How To Keep the Cats from Scratching the Furniture
I recently heard from a friend of mine that she and her husband were getting their first feline companion. I am known as the unofficial cat expert, or perhaps more appropriately as the local crazy cat lady, so she came to me for some advice: How do you keep your cat from scratching the furniture?
I have three cats: big boy Spaz, 11, who I swear has Maine Coon in him. (His paws are huge!) Then there's my middle fur-child, Jasmine, 6, who is very tiny and dainty compared to her big brother. Last is Meeka, 5, my Siamese mix, who is as sweet and cuddly as she is vocal. The first two cats, Spaz and Jasmine, do not have their front claws. Now, before animal rights' people knock down my door, know that I feel very bad about this decision. There are many times when I wish Jasmine had her front claws so she could show her big brother a thing or two! All three cats are spoiled beyond belief so also know that I have made it my life's mission to make them as happy as can be, with or without claws.
Meeka, my beautiful, lovable, and gracious half-Siamese, has all of her claws intact. This was something that we were worried about as we weren't used to having cats with claws. To compound our concern, we were shopping around for new furniture. We knew exactly what we were looking for and we could only imagine how tempting the shiny, new leather and suede furniture would be to our pretty little Meeka-boo.
The first thing we tried was citrus-scented Glade plug-ins and Renuzits. I read somewhere that the smell of citrus is off-putting to cats and they will steer clear of these odors. Those were a fail, although our living room smelled fresh and delicious. Next, we tried a deterrent spray that was supposed to keep the kitties at bay. No luck. It just made everything smell like chemicals. So then we bought several scratching posts. We put two different ones in the living room - one tall one and one S-shaped, and also one in the office where they liked to sit in the window a lot. All three cats seemed to like the new posts so we followed this up with some positive reinforcement, a.k.a. catnip. We sprinkled a good dose of cat nip on the scratching posts and let them go to town.
The scratching posts seemed to be doing the trick and we had found the type of furniture we had been looking for. As we were having the furniture sales guy ring everything up, I spotted a chair in their discount section. It had a square seat and back,both cushioned, no arms. It looked like a great accent chair to go with our new couch and recliner, so I bought it. What we didn't realize at the time was that we were also buying the ultimate solution for cat scratching behavior.
Meeka loved the new chair immediately and paid no attention to the other furniture. The accent chair became her new scratching post! At first, I was upset, but then realized she was leaving the new couch and recliner alone (which I had spent substantially more money on), so I decided to let her have at it. It worked! After five years, she has not scratched the rest of the furniture. The accent chair is not in the best of shape - duct tape has been its best friend over the years - but when guests come, I just throw a cover over it and no one is the wiser.
A little duct tape keeps Meeka's scratching post together!
This solution may not work for every cat, but in the case of our cat Meeka, she was allowed to scratch a piece of furniture to her furry little heart's content without repercussions. If this doesn't work for your feline friend, there are other options available that you may want to consider looking into. Feel free to check out the links below. And good luck!