If you have a cat that loves to get busy with their claws, you know the pain of hearing the upholstery of your couch holding on like a thread under the sharp nails all too well. It’s a sound and visual that serves nightmares, with your furniture being the attack ground of your kitty who you love but is also driving you a bit crazy. While you may have grown up with the idea that if your cat is doing something bad, you should just spray them, it’s a reprimanding technique that doesn’t actually work. Instead of the water being a learning lesson to teach them that what they’re doing is bad, what it actually does is make them scared of you, not their actions.
There are several ways that can deter your feline from tearing apart your furniture and help you gain a peace of mind if you can’t jump to your couch’s rescue if you’re away from the house.
Create Other Outlets
Some cats love to scratch furniture because they just don’t have anything else that they like to play with. If you bought your furry companion some mice, but they aren’t enjoying them, try getting them some string toys or scratching posts instead. Entertaining your cat may be a lot of trial and error, but buying toys is a lot cheaper than having to purchase a replacement couch.
Schedule Play Time
Oftentimes, cats like to attack the couch not as a need to file their nails but as an outlet for attention. Whether they’re a cuddle bug or they absolutely hate physical touch, kitties love to have your undivided attention all the same. As the saying goes, cats only stand attention when they want it. So, to help this issue, carve out some play time every day when your furry friend starts to hit their “zoomies” phase. Instead of them going crazy on your couch upholstery, you can distract them by pulling out their favorite toy for some mutual bonding.
Apply Double-Sided Tape
If your cat has a plethora of toys and activities but still loves to scratch the couch, applying double-sided tape to the surface can help deter your feline from committing the act in the future. Cats don’t like the feeling of stickiness on their paws, and when they can’t get a good strike in because of the tape, they’re not even going to want to try it in the future.
Establish a Barrier
This can be as simple as draping a blanket of the part of the couch that they love to attack. Not only can it help to make your area appear cozier, it will also make scratching the couch more difficult for your cat. While your kitty may become bright enough to simply move the deterrent, they might not even care that much to try.
Practice Positive Re-Enforcement
While spraying your cat may get them to stop scratching at the surface in front of you, their apprehension starts only out of fear of what you may do. So, what that means is it won’t always work if you’re not around. While they may not scratch the couch in front of you, it’s no-holds-barred while you’re at the workplace or out of town. Spritzing them when you get home won’t help because they won’t even know what they’re in trouble for.
So, the best thing you can do is when you catch them in the act, pick them up, take them to another room, and play with them at the new location. Move them away from the thing you don’t want them to hurt. You can also simply lift them away and pet them when the couch is out of site at a designated spot. Giving them a treat may seem like backwards behavior, but when you give them a treat for stopping the action at the specific location they set, they’re more likely to return to that placement for the treat than to try messing with the couch in the future. Depending on your cat’s personality, it really can work.
Larissa Hamblin is a digital writer based in Brooklyn.