How to Stop Your Cat From Ruining the Furniture

Updated on February 18, 2019
crazybeanrider profile image

Boo McCourt has experience caring for cats and likes to share tips for reducing scratching.

Provide Your Cat With Something to Scratch

If you have a cat, or cats, then you more than likely have had some of your furniture tainted by your precious furry friend. If not, you are very fortunate. Or perhaps your cat doesn't have any claws, if you haven't the heart to remove your cats claws then you have had to live through the trial and error of getting your cat to scratch anywhere but on your good furniture or walls. Preferably on a scratching post. There is no way you are ever going to stop your cat from scratching.

Why? Because that is what a cat does. They scratch. It is in their nature. It is perfectly normal behavior. They do it because they have to. It is an urge, just like when you have to yawn. So instead of trying to stop your cat from scratching, training your cat to scratch in more appropriate places is a better option. This often is easier said than done. However it is not impossible. There are several ways you can motivate your cat to stop scratching your furniture, curtains and walls. Cats can be extremely destructive, there is no way you can babysit them 24 hours a day.

"I know I ruined your furniture, but I eventually learned other ways to scratch"
"I know I ruined your furniture, but I eventually learned other ways to scratch" | Source

Cats Love to Use Their Claws

There are a number of tricks you can try to break your cat from clawing its way through everything you own. Quite often people mistakenly think their cat scratches to sharpen its claws. But this is not always the case. More often than not, your cat is marking its territory, leaving both a visual mark and an odor or scent, showing those of you in the house that scratching that particular spot is to be left alone.

Another reason your cat is scratching random spots is to file down its nails and shed the outer edge. Have you ever looked around and found little claw pieces lying around where your cat scratches? If not take a good look next time, you will see this outer layer of your cat's nail. Cats need exercise just as much as we humans do. By scratching they are stretching, flexing their entire bodies, and showing you exactly who the boss is.

This also is showing dominance if you have other cats in the house. Cats love to play, sometimes you will see them bolt about the house, stop quickly and start scratching on whatever is available at that very moment. Be it curtains, sofa, chair or your finely painted wall.

Yes I expect you to play with those
Yes I expect you to play with those | Source

Give Your Cat a Scratching Post or Similar Item to Scratch

There are solutions like spraying a water bottle, loud noises, trimming, double-sided tape, and repellents. However, you will have to catch your cat in the act of destruction for many of these solutions to be successful.

Get a scratching post or as many as you think you need, put them in locations your cat likes to scratch. There are many variations of scratching posts. Big or small, choose whatever you have room for and can afford. Place a scratching post near the cat’s sleeping area, and rub a little catnip into them, this will encourage them to scratch in their favorite spot.

Cardboard has worked extremely well for me. Cats love boxes and paper. Lay compact pieces of broken down card board in areas your cat likes to sleep and play. I have five or six pieces laid throughout my apartment, my cats gradually started using the cardboard, and now they love it. Hopefully your cat will catch on how great cardboard is. You can also leave a few smaller boxes around the house, your cat will love hiding, playing and scratching inside them.

Hanging scratch posts can be successful as well, cats like to reach up, stretch and then scratch. This kind of scratching post is easily hung on a doorknob, making it convenient and out of the way.They are simply designed and can be used in every room in your house.

Diligence pays off. As a deterrent, put a little sticky tape or tin foil in the area they are not allowed to scratch. Cats are not fond of sticky tape or tinfoil. Many people use a spray bottle with water, but this is not my favorite approach. Try putting your cat's favorite treat on or near the allowed scratching locations.

If your cat is scratching on the disallowed areas, saying no in a firm tone while redirecting your cat to cardboard or scratching post as you simulate scratching will help teach new tricks. The hope is they will eventually catch on. My cats did, and they loved the cardboard. They perhaps thought I too was a cat after so much simulating, but my cats learned no furniture was allowed. I believe your cat can to.

Get Your Cat Scratch On

Trimming vs. Declawing

Trimming your cats claws every few weeks supports healthy cat. Trimming your cats claws can be quite easy if your cat will tolerate it. I find a quiet corner to do this. I give treats before during and after. I hold my cat firmly in my lap, sitting on the floor works best. I begin massaging my cats paws, pressing gently to extend the claw. I let go, give a treat and begin again. Most times she is comfortable enough to let me snip her nail without to much fuss.

You don't want to snip the pink part of the nail, if that is snipped it can bleed and cause pain. Never rush through the process of trimming your cats claws. Many cats will not tolerate it, you may have to go to a groomer or a veterinarian.There is also in addition to trimming, a product called Soft Claws, little rubber tips that go directly over your cats claws. You glue them over your cats claws. This application lasts about 4-6 weeks.

The caps are safe and non-toxic. At first your cat will probably feel very uncomfortable, and have a tendency to over groom, causing the caps to come off sooner rather than later. It all depends on how well your cat tolerates the Soft Paws. Research suggests most cats tolerate them very well. For more information look for Soft Claws online.

And as a last resort there continues to be declawing. I am a firm believer cats need to scratch. It is part of their nature. Part of who a cat is. Declawing is a radically painful medical procedure which involves removing the last joint of the toe using a scalpel. Declawing consists of actually amputating claws, and the whole phalanx up to the joint, including bones, ligaments and tendons. It is a very painful surgery for a cat, and a painful recovery time. Cats can become so shocked from the experience that it changes their personality.

Many cats that are put through the declawing process end up with lifelong psychological and behavioral problems. In some cases, your cat may stop using the litter box due to tender paws, they will associate the box as a source of pain and not want to use it anymore.However this is not always the case. declawing your cat is a moral decision you have to make on your own. Good old fashion training and hard work makes a good, obedient and loving cat, not to mention a happy satisfied owner.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Chilling on his cardboardResting with his cardboardThis is what comes natural. Stretch and scratch
Chilling on his cardboard
Chilling on his cardboard
Resting with his cardboard
Resting with his cardboard
This is what comes natural. Stretch and scratch
This is what comes natural. Stretch and scratch

Harsh Punishment Isn't Going to Work

Many people believe harsh punishment is going to change a bad behavior for the better. In fact harsh punishment can create more problems, making your cat afraid or aggressive. Teaching your cat where it is allowed to scratch instead of yelling, screaming, or spanking will save you both a lot of heartache. Try a firm noise like clapping, or tossing a pillow to get your cats attention. Hopefully with time your cat will learn to scratch in appropriate places. Be patient and good luck.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • peachpurple profile image


      3 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      i gave my cat old boxes and cartons, she loves scratching them

    • FlourishAnyway profile image


      3 years ago from USA

      You have lovely cats. They say it was all a terrible misunderstanding and thanks for the cardboard.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)