment…

    …you have an expensive couch…

    …your furniture’s type of upholstery is of high risk category…

    …your cat can’t help clawing that pretty recliner…

    …then you’ll need a 100% cat-proof solution to protect the endangered areas 👇

    How to protect furniture from cat scratching

    Quick answer: either cover the area or use a deterrent.

    How to choose a pet-safe furniture cover?

    Let’s compare different types of furniture covers by 4 simple criteria:

    1. Efficiency
    2. Style
    3. Possible risks
    4. Price

    I will use «+» and «-» symbols to quickly state upsides and downsides of each variant.

    1. Full cover / Slipcover
    Cats Scratching Furniture 101 - All You Need to Know
    Sofa cover by
    • Efficiency: + covers 100% of the couch or recliner – can’t be used on chairs and stairs
    • Style: completely changes the look of your furniture
    • Possible risks: none, if cloth is thick. Otherwise it may be easily torn with sharp claws
    • Price: the most expensive variant. Starts from $50
    1. Sticky tape
    Cats Scratching Furniture 101 - All You Need to Know
    Double-sided furniture protection tape
    • Efficiency: + can be applied anywhere – covers a small area; it’s thin and can be easily torn
    • Style: it’s transparent so it’s quite universal. However, it may look shabby and collects lint and fur
    • Possible risks: it can damage your sofa worse than the cat as the adhesive isn’t suitable for delicate fabric or leather
    • Price: the cheapest option, $5 – $10
    1. Pin sheets
    Cats Scratching Furniture 101 - All You Need to Know
    Vinyl furniture protection pin sheets
    • Efficiency: + they’re thick and can’t be torn easily; they cover flat areas and corners – can’t be used on chairs and stairs; can’t be used on leather or wood
    • Style: they’re transparent so they’re quite universal. However, they may look shabby and they collect lint and fur
    • Possible risks: they make holes in furniture. Cats or children may accidentally choke on a pin if it falls off.
    • Price: starting from $19 / pack
    1. CouchGuard
    Cats Scratching Furniture 101 - All You Need to Know
    CouchGuard – Cat Scratch deterrent Furniture protector
    • Efficiency: + thick and can’t be torn; covers any area needed; can be used on sofas, chair and stairs; suitable for fabric, leather and wood
    • Style: the upper cloth is beige and may not fit in your style. However, that makes it soft and human-friendly, so you can place it on the arm or at the seat, if needed. Doesn’t collect lint and fur and is cleaned easily
    • Possible risks: none! I use it at my couch and it works just fine
    • Price: $9

    How to choose a cat deterrent?

    Quick summary: your cat may be indifferent to deterrents, so they may not work at all. But may work – you will never know until you try.

    It didn’t work for my cats though. My ragdoll cat Dayla peed on a bottle of pee-deterrent spray.

    But still, these options are worth trying:

    • Cat repellent sprays. They are made of chemicals and are ready to use. You can try anything available in the closest pet chop or find some options in this article. By the way, some of them copy the smells of predator urines.
    • Specific scents: citrus, rue, lavender, pennyroyal, lemon thyme are known to be misliked by cats but they quickly disappear.

    You may always use different options combined or try them all until you find the one that works for your furry friend 🐱

    How to pick upholstery that is safe for cat claws

    Before we start, let me explain you something important.

    How do cats claw?  -They hook the threads of woven fabric and pull them out with their claws.

    That’s why these types of upholstery can be easily damaged:

    • All natural fabrics: cotton, wool, linen
    • Sisal
    • Jute
    • Leather and faux leather
    • Jacquard

    However, there are non-woven types of upholstery. They are all made with different modern technologies, but still they have one thing in common: they all miss threads of fabric. So cat claws just kind of slip through it and hook nothing.

    That’s why it’s no use for cats to try to scratch non-woven fabric.

    Below you can find best types of furniture upholstery that cats won’t scratch:

    • Microfiber
    • Faux suede
    • Velour
    • Flock
    • Velvet

    Some say that Chenille is cat-resistant too, but it has a woven base fabric, so it may be easily damaged and look shabby. Consider it only if your cat doesn’t show much interest in furniture.

    So that’s it!

    If you still have any questions, feel free to comment them below. We’ll answer each and any of them!

    And by the way, how do you protect your furniture from cats?


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