How To Stop Cat Scratching?

Disclaimer: The information presented below is for general informational & educational purposes only. Always consult with animal professionals in case of specific concerns.

In this blog post, we will discuss effective strategies and techniques to help you stop cat scratching once and for all.

Are you tired of coming home to scratches on your furniture and shredded curtains? If you’re a cat owner, you may have experienced the frustration of trying to stop your furry friend from scratching everything in sight. But don’t worry, you’re not alone. Many cat owners face this problem and it can be quite challenging to find the right solution. In this blog post, we will explore some effective tips and techniques on how to stop cat scratching. From understanding why cats scratch to providing them with appropriate alternatives, we’ll cover all the essential information you need to create a scratch-free environment for both your feline friend and your beloved furniture. So, if you’re ready to bid farewell to scratched sofas and torn upholstery, let’s dive into the world of cat scratching solutions and discover how you can maintain a harmonious home with your pet.

How To Stop Cat Scratching?

To prevent your cat from scratching, consider the following steps:

  • Provide appropriate scratching posts: Cats naturally need to stretch and sharpen their claws. Providing scratching posts or boards in strategic locations around your home can help fulfill this instinct in a non-destructive way.
  • Regularly trim your cat’s nails: A cat’s desire to scratch often correlates with the length of their nails. Regular trimming can reduce their need to scratch. 
  • Use deterrents: Products such as sticky tape or sprays can be applied to furniture to make them less appealing to your cat.
  • Train your cat: Positive reinforcement methods can be used to train your cat to use scratching posts. Reward them when they scratch the post instead of the furniture. 
  • Consider using soft nail caps: Soft nail caps like ‘Soft Paws’ can be glued to a cat’s claws to prevent them from causing harm when they scratch.
  • Feliway Spray or Diffuser: Feliway is a synthetic copy of the feline facial pheromone that cats use to mark their territory as safe and secure. It can be used to discourage scratching of furniture.

Remember to always approach this issue with patience and understanding. Scratching is a natural behavior for cats, and it’s important to guide their instincts rather than trying to eliminate them completely.

Why Do Cats Scratch?

Cat,animal,scratching,free pictures, free photos - free image from

Cats scratch for a variety of reasons, which are primarily instinctive, and include:

  • Marking Territory: Cats have scent glands in their paws. When they scratch, they leave behind both a visual mark and a scent to establish their territory.
  • Sharpening Claws: Scratching helps remove the dead outer layer of their claws, keeping them sharp and healthy.
  • Stretching: Scratching allows cats to flex their feet and claws, stretch their bodies, and work off energy.
  • Emotional Expression: Cats may also use scratching to express emotions such as excitement or stress.
  • Exercise: The act of scratching also serves as a form of exercise for cats, engaging various muscle groups. 

Understanding these motivations can help us manage cat scratching behavior in a way that respects their natural instincts while protecting our furniture.

Is It Necessary To Stop Cats From Scratching?

While it might be frustrating to see your beloved furniture under the mercy of your cat’s claws, it’s crucial to understand that scratching is an innate and necessary behavior for cats. Rather than attempting to stop your cat from scratching, it’s more about redirecting this behavior towards more appropriate outlets, like scratch posts or boards. Completely preventing a cat from scratching can lead to negative effects on their physical and mental health, causing potential muscular issues due to lack of proper stretching, stress due to inability to mark territory or express emotions, and discomfort from unshed outer nail layers. Therefore, the goal should be managing this behavior in a way that respects their natural instincts while protecting your furniture and keeping your cat healthy and happy.

Are There Any Products That Can Help Prevent Scratching?

Yes, there are several products available that can help prevent scratching and protect furniture. Here are some options:

  • Scratching Posts and Boards: Available in a variety of shapes and textures, these products allow cats to fulfill their scratching instincts without damaging furniture. 
  • Furniture Guards: These protective covers can be fixed on the corners of sofas and other furniture to prevent cats from scratching them. 
  • Feliway Spray or Diffuser: A synthetic copy of the feline facial pheromone that cats use to mark their territory as safe and secure. It can discourage scratching of furniture.
  • Soft Paws: Soft, harmless nail caps that can be glued to a cat’s claws to prevent them from causing harm when they scratch. 
  • Anti-Scratch Sprays: These products can be sprayed on furniture to deter cats from scratching. They typically contain ingredients that cats find unpleasant. 
  • Catnip: Often used in scratching posts or boards to attract cats and encourage their use. 
  • Tactile Deterrents: Products like sticky tape can make surfaces less appealing to scratch. 
  • Laser Pointer or Interactive Toys: These can divert a cat’s attention and reduce the desire to scratch furniture.
  • Cat Tree or Cat Condo: These multi-level structures allow cats to climb, explore, and scratch safely.
  • Sisal Fabric: Often used to cover scratching posts, sisal fabric is a durable and cat-friendly material that can withstand intense scratching.

Remember, what works best will depend on the individual cat’s preferences and habits. It may take some experimentation to find the optimal solution.

Can Declawing A Cat Be An Option To Stop Scratching?

Declawing a cat might seem like a straightforward solution to stop scratching, but it is highly discouraged by many veterinary and animal welfare organizations. This procedure involves the surgical removal of the cat’s claws, which is equivalent to amputation of a human finger at the last knuckle. Not only is this operation painful, but it can also lead to long-term physical and behavioral problems. Cats use their claws for various crucial purposes like defense, balance, and mobility. Depriving them of their claws can lead to discomfort, walking slowly, increased aggression, or alternative destructive behaviors. Furthermore, this procedure deprives cats of their primary means of self-defense and can lead to increased feelings of vulnerability. Therefore, declawing is not seen as a humane or ethical option to address scratching behavior. Instead, efforts should be focused on providing appropriate outlets for scratching and using positive reinforcement techniques to encourage their use.

Are There Certain Materials Or Textures That Cats Prefer To Scratch?

Cats may show preferences for different materials and textures for scratching based on their individual tastes. The following are some of the most commonly preferred materials:

  • Sisal: This is a durable, coarse material that many cats love to dig their claws into. Its rough texture makes it very satisfying for cats to scratch.
  • Carpet: Some cats prefer the feel of carpet under their claws. A vertical scratching post or a horizontal scratcher with carpet texture could be a good choice for these cats.
  • Cardboard: Many cats love scratching corrugated cardboard. It’s not as durable as sisal or carpet, but it’s inexpensive and can be easily replaced. However, pay attention as cats may eat some pieces of cardboard that fall out from the post. 
  • Wood: Some cats love scratching wood, particularly if it’s untreated. Wooden scratch posts or even logs can offer a satisfying texture for these cats.
  • Burlap: This material has a rough texture that some cats find appealing for scratching.
  • Jute: Similar to sisal, jute is a rough and durable material that many cats enjoy scratching. 

How Can I Train My Cat To Use Scratching Posts Instead Of Furniture?

Training your cat to use scratching posts instead of furniture requires a combination of patience, consistency, and positive reinforcement. Here are some strategies you can follow:

  • Placement: Position the scratching post next to the furniture your cat usually scratches. Cats often scratch after waking up from a nap, so consider placing a post near their favorite sleeping spot.
  • Enticement: Using catnip or favorite cat toys can make the scratching post more appealing. Sprinkle some catnip on the post or dangle a toy around it to get your cat interested.
  • Reward: Whenever your cat uses the post, reward them with cat treats, praise, or petting. This reinforces the positive behavior.
  • Redirect: If you catch your cat scratching the furniture, gently redirect them to the scratching post. Never punish them as it can create fear and confusion.
  • Start Young: If possible, introduce the scratching post when your cat is a kitten. The earlier they are accustomed to it, the easier the training process will be.

Remember, every cat is different, and what works for one might not work for another. It might take time and a little experimentation to find what motivates your cat to use the scratching post.

How Long Does It Take To Stop Cat Scratching Behavior?

The duration it takes to curb a cat’s scratching behavior varies largely depending on the specific cat, its age, its personality, and the methods being employed. For some cats, it might only take a few weeks to establish new scratching habits, especially if you’re introducing these changes when they’re still kittens. However, for older cats or those with firmly ingrained habits, it could take several months to see a complete change in behavior. Patience, consistency, and a steady supply of positive reinforcement are key throughout the process. It’s also important to remember that scratching is a natural instinct for cats, and the goal should not be to stop it entirely but to redirect it towards appropriate outlets.

Read more: What Is Cat Scratch?


In conclusion, while it may seem like a never-ending battle, there are effective ways to stop your cat from scratching. By understanding the reasons behind this behavior and using positive reinforcement techniques, you can train your cat to redirect their scratching to appropriate surfaces. Remember to provide your feline friend with plenty of scratching posts and regularly engage them in interactive playtime to keep their nails trimmed and satisfy their natural instincts. If all else fails, seek advice from a veterinarian or professional animal behaviorist for personalized solutions. With patience, consistency, and love, you and your cat can find a peaceful coexistence without sacrificing your furniture. Let’s join together in protecting our homes and nurturing our beloved furry companions!