A cat scratching sofas is probably the equivalent to a dog chasing a ball. It’s normal for cats to scratch objects in their environment for many reasons.
1)To remove the dead outer layer of their claws.
2)To mark their territory by leaving both a visual mark and a scent – they have scent glands on their paws.
3)To stretch their bodies and flex their feet and claws.
4)To work off energy.
Because scratching is a normal behavior, and one that cats are highly motivated to display, it’s unrealistic to try to prevent them from scratching. Instead, the goal in resolving scratching problems is to redirect the scratching onto acceptable objects.
Are you one of those owners who is guilty of loving your four-legged furball too much ? Find yourself reciting “Oh well, what can I do?” one too many times?
Don’t fret! I’ve trolled the internet and interviewed a few owners and found that there’re quite a few techniques to stop your destroyer. And while it won’t stop them scratching completely, I can safely say it’ll make a huge difference to your IKEA sofa or a brand new slipcovers.
1. Physical Punishment
While I found that some sort of physical punishment may work, they actually cause either fear or aggression towards you. All healthy relationship should be built on love and respect rather than fear, don’t you think?
2. Citrus Spray
Using spraying methods, with citrus or bitter apple (or any acidic substance) will help deter them from your sofa. Word of caution for cuddly cats; while Dice (my cat) does keep its itching paws away from the armrest, he doesn’t smooch up when I’m using the couch.
3. Water Gun
Another experiement I did recently, was a bit more entertaining. It involves a water gun and an assertive ‘NO’ every time he does it. Drawback is that you’ll never find out whether it really stops them when you’re not around. Unless of course, you have CCTV on your IKEA Sofas 24/7 (sounds a bit crazy!). But if you’re discipline enough with this, eventually they’ll think twice before deciding on launching an attack to the nearby sofa cover/curtain/jackets etc.
4. Scratching Pole/ Itch Pad
I know that some of you (let’s not point any fingers here) were waiting for this and have been silently chanting “SCRATCHING POLE, SCRATCHING POLE !”. But do they really ONLY scratch the pole? You wouldn’t be reading this otherwise. Try alternating between a pole and an itch mat. Tip: You could use catnip, give ’em treats and praise them whenever they use it.
It does not matter which method you choose to prevent your furniture from getting destroyed. Best advice is to start when they are young and use a combination of the methods above. Also, as the claws grow too long and become curved, they can’t be retracted completely. You should clip off the sharp tips of your cat’s claws on all four feet every week or so. Clipping your cat’s claws will also help prevent them from becoming snagged in carpets, fabrics and skin. Be warned that, it is unfair to expect them to stop scratching altogether but you will be able to find solutions to destructive habits.
As for your sofa covers, simply make sure that you invest in high-quality, durable upholstery fabrics. If you’re Ikea sofa covers have been turned into paper mache; maybe it’s time to get new ones from Comfort Works.
You’ll be glad to know that we’ve recently re-covered the office chair in KINO Charcoal and it has been withstanding the cat’s claws. But who knows what will happen in 2 months . Till then, keep on reading and I’ll keep you posted. Fingers crossed!