For prevent a cat from scratching the sofa It is fundamental, first, to understand why you do it and act accordingly. In general, cats usually carry out this behavior as a form of marking, to file their nails or as an effect of stress, anxiety or boredom. Once the motive has been identified, a series of techniques and steps should be carried out that help the animal redirect its behavior towards the appropriate objects and, in cases of stress, combat this tension.
In this article we will detail the different reasons that can lead a cat to feel the need to scratch this furniture and we will share the more effective solutions so that your cat does not scratch the sofa, keep reading!
Why does my cat scratch the sofa?
The feline language is complex and we must learn to interpret it to improve coexistence and cover all the animal’s needs. In this sense, a cat can scratch the sofa or other furniture for two main reasons: nail marking and filing. When a cat does not have the necessary resources to keep his nails in perfect condition, it is normal to look for suitable surfaces to wear them out and, at the same time, to exercise. In general, when it comes to this motif, the cat scratches the sofa upright, that is, in an upright position, fully stretching the back. Likewise, this same exercise can be carried out to stretch the muscles. The marking, like grooming, is part of the nature of the cat and can do so for reasons of territoriality, stress or both.
If the cat scratches the sofa to file its nails or as a stretching exercise it will be easy to guide it towards a suitable object for these purposes; The real problem is when you do it by marking. The cats are very territorial animals by nature, and they have three different ways of marking: face, nails or urine. The marking with urine can have different origins and, therefore, we recommend consulting the article “Why does my cat urinate everywhere?”. The facial marking is not usually associated with something negative by the tutors, since it leaves no visible mark and is even pleasant when the cat rubs his face with objects, animals or people to leave an olfactory mark and associate everything marked as part of its territory.
However, scratches in undesirable places do concern the tutors and to correct them it is important to understand them. Cats mark their territory by scratching for two reasons: to leave an olfactory and a visual mark. Both brands indicate to the rest of the animals that this territory belongs to them. In general, the scratches are usually vertical and the areas always marked the same, since these animals choose strategic areas for them to limit and mark their territory. As you scratch the sofa again, the marks become deeper and, therefore, more visible. As for the olfactory brand, the same thing happens. Through the sweat glands of the pads of their legs emit pheromones that deposit through scratches, it is for this reason that cats feel the need to scratch. They do not do it to annoy their guardians, as many believe, they do it for pure instinct. But can it be corrected? Yes, scratches can not be eliminated but they can be redirected to the desired objects.
You already know why cats scratch the sofa, and then we’ll explain how to redirect this behavior to prevent yours from continuing to do so on furniture.
How to prevent a cat scratching the sofa?
If the cat scratches the sofa to file the nails or exercise their muscles, the measures are simple: review environmental enrichment. This usually occurs in homes without scrapers, with inadequate scrapers or with few scrapers. In this way, if we offer the animal the right objects, it will quickly begin to use them. Likewise, especially if more than one cat lives in the home, it is important to guarantee an adequate number of scrapers and place them in the areas of greatest activity for them. A scraper for all cats is not enough, remember that they are territorial animals, and what starts as a nail wear can be transformed into a stress tag.
On the other hand, whether the cat scratches the sofa to file its nails or marks it, the first thing to do is clean the furniture thoroughly in question. For this, it is essential to use enzymatic products or a neutral soap, since the cleaning products made from bleach or ammonia do not eliminate the olfactory marks and, therefore, do not prevent it from continuing to mark, on the contrary.
Once reviewed the environmental enrichment and thoroughly cleaned the sofa, the time has come to redirect behavior towards a suitable object, such as the scraper.
Scrapers, your best allies
For keep your cat from scratching the sofa you will have to do with several scrapers that are stable, that is, do not lie down easily or be too fragile, have a minimum height of 40 cm and are made of quality materials. Most felines prefer scrapers whose fibers are placed vertically or diagonally, however, as each cat is a world and, in general, are exquisite and selective animals, we advise you to meet your partner to offer him the best like him. In relation to this same point, many pigs opt for horizontal or ground scrapers, instead of vertical or high, although these tend to scratch the carpets, for example, instead of the sofa or curtains.
Once you have selected the right scraper, you should place it right next to the sofa. If the animal used the furniture to groom its nails, the use of synthetic pheromones It is the most appropriate. For this, one of the products most recognized for its effectiveness is FELISCRATCH by FELIWAY®, which consists of an exact copy of the natural pheromones that cats emit to mark by scratching. By placing the product on the scraper, an olfactory and visual signal is emitted which causes the cat to redirect its behavior towards the object “marked” with the product. Since it is a clinically proven product, it is not harmful to animals or toxic.
If, on the other hand, you scratch the sofa by marking due to stress, the FELIWAY range includes other products to improve the well-being of the cat, making it feel safer and more comfortable at home.
Another natural product that cats love and that can help redirect scratches to the scraper is the catnip, also known as catnip.
Finally, and linked to the fact of ensuring a correct environmental enrichment, it is recommended to provide more than one scraper, as well as other stimulating toys that keep it entertained and prevent the cat from scratching the sofa. See the article “The funniest toys for cats” and choose the right ones.
Limit access to the sofa
If after cleaning the sofa with the right products and placing the scraper right next to it, your cat is still scratching the furniture, the most recommended is to apply in clean areas, once dry, FELIWAY Classic Spray to mark the furniture as part of its safety zone and to change it, as well, the marks (pheromones) that incited it to scratch there.
Alternatively cover it with less stimulating fabrics for the animal, like old sheets, or materials that do not please you, like plastic, and limit your access until you redirect your instinct.
Keep your nails in perfect condition
In addition to offering scrapers that allow the animal to file their nails, it is essential to check them with certain periodicity to ensure that they are not too long and to avoid, thus, that the cat scratches the sofa. For this, there is the possibility of going to the feline hairdresser or to maintain their hygiene at home. In case of wanting cut the nails In the comfort of the home, it is essential to accustom the cat, first, to the fact of manipulating its paws touching them daily and rewarding it each time it is quiet, so it will relate this act with positive stimuli, which can be sweets, caresses, etc.
Once the cat has adapted to the manipulation of the legs, we will relate the scissors, also, with positive stimuli leaving them sniffing and rewarding the animal. As you accept the presence of this tool, we can start looking for the right moment, guarantee a quiet environment, and try to cut a nail without overwhelming it and with patience. For more details, we recommend consulting the article on “How to cut nails to a cat”.
Offer a stress-free environment
Many are the cats that scratch the sofa and other furniture as a result of the stress and boredom of a sedentary life, or by spending long hours alone at home. As we say, when this is the reason why a cat scratches the sofa, it is often accompanied by scratches on other objects and other behaviors such as nervousness, loss of appetite or, on the contrary, increase in it, or aggressiveness.
To avoid it, it is essential find the cause of stress in the cat and treat it, as well as improve environmental enrichment, follow the indications regarding the use of scrapers, offer a quality feed and spend time with the animal.
FELIWAY Classic Diffuser is an excellent solution for cats to feel comfortable at home and prevent behaviors such as marking with urine, scratching furniture or hiding, creating a pleasant environment at home.
Do not scold, always reward good behavior
The punishments do not get the cats to stop performing a certain behavior, but they develop in the animal a series of negative consequences for him and for the tutors. Some of these consequences can be aggressive behavior due to fear, staying hidden in the presence of humans, increasing unwanted behavior or the appearance of other problems. Therefore, regardless of watching your cat scratching the sofa, the solution to avoid it is not to scold him, but redirect his behavior by placing the scraper, encourage him to use it and, above all, reward him with words of encouragement, caresses, sweets or shared games . Positive reinforcement is always the best option when looking for solutions to prevent a cat from scratching the sofa, since the animal understands that by guiding its behavior towards another object, it gets a reward and, therefore, that is the right thing to do.
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