Hi humans! The first step in changing your cats annoying behaviors is always to figure out their WHY and simultaneously find something equal or better to offer them.
Now, I want you to do something for me. Go up to your cat and yell at them: WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS TO ME? Just kidding, don’t do that. You’ll only get a nasty, confused, judgy look. Just messing with ya…
For reals though, I am a cat, so I know. Your cat is scratching your favorite *anything* for a reason and we’ve gotta figure out why that is. For that, we need to talk briefly about the natural reasons cats need to scratch.
WHY DO CATS SCRATCH THINGS?
Scratching isn’t just a twisted way for your cat to piss you off. They need it for filing their nails, stretching their gorgeous limbs, and an important one that most people miss: Marking territory and spreading their pheromones. When a cat can smell their pheromones in a room, it makes them feel happy and secure! Purr!!!
Clearly, you can’t talk to your cat and ask them what’s it about scratching the couch that makes them so happy. Or maybe you do...If any of you knows cat language let me know because I’d like to tell the team here that I really enjoyed that one time they served me the pate instead of the chunky wet food!! Can I get that again tonight, please?LET'S ASK OURSELVES SOME QUESTIONS:
Okay, back to the pertinent subject. Most of you can’t literally talk to your cats, so we’re gonna have to do some deep psychology here. Put on your Freud glasses. We will start by asking ourselves some questions:
1- Where is the object your cat is scratching located?
2- Is it vertical, or horizontal scratching?
3- What is the texture of the item the cat is scratching?
4- What are my home’s most trafficked areas where my cat likes to hang? (living room, bedroom, office…). Those will be the areas you’d want to have a scratcher to offer.
Disclaimer here: Every cat is it’s own magical, beautiful, glamorous, incredible, superior, better than dogs, unique creature. Therefore this will help you brainstorm ideas and hopefully come to a solution. But ultimately all cats are different and some are very strong willed. If they want to scratchiezzz your couch they gonna scratchiezz your couch.
[Interesting fact to ponder on: Cats usually scratch couches because they are located in a high trafficked area of the house. That couch smells like you, it’s the focus of your home life. That’s why they want to blend their scent with it.]LOCATION:
Let's identify the location of your cat’s preferred scratching crazies. Once you know that, you will know where to put your beautiful scratching post. In all honesty, humans, you may have a long list of areas, not just one. You may have the bedroom, the baby’s room, the living room, the dining room...Even if you have a small house, your cat will have identified different “living” areas, so don’t think that because you have a studio you’re free from having to get more than one scratcher. YOU BROUGHT A TINY LION INTO YOUR HOUSE, human. Give us the scratching posts!
Another tip about location: Maybe you do have 3 scratchers laying around inconspicuous areas and you’re like, “but they’re not using them!!!”. Sorry, but they need to be somewhere easy for the cat to reach. Ideally, exactly next to the area they’re already scratching your furniture in. Yep, don’t be scared to put the scratcher right next to the couch, blocking the exact area they’re scratching. I know..I know, they don’t look that great...But how great does your couch look when it’s shredded like cheese? Also, some scratchers look really good, like the ones we’ve got here.
And here’s the bit of truth, if you really want them to stop this nasty behavior of destroying every nice thing you own, you will most likely have to come to terms with a fact: You will need more than one scratching post and it will have to be in plain sight. Maybe your BFF has a cat that only has one scratcher and it works for them….I get it. But your friend’s cat isn’t the one with the “scratching the couch” problem, yours is! LOL
Before we continue, I’m gonna tell you another truth about cats, because I am one and I know what I’m talking about: Cats don’t understand NO (maybe we do, but we don't care about it). We only understand YES. If you want us to avoid something, you gotta give us something that WE THINK is much better. A “yes for every no”, makes sense?
Now we gotta figure out the texture that your cat prefers and the direction they like to scratch in. Did you get a cardboard scratching post and they haven’t even touched it? Maybe they don’t like it. Yep, us cats are really fancy and we are very specific with our taste, hehe. There’s a few typical scratching post materials:
- Woven sisal (most preferred)
- Sisal rope
- Carpet (prob not good to teach them that scratching carpet is good, if you live in a carpeted house).
If you’re not sure what they’d like, I’d go with this one first. This one is always a hit.
Another thing to consider is that some cats like scratching horizontally and not vertically, or vice versa. Take a minute to observe that majestic creature that is allowing you to live in their dominion and then you’ll see what direction they’re scratching in. This is a great option for a horizontal scratcher.VERTICAL OR HORIZONTAL?
Once you have found the texture they like and the direction they enjoy scratching in, you have to make sure that the scratching post is sturdy enough for their bodies. Cats hate it when the post wobbles or when the scratching pad isn’t big enough for their body structure. We gotta streeeeetch.
Ok, you got the purrfect scratching post now and you’ve identified exactly where to place it/them. Some cats immediately understand that you got them exactly what they wanted, but most go by scent, a LOT. The fact that your beloved couch is already full of their pheromones is like a cat attractant. On the other hand, your brand new, shining scratcher smells like the factory it came from. For that reason, you may have to get a safe cat deterrent to spray on the big NO, NO area every 24 hrs until the behavior stops and counter it with a nice catnip to spray on the brand new beautiful scratchers to give it a big YES.
Alrighty human, I hope this helped you start identifying why the heck your cat is doing this to your home decor and solve the problem. If this didn’t help, well...You should just be grateful to live with a tiny lion.
Let us know in the comments if you have any questions or if this was helpful!
Purrs & Meows, your new favorite blogger: Clover!