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You are here: myPetSmart.com > Pet Care Library > Articles > Ways To Prevent Furniture Scratching

Ways to Prevent Furniture Scratching

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All cats need to scratch to detach the outer shell on their nails so the new growth is exposed. If your cat doesn't scratch, the outer layer of its nails will continue to grow into its footpad, which is very painful. Cats also scratch to mark their territories and stretch their muscles and tendons. But, as some Pet Parents may have experienced, a cat can quickly turn a sofa or chair into a ripped mess. Here's some ways to redirect your cat's urge to scratch from your furniture.

Provide a scratching alternative

Since you don't want your cat to scratch your furniture, you need to teach her to use a scratching post. The trick to getting your cat to use her scratching post is to find a post your cat likes. Many different styles of scratching posts are available. Some are made of cardboard, tree trunks, carpeted or covered with rope. If you see your cat stretching up high when she scratches, try a vertical post. Make sure the post is secured to the ground -- your cat won't use the post if it tips over. If your cat is scratching on the carpet, try a horizontal cardboard post. You might have to show your cat how to use her post. Try to mimic scratching the post, by running your nails along the post. Spraying the post with a catnip spray is another way to entice your cat to use it.

Be sure to praise your cat each time she uses her post. Never place your cat's paws on the post and move them up and down. This may scare your cat and she might reject the post.

Make Furniture Unappealing

Making your furniture seem unattractive to your cat is another way to encourage her to use the scratching post. Slipcovers work well because your cat won't be able to grip the furniture through the slipcover. You can also buy plastic stick-on corners that make the furniture harder to scratch or you can cover the corners of your furniture with tinfoil.

When you see your cat trying to scratch the furniture, say 'No!' loudly to dissuade her. Other methods of dissuasion include squirting her with water from a spray bottle. Never hit your cat if you find her scratching something she shouldn't.

Trim Sharp Claws

Clipp the sharp tips of your cat's claws every few weeks to help prevent them from becoming snagged in carpets and fabrics. Trimmers especially for pets should be used. It may take some time to get your cat used to having her nails clipped, so take it one claw at a time, until she is comfortable having her claws trimmed. Get your cat accustomed to having her paws handled and squeezed by petting her legs and paws frequently.

Smart Tip: to complement your cat's trim, consider finishing your cat's nails with vinyl nail caps, such as Soft Claws®, the caps cover the claw tips so no damage occurs when your cat scratches and adhere for approximately three months.

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