Cats tend to scratch around objects in your home. Being a cat owner, you would know how your kitty tore into that curtain or cardigan back in her childhood. Cats don’t want to randomly scratch on anything but like to pick their spots. And once they get habitual of scratching around a particular place, it gets challenging to stop them.
This situation is particularly hurtful when you have leather furniture at your home. Leather furniture adds a beautiful and elegant touch to your living room decor, and it’s an expensive investment. But what if your cat scratches and tears it days after you bought your new leather sofa cover?
You are probably going to hate your kitten for ruining the furniture like that. Leather gets easily torn up and looks disgusting with scratches. It’s crucial that you find a solution to this quickly. You need to make your cat learn a lesson on this. Here we will discuss the reasons for this behavior of your cat.
As you tread along the article, you would come to know some handy solutions you can employ to get rid of this irritating habit of your cat. We have also mentioned some repair measures and some measures to avoid.
Why do cats claw leather couches?
Before diving into the reason why cats particularly scratch leather couches, it’s essential to understand why they scratch leather furniture at all. The cat’s need to sharpen its claws is one of the most common reasons for cats to scratch the leather furniture. Their nails become long and painful if they don’t sharpen them periodically.
They thus, have to remove the dead outer layers every once in a while. Scratching is quite beneficial for cats. Its benefits include:
- Strengthen muscles- Cats don’t apply pressure and do a lot of exercises. Scratching hard strengthens their back and shoulder muscles, which makes them more flexible and agile. Good muscle tone also helps them live healthier and longer.
- Sense of security- When your cat sharpens its claws, you may have noticed that it released a scent that gives them a sense of security and ownership of the place.
The reason why cats especially choose leather furniture to scratch is that it’s sturdy and proper to hold. The fine and densely packed leather fibers let your cat really sink its claws into them. One motion of scratching in such furniture removed dead outer layers quickening and easing up their task.
Apart from easing up the process of removing the sheath, the leather is also a sound absorbent of smell. As cats like to leave their scent on the furniture, they get more satisfaction when the spit retains the scent. Your leather furniture will keep smelling for a long time after your cat scratches on it.
Is it normal for cats to scratch furniture?
Cats who live indoors usually sharpen their claws on furniture, which causes damage. While it isn’t an ideal situation to be in, you should realize that it is entirely normal for your cat to scratch furniture. But that’s usually only up to a limit.
Excessive scratching can point out to chronic stress issues in your cat. She may be sick, under some depression, or experiencing extreme boredom. You may need to contact the vet or take some measures, as discussed further in the article.
How to distract your cat from scratching furniture?
One way to limit the damage scratches to your furniture and other objects is by distracting your cat. The cat mostly starts scratching the furniture out of boredom and habit. If she has other things to do, she won’t remember scratching the furniture. It’s thus essential to distract her by making her do activities she would love.
You can offer her a variety of toys and pets for this purpose. Cat toys that stimulate scratching and clawing are also available in the market. You can distract your cat by giving her the following things:
- Soft feather toys
These lightweight toys are quite delicate, and your cat has to contract her claws while playing with them. It acts as a good workout for her paws.
- Food puzzles
Food puzzles are excellent sources of entertainment and keep cats indulge for an extended period of time. They also provide a good workout for her paws.
- String toys
These toys make your cat chase and pounce on them, which helps her burn energy. It also limits the desire to scratch destructively on furniture and helps her stay calm for more extended periods.
- Give her a scratch post
A scratch post comes in handy if you keep your cat indoor a significant fraction of time throughout the day. Some scratch posts also have toys that entertain and engage your cat for a long time.
Tips for choosing a Scratch post
You must consider the following properties while purchasing a scratch post to ensure it’s effective and meets your expectations:
- Sturdy built
The scratch post shouldn’t be too flexible and soft. It should provide a stable base for your cat to scratch and play with. The sturdy built allows your cat to sharpen her nails and remove outer cover by digging them into the post. Hard and stable built of furniture is what attracts the cats to scratch upon them.
- Good height
Cats like to scratch on objects that are sufficiently tall, and they have to reach out to. They also want to scratch in a vertical position. Consider the height of the scratch post while buying, which should be a minimum of 90cm. You may choose a longer scratch post depending upon your cat’s height and habits.
- One for each cat
If you are one of those people who like to have multiple pets at your home, you should buy a separate cat post for each of them. Cats hate sharing as much as you do, so two cat posts would be the best deal.
- Sofa Protection
It would be best if your scratch post can be tied to the sofa legs. You can easily tie them down and make them more stable on the sofa legs.
- Sisal Fabric
Choose sisal fabric over sisal ropes as they cater best for cats.
What to do if your cat isn’t using scratch post?
A lot of cat owners complain that their cat doesn’t use the scratch post. While it is a waste of investment in such cases, it also means that their cat is still scratching the leather furniture. If your cat isn’t using the scratch post and again tearing up the furniture, the following tips might come in useful for you:
- Place scratch post near the exit
Cats feel vulnerable during scratching, and your cat might avoid using the scratch post if you have closed the exit around it. Try to place it near a door or window to make your cat feel that she can quickly get away whenever she wants while scratching.
- Place it near the cat’s bed
Scratching opens up your cat’s muscles, and she usually accompanies it with stretching. Cats like to stretch and scratch as soon as they wake up to remove muscle stiffness. Keep the scratch post near her bed and make it reachable for her as soon as she wakes up. Avoid keeping leather furniture near her bed and shift it to a new place if she sleeps near it.
- Scent Marking
Cats like to mark their scratching territory with their scent. If your cat has released her fragrance onto the scratching post, she’s most likely to make it a habit to scratch on the post only. You can rub her paws on the newly bought scratch post to make her familiar with it. If she tries to avoid scratching her claws on the post, you can wipe cloth on her cheeks and then rub it on the scratch post.
- Make her learn
If your cat has developed the habit of scratching the leather furniture, she’s likely to go back to it despite the availability of a scratch post. You should make her understand that the scratch post is kept primarily for her. Whenever you see her scratching the furniture, just pick her up and place her near the post. Avoid shouting at her and point at the post to tell her that she can scratch there.
- Buy different scratch posts
If your cat is stubborn and would only scratch the furniture, you need to buy a variety of scratch posts and place it in different areas of your home to invite your cat. Try buying scratch posts of different shapes and height to attract your stubborn pet.
- Pheromone Spray
You can use pheromone sprays on the post to attract your newly bought kitten to scratch the post. This trick doesn’t work on cats who have developed a habit of scratching the furniture, so don’t buy such sprays if that is the case with your pet.
Kill the addiction by addiction using catnip on the post. Many cats find catnips irresistible, so you can rub some dry catnip on the post to attract her to it. Use it in a small quantity and discontinue when your cat makes it a habit to scratch the post.
- Avoid replacing old scratch posts
Your cat would naturally damage the post over time, and it will start looking worn down and tattered. You may want to replace the post with a new one that is more visually appealing. Avoid doing that as your cat would probably have developed a liking to her old post. You can instead choose to wipe off the tatters and vacuum the post for a cleaner look.
All the above tips are quite useful but should be supplemented with consistent effort and patience. It’s difficult for an animal to learn a new behavior quickly. If none of these tips works, you might want to consider other factors around your cat that are stressing her.
Should I trim my cat’s claws?
One option of reducing the damage on furniture that comes to mind is clipping her claws. You need to understand that your cat might become stressed and lose her mobility if you trim her nails. Healthy and active cats don’t need to get their claws trimmed at all.
It might be a good option for cats who can’t scratch freely or are less mobile. You may also try trimming her claws if she’s scratching excessively. You would find it easier to trim your cat’s claws if she’s a newborn or quite young. Older cats become adamant and resist if you haven’t cut their nails from a young age. It’s best to consult the vet or grooming specialist if your cat resists when you try to clip her claws.
How to protect the furniture from cat scratches?
Apart from distracting your cat from scratching the furniture, you can try covering the furniture using the following items to minimize or limit the damage:
Pick out some discarded old blankets from the store and cover the ends of the couch using them. You should prefer thick sheets that you don’t mind getting scratched. Securing the blanket on the ends is essential because cats usually like to scrape the ends or feet of the sofa and might pull it down if you don’t secure the cover properly.
- Couch slipcovers
Couch slipcovers are better equipped to stay in place than a blanket. Cover your couch with one of those to prevent the scratches from reaching the leather.
- Scratch Guards
You can find adhesive tabs called scratch guards, especially for leather furniture in the market. They may decrease the beauty of your couch but would necessarily protect it from damage.
- Help your cat reach the sofa
If you have a small cat or kitten, she may scratch the furniture while trying to climb on the couch. Add a wooden step near the sofa to provide your cat with a platform to climb on it.
- Place undesired objects around the couch
You can place objects like aluminum foil, double-sided tape, and sandpaper that would make it difficult for your cat to scratch the couch. Place them near the areas that you cat scratches, which may dissuade her from doing that. You can also keep unpleasant-smelling plants of menthol and citrus around the couch to shoo away your cat. These items, fortunately, don’t smell bad to humans.
These covers are just to minimize the damage until your cat learns to scratch on the post or a different object as they might become irritating in the long run. You might remove the cat scent from furniture in the first place for damage control.
- Remove cat scent from the furniture
Before you make your cat scratch the post, you need to dissuade her from scratching her favorite place i.e.; you favorite leather couch. Removing the scent from the furniture will undoubtedly break the connection between your cat and the furniture. Follow these steps to remove the scent quickly:
- Vacuum clean the furniture first to wipe off the debris. Use a brush attachment for this purpose.
- Remove the dust trapped in the claw marks using a damp microfiber cloth.
- Mix equal parts of water and white vinegar. Soak a microfiber cloth in the solution and ring it out. Wipe the couch carefully whilst paying particular attention to the damaged parts that carry most of the scent.
- Leave the furniture untouched to dry in the air for several hours. Keep your cat away from the furniture at that time. This process will eliminate the scent from the furniture, and your cat won’t be attracted to scratch on it anymore.
Should I use a furniture spray that repels cats?
Cat repellent furniture sprays are available in the market, and it seems an easy idea to spray it on the leather couch and solve the problem instantly. You can also use a solution of lemon essential oil and water to do the same job. Unfortunately, PDSA doesn’t approve of this idea and for good reasons.
Furniture sprays and lemon oils can repel cats but can be potentially toxic and harmful to your cat. Using such a technique can also make your cat feel excluded from a part of her home, which in turn may result in stress and anxiety.
In the process of saving your furniture, you would probably not want your cat to become ill or anxious. You’d be better off convincing your cat to change her ways than force her into a stressful position. The steps discussed above can be challenging to implicate, but it’s definitely realistic to do that.
When do you need to see a vet?
While it is natural for your cat to scratch objects regularly, it might point to an emergency in some cases. You may want to consult the vet in the following circumstances:
- If you find your cat scratching her own body frequently
- She starts scratching excessively and more often and usually. You can also infer this if you notice excessive damage to the furniture
- If your cat starts scratching and clawing on your skin without being provoked to do so
- Cat has grown extremely long claws, or you find her nails broken or split
- Showing unreasonable aggression or hiding around or meowing too much
These symptoms may point out to either an illness or anxiety. You should discuss with your vet about the kind of behavioral issues you are noticing and the possible reasons behind them.
What not to do if your cat is scratching the couch?
It’s understandable to get angry with your cat for destroying your luxurious leather furniture. But it’s vital to avoid overtly losing your temper on the animal. Avoid the following things when your cat is scratching the couch:
- Declawing the cat
You shouldn’t cut off your cat’s claws despite her destroying the furniture as it affects her natural behavior.
- Using claw covers
You must avoid using claw covers, which can cause unnecessary pain and injury to your cat.
- Punishing the cat
Avoid screaming and beating up your cat if you catch her scratching the couch. You should instead pick her up and take her to the scratching post. Anxiety is the primary cause of excessive scratching, and your punishment may compound the problem. Your cat might scratch the furniture more if you punish her for doing that.
Can you repair cat scratches on leather furniture?
If your cat has punctured or torn up your newly bought leather furniture, there is some good news in store for you. You can quickly fix tears on leather furniture using repair products readily available at home. Use the following tips to repair leather furniture:
- Trim the damaged area using scissors. Trim only the thin strands carefully.
- Use a leather binder to bind the affected area.
- Add some sand and a heavy filler on damaged areas.
- Apply several coats of colorant after sanding the area down twice or as per required. Let the colorant dry and reapply it multiple times for a neat look.
You can repair leather furniture of a standard, plain color at home easily using the following tips. Follow the instructions given in this article to prevent further damage to your favorite couch.
Is there any furniture that the cats won’t scratch?
Leather furniture is super easy to clean and give a luxurious feel to your home, but your cat is likely to scratch them more than other material. You might consider choosing furniture made of the following fabrics that your cat is less likely to scratch:
The slippery nature of velvet will probably not attract your cat to scratch it. Additionally, claw marks don’t usually show up clearly on velvet, and so it is likely to stay looking new for a longer time.
Microfiber suede fabric is exceptionally soft and hard to grip. Your cat won’t like such material to scratch upon and is likely to choose the scratch post over it.
Scratching is a natural process, and rather than punishing your cat; you should apply the tips given in this article to minimize the damage. Distract her and redirect her scratching somewhere else to reduce her anxiety and boredom. It’s essential to be gentle and not force her to change her ways instantly. Be patient and help your cat ease into scratching the post.