How to stop your cat from scratching your furniture

Top tips to stop your cat from kitten around and scratching

How to stop your cat scratching - Take a Break Pets

by Caitlin Casey |

Cats knead and scratch around everything. From their own cat beds, furniture and carpets to their mother's bellies, it's in a cat's instinct. But, how do you stop your cat from scratching your furniture?

If you're a cat owner, you'll be familiar with the sounds of cats digging their claws into furniture nearby. You'll know the sound of their claws ripping through precious fabrics. Not to mention the cat hair that comes along with it. But alas, it doesn't need to be so heartbreaking when you can control what these kitties dig their claws into.

We've pulled together the best tips, products and facts on how to chill out your kitty's claws. Here's our total guide on why cats scratch and what you can do to stop it. Now, you can even go out without worrying about leaving your pet at home alone.

Why do cats scratch furniture?

There is more than one reason why cats really scratch furniture, carpets and curtains. Although it can be frustrating, it's unlikely cats realise the harm that they're doing.

To keep them healthy: Simply, your cats need to file their nails down just like us humans do. If their claws are too long, they can get caught on various materials and scratching helps to blunt them down. Plus, they're exercising the muscles in their little paws - it's like a little workout for your cat.

Mark territory: Cats have scent glands in their paws. So, as they're scratching around the house, they're actually marking their territory in different places. Releasing this scent allows other animals to know whose patch they're on.

Attract attention: Yes, your cat is scratching to get your attention. It can also be a domesticated behaviour that they've learned to do and they may just want a fuss, food or water.

Show their happiness: Have you ever had a cat come to knead into your belly or legs with their claws? This is them showing their comfort with you. It's said that cats do this when they're kittens to get the milk out of their mother's teats. Now, they do it on humans to replicate that comfort.

Why you shouldn't declaw your cat

There are many people who have chosen to declaw their cats by cutting them off to prevent scratching. Doing this is actually illegal in many countries, including the UK. Declawing is not a good idea for a cat owner because it is particularly painful for the cat. If you don't do it right, it can injure your kitty and leave them scarred. Cats have a lot of nerves in their nails, and this can be considered cruel.

Alternatives to declawing include creating more options for your cats to scratch their claws on. Maybe consider filing them down. You can trim your cat's claws yourself, as long as you do this safely. But, make sure to not cut too low.

How to stop your cat scratching furniture, couches, carpets and curtains

So with all this in mind, the question is how do we really stop cats scratching furniture? Whether it's a sofa arm, carpet, curtains, bedposts or outside furniture, it's likely you're frustrated by now. Try out some of these tips below to help reduce your cat's need to scratch at the furniture around.

For our full debrief and ideas in detail, scroll down for all the information. Here are our top tips for getting your cat to stop scratching:

Using cat scratching posts and boards

Make more space for your cat

Infuse the area with a deterring scent

Encourage better behaviour with pheromones

Using cat scratching training tape

Using cat scratching posts and boards

The first, and possibly most obvious way to stop your cat from scratching your furniture, is to give them another area to scratch, like a scratching post or board.

These cat scratching products are really easy to come across and you can generally find them in any general pet shop and even some supermarkets.

You can work out what and where your cat likes to scratch the most and use this as a basis for what you should be buying. Place scratching posts near or even over the furniture that your cat is scratching and hopefully your cat should be attracted to this new spot.

There are various materials that scratching posts are made from, so you can definitely have a range of options and check out which one your cat reacts to the best. You can see some of the best choices for anti-cat-scratching posts below.

SHOP: The best cat scratching posts

Kingfisher Cat Scratching Post

Best Budget Cat Scratching Post
Kingfisher Cat Scratching Post
Amazon

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Amazon

A basic cat scratching post with a dangling cat toy for your cat to play with is a great value option if you're looking for a quick solution.

Dimensions: L37 x W42 x H7 cm

Pros: Great for Kittens, Budget, Easy to Assemble

Cons: Better suited to kittens - rather than full-grown cats

Review: "This is really easy to assemble and took under a minute! I bought it when my cat was a tiny kitten and he would climb to the top. Now, he's bigger, he still does and it’s very sturdy. The colour matched my living room too so it looks nice and not out of place. Great buy."

Albertina Scratching Post

Best Spherical Cat Scratching Post
Albertina Scratching Post

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This cat scratch globe on foot looks super nice in your living space and offers enough space for your cat to scratch to its heart's content. The cat scratch ball cannot rotate, but it will give plenty of scratching space to your pet, leaving furniture and carpets alone.

Dimensions: D30 x W34 x H35.5 cm

Pros: Protective Feet for Wood

Cons: Cannot Rotate

Wilko Scratch and Roll Cat Toy

Best Scratch and Roll Toy
Wilko Scratch and Roll Cat Toy

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Wilko

Wilko's scratchy cat toys appeal to your cats senses for ultimate play. This toy has a variety of textures, like seagrass and feathers, for cats to get their claws into.

Dimensions: 18 x 4 cm

Pros: No Assembly Required, Sturdy, Encourages Play

Cons: Not Indestructible - Replace immediately when worn or damaged.

Review: "Both cats love this, adult and kitten. They chase it and chew on it. They took to it straight away and will play with it for ages. It’s a great price, much cheaper than most other toys and in my opinion one of the best."

Willow's Cat Scratch Mat

Best cat scratching mat
Willow's Cat Scratch Mat

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Pets at Home

The good thing about this scratch mat is that it's really flexible, so you can either use it over furniture as a protectant or just lay it on the floor if your cat is particularly fond of carpets. It also has a toy attached for extra fun.

Dimensions: H2 x W43 x D29 cm

Pros: No Assembly Required, Natural Jute, Ideal for Marking Territory, Feather Teaser

Cons: Not Indestructible - Replace immediately when worn or damaged. Always supervise play.

Rosewood Catwalk Collection Turmeric Cat Scratching Post

Best Catnip Infused Scratching Post
Rosewood Catwalk Collection Turmeric Cat Scratching Post 74cm 0513215

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The Catwalk Collection Tumeric Cat Scratcher is perfect for cats to stretch and scratch. Infused with catnip, it is sure to become your cat's favourite piece of furniture. This stylish charcoal carpet post is easy to assemble and features a natural wood base and structure that gives it a premium look and feel.

Dimensions: 39 x 39 x 74.5 cm

Pros: Easy to Assemble, Infused with Catnip, Stylish

Cons: N/A

Review: "It is sturdy enough to have survived some determined attacks from my feline friend."

Make more space for your cat

If your cat is coming back to the same places to tear up with their claws, they may just not have a private space of their own. Cats really love their own little coves, cat beds and caves to go sleep in, so adding scratching areas alongside these private spots is a great way to deter this scratching.

Using cat houses, climbing frames and cat trees allows your cat to have their own space whilst also giving them a lot of different features to play around with.

You'll want to look for something with a variety of options. Think about including things like a cave for them to sleep in, scratching posts and mats for them to scratch, as well as hanging toys for playtime.

Here are some of our favourite cat furniture options on the market to stop your cat scratching:

SHOP: The best cat rest stations

Argos Cat Scratch and Rest Station

Best all rounder cat furniture for scratching
Argos Cat Scratch and Rest Station

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Argos

Reviewers of this cat station love that it's easy to put together and how it keeps their cats occupied. This is our favourite all-rounder cat tree because it has several levels, a sleeping area, toys and a variety of scratching posts.

Dimensions: H85 x W50 x D42 cm

Pros: Comfortable

Cons: Better Suited for Kittens

Review: "Easy to put together. Daisy isn’t a small cat. She’s 3yrs old & a big girl. Took her a couple of days to actually go onto it. Now she loves it. It did rock a bit, so it’s been bolted down."

Clever Paws Mullion Cat Post

Best value cat scratching tree
Clever Paws Mullion Cat Post

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The Range

For just under £25, we think this is a great option if you're looking to save your money but offer your cat a good scratching tree. With four scratching posts, a high sleeping perch and toys to play with, this is a great option.

Dimensions: H85 x W50 x D42 cm

Pros: Various Toys, Multiple Levels, Sisal Posts

Cons: Better Suited for Smaller Cats

Review: "Just purchased this and absolutely love it so does my cat Rosie great value for money very sturdy all in all very good purchase and very easy assembly."

158cm Rolando Cat Tree by Archie & Oscar

Best large cat scratching tree
158cm Rolando Cat Tree by Archie & Oscar

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Wayfair

Perfect if you have multiple cats, this large cat scratching has lots going on. With two perches, two beds, a hammock, two hanging toys and six scratching posts, any cat would feel spoiled with this tree.

Dimensions: H158 x W61 x D49 cm

Pros: Large, Multiple Levels, Good for Multiple Cats, Multiple Colours

Cons: May not fit in all homes

Review: "I put together this cat tree all by myself. I'm a disabled, housebound lady, so if I can do it myself, anyone can. This is an amazing cat tree. I have three cats who love it. They are very choosy cats at that, so if it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for me. The delivery was super-fast got before the delivery date. The tree is definitely value for money. Money well spent. You can’t get better than that. I definitely recommend this tree! Five-star rating all the way!"

Infuse the area with a deterring scent

Like humans, cats tend to dislike certain scents and so will be deterred away from them. With their extra sensitive noses, these strong scents can stop your cat from wanting to come near any furniture with these smells on.

Scents that cats dislike include lavender, citrus, vinegar, garlic and peppermint.

If you invest in some essential oils, wash your furniture with these scents or even put some of these scents into a spray bottle, you may find that your cat isn't so fond of these areas anymore.

Here are some of the best products which are furniture-friendly and won't harm your cat, just deter them from these scratching places.

SHOP: The best anti-scratch scents

Tisserand Lemon Organic Essential Oil 9ml

Best homemade anti-scratch product
Tisserand Lemon Organic Essential Oil 9ml

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All you need to do with this lemon essential oil is mix it with vegetable glycerin and distilled water into a spray bottle and this will create a natural anti-scratch spray. Check out the full DIY instructions before you go ahead with this. You can also invest in lavender and peppermint essential oils for a similar effect.

Cooper & Gracie Anti Scratch Spray 500ml

Best anti-scratch spray
Cooper & Gracie Anti Scratch Spray 500ml
Amazon

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Amazon

Cruelty-free and plant-derived, this Cooper & Gracie spray is subtle but efficient.

Encourage better behaviour with pheromones

Our last bit of advice for you as a cat owner - and especially if your cat is being stubborn - is to encourage your cat with friendly pheromones to scratching posts and cat furniture.

Cats have various glands that release pheromones including their paws, nipples and urine. Using friendly synthetic pheromones actually attracts cats and tricks them into thinking another cat has left their scent, therefore encouraging them to scratch and play to leave their own pheromones. It also works as a calming product to ensure your cat feels safe at home.

Related: How to treat your kitty with the best monthly cat subscription box

These pheromone sprays work in the opposite way to scent repellents because they persuade your cat to move to a different area. Hopefully, your cat will be attracted by these pheromones and therefore leave your furniture alone.

Below are some of the classic and popular cat pheromone products on the market. We encourage using these on cat furniture, scratching posts and beds to move your cat away from your furniture.

SHOP: The best cat pheromone products

Using cat scratching training tape

If there's nothing that is stopping your cat scratch a certain piece of furniture, it may be time for a direct repellent. Using cat-scratching tape is a quick and efficient option if you're looking to stop your cat scratching.

All you need to do is stick a line of this sticky scratching tape onto your piece of furniture and then remove the outer layer. It works like double-sided tape so when you remove the outer layer, it leaves a sticky material that cats hate to claw onto. Because it's translucent, it's subtle and your cat won't be able to work out where it is.

You can stick this onto everything from sofas and chairs, to stairs and carpets.

When sticking this tape onto furniture, there's a possibility it could damage the fabrics of any carpet, curtain or furniture. You may want to test this tape on a small piece of your furniture before committing to a large piece of tape. We recommend sticking a small square in a hidden spot and testing overnight before removing it to ensure that the furniture isn't damaged.

Here are some of the top picks of anti-scratch cat tape here:

SHOP: The best cat anti-scratch tape

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