Is your cat scratching your furniture and trying to use his or her claws on anything but a scratching post? Couch, carpet, wallpaper, everything gets destroyed in minutes. When you get a new piece of expensive furniture, it’s most likely that your cat will want to scratch it. Is there any way to stop it? Of course there is.
In this article, you are going to learn how to stop your cat from scratching furniture, walls, and carpets, without punishing, declawing, or getting rid of your cat.
IMPORTANT: Scratching is NOT an expression of dislike toward you or your furniture. Scratching is a natural behavior of cats, similar to eating or sleeping. The solution to scratching lies in redirecting this behavior toward appropriate items, not in stopping it.
Where do you hide your cat’s scratching post?
By far the most popular reason why cats scratch furniture is an inadequate number and improper placement of cat scratching posts.
If your cat doesn’t show an interest in his new scratching post, your first thought might be that the scratching post is not satisfactory enough or that there is something wrong with the cat. The thing is, it’s neither of these. In a majority of cases, the scratching post is nowhere to be seen.
We agree that not all cat scratching posts are visually appealing (though today’s markets provide several sophisticated ones, too), but that should not be a reason to hide it around a corner or in a basement. Because if you do hide your cat’s scratching post, it becomes useless. Why?
Why cats need to scratch
To answer the above question, let’s take a look at why cats scratch.
- Claw maintenance. Most people know that their cats sharpen their claws while scratching. This is true, but if it were the only reason, you could indeed tuck the post away and get it out, let’s say, once a week for nail maintenance. But there are more important things involved in scratching.
- Exercise. Cats also stretch while they scratch. This must be done daily, and from our experience, if your cat’s “gym” is too far away, she will just choose a closer match. Like your couch.
- Territory marking. Scratching leaves visual marks and a scent from the cat’s paw pads. In your cat’s opinion, these marks cannot be left at just any place. Every location where they are distributed is important to your cat. This means that cats need to scratch in specific locations. And not just one of them.
Where to place cat scratching posts
Once you understand that your cat needs to scratch in many places throughout the house, it becomes much easier to understand that you need more than one scratching post and understand where to place them. Your cat doesn’t need a post in a closet where no one goes.
Here are good locations for a scratching post:
- Places where your cat scratches already. By scratching at those locations, your cat is already telling you where he wants the post to be. You don’t even need to understand cat language or figure out why your cat scratches in a certain location. Who cares? If your cat scratches there, it must be an important location.
- Near your cat’s activity spots. That is, at least one post should be in every room where your cat spends a significant amount of time. More posts are preferred, especially in central family gathering rooms. If a cat naps frequently on a couch, she is very likely to scratch it, so you should place a post nearby. If a cat watches birds through a window, it’s very likely he will need a scratching post or pad nearby.
- Near pathways. Wild cats leave scratch marks along their usual everyday paths and especially in places where they intersect with the paths of other cats. In a household, places like door frames, pieces of furniture, and corners along the way from a napping location to the feeding station and then to the litter box are commonly marked, so place a scratching post or a few along the way. Wall pads are great for this purpose.
- Next to the home entrance. Not all cats, but many, mark along the perimeter of their territory. In a home environment, this perimeter is often limited to the front door of the house. It may be a good idea to place a scratching post (or even a cat tree with a perch) near the entrance. This way, your cat will be able to leave scratch marks for visitors to see and climb on an elevated napping location to securely observe whoever comes in.
These four points should give you a picture about where to place scratching posts the way your cat wants them. If you have some uncertainties, it’s always a good rule to introduce as many as you can and place them evenly throughout the whole house.