My cat likes to hide under our couch and claw at the underside of it. It’s driving me crazy. Can I get him to stop?
You absolutely can teach your cat to not use your furniture as a scratching post — but before we delve into the specifics of how to change your cat’s behavior, let’s start by talking about why he may be doing this in the first place.
Since cats often scratch to shed their outer nail sheaths, regular nail trims might help reduce the scratching. But there could be something more serious going on: Retreating beneath the sofa could indicate that your cat isn’t feeling well, either physically or emotionally. A cat who is fearful, anxious or stressed may take shelter under a couch or bed to escape an upsetting situation — for example, a new babyor new pet in the home. And cats will often mask pain or illness, so your cat may be hiding, because he’s sick or injured.
In either case, the first step in dealing with the behavior is to schedule a visit to the veterinarian to determine if your cat is suffering from an undiagnosed medical condition, is in some type of physical discomfort, or if he’s anxious or stressed about something in his environment. Your vet may also refer you to a veterinary behaviorist for extra help as needed.