Do you have furry friends at home that you’re struggling to train? We’ve all been there. Owning animals is rewarding, but training them can be a serious headache especially cats. You are probably here because you were searching for “how to stop cats from scratching leather furniture”
While many people think that cats are easy to train in comparison to dogs, this isn’t always true. Even if you adopt an adult cat instead of a kitten, you’ll discover that it may still have blind spots regarding its training.
I’m here to talk about one common problem that pet owners struggle with: how to stop cats from scratching leather furniture.
You don’t want your get to ruin your favorite chairs and couches, so what can you do? I want to offer some guidance. Keep reading to learn all about how to train a cat to stop scratching and more.
First: Why Do Cats Scratch Furniture at All?
When cats are scratching your furniture, they aren’t doing it to be malicious or to ruin your favorite leather couch. They’re doing it out of instinct.
Your cat wants to keep its claws sharp and ready to tear into prey. While “prey” in this case is either the food that you buy them or their favorite toy, their wild instincts still kick in. By scratching, your cat is sharpening its claws and readying them for the next battle.
Scratching also allows cats to stretch out the joints and muscles in their paws. This makes them feel good after lounging around all day!
Some cats may scratch couches to mark their territory. Cats are territorial animals, and they want everyone to know that they own the living room!
Cats don’t only scratch leather furniture. They can scratch wood, pleather, upholstery, and anything else that they’re able to dig their claws into. While the scent of leather may appeal to them on some level, this isn’t likely a huge reason why they’re scratching.
If you got the leather couch secondhand, they might be scratching it because the previous owners had a cat! They can smell that cat and they want to put their own scent on the furniture instead.
Sometimes scratching is accidental. If your cat is leaving faint scratches, it’s possible that the cat was skidding across the couch while it was running and it had no intention of scratching. Oops!
If something scares your cat while it’s on the couch, it may dig its claws in! if you see tiny pinpricks on your couch, rest assured that this was unintentional.
How to Stop Cats from Scratching Leather Furniture
So now that you know why cats scratch furniture, you’re ready to learn how to stop your cat from scratching the couch. Knowing the reason is half of the battle!
There are several methods that you can use and some are more effective than others. Here are a few suggestions.
Provide Scratching Posts
If your cat doesn’t have enough scratching posts, how else is it going to sharpen its claws? Make sure that you have more scratching posts than you think that you need.
Scratching posts should appeal to cats more than furniture. They’re made of a material that feels good on the cat’s paws. When you provide plenty of posts, you’re giving your cat somewhere else to expend its energy.
Try to have at least one scratching post in every room that the cat spends time in. Put posts near the couch so that when the cat has the urge to scratch, it doesn’t have to go far.
When the cat starts scratching the couch, move it to the scratching post instead.
If you’re struggling to get the cat to scratch the post, spray the post with catnip spray. This should encourage the cat to choose the post over the leather furniture.
Create an Enriching Environment
Have you provided your cat with an environment that entertains and enriches it? If not, it’s not surprising that your cat is scratching so much.
Cat enrichment is easy and it doesn’t have to be expensive. You want to provide your cat with a playground that mimics the experience that it would have in the wild.
Look for ways to utilize vertical space. You can use cat trees and shelves to provide places for your cat to go when it’s feeling bored. Make sure that there are plenty of toys for the cat to bat around.
Trim or Cap Your Cat’s Claws
Do you keep your cat’s claws trimmed? If not, it’s time to start.
Not all cats need someone to trim their claws, but cats that are causing damage to the home do. Keeping their claws short (but intact) will minimize damage.
If this isn’t enough, try getting caps for your cat’s claws. These caps look like nail polish, so they’re also sweet accessories.
A note: cats don’t love having their claws trimmed and capped, so consider bundling your cat up burrito-style before you do it.
Tire Your Cat Out with Playtime
We all have busy lifestyles in 2022, but that doesn’t mean that our cats should have to suffer. Cats who get bored are more likely to exercise by scratching your furniture!
Try to take time out of your day to tire your cat out with a few quick play sessions. Even a handful of five to ten-minute play sessions will often be enough to tire out an adult cat.
Cats get short bursts of energy. This is why they get “the zoomies.” If your cat tends to scratch while it has the zoomies, this may be your best bet when it comes to preventing ruined furniture.
If you struggle to find time to play with your cat during the day, consider getting automatic toys that you don’t need to control. That said, as long as you play enough in the morning and at night, you should be fine.
Don’t Allow Your Cat on the Furniture At All
For some cats, the idea of tearing up your favorite furniture is just too tempting. Training a cat to avoid the furniture as a whole could be your only option.
This is troublesome if you love having your furry friend with you while you’re sleeping or watching television, but if your cat can’t resist the urge to claw into your leather furniture, it’s not worth it.
If you want to allow your cat on most furniture, but you don’t want it to attack your leather furniture, try using deterrents. Learning how to stop cats from scratching a leather couch may include making the couch so unappealing that they no longer want to pay attention to it.
Some cats hate tinfoil. Putting tinfoil on or around where your cat likes to scratch may upset it enough that it looks for somewhere else to go.
Cats also resist certain scents. They tend to avoid things that smell like banana, eucalyptus, and lavender. While you may not want to spray scents directly onto your leather couch, you can spray the floor or fabric around the leather to deter the cat.
It’s always more effective to reward a pet than it is to punish it. Use positive reinforcement when you’re training a cat to avoid your leather sofa.
In practice, this means that you’ll reward your cat when it chooses to scratch a scratching post instead of your furniture. Give it a small treat or verbal praise. Soon enough, you won’t have to use a reward system.
What Not to Do
While there are plenty of great methods that you can try to discourage your cat from scratching your leather furniture, there are also a few things that you should avoid.
Many people will offer bad cat training advice on the web. While the advice might work sometimes, it’s not the most effective way to solve your problem and it can cause resentment to build between you and your cat.
Here are a few things that you shouldn’t do when you’re trying to get your cat to stop scratching your leather furniture.
Don’t Frighten Your Cat
When you see your cat sharpening its claws on your favorite leather furniture, it’s normal for your first reaction to be some kind of emotional outburst. Whether you yell or make some kind of other loud noise, you want to scare your cat away from the couch, right?
While this might work, it can also backfire.
When you scare your cat, it’s going to dig its claws into the furniture, even if it’s not doing it on purpose. Your cat may also start associating you with something scary, which isn’t good for your relationship.
Don’t Spray Your Cat With Water
Spraying a cat with water is a common method of training, but that doesn’t mean that it’s a good one!
Sure, water will deter most cats (though some enjoy it), but it comes at a cost. Spraying your cat with water tells the cat that it can’t trust you. You don’t want your cat to be afraid of you.
You also don’t want your cat to see water as a bad thing. If you ever have to bathe your cat (cats do bathe themselves, but in certain situations, a bath might be necessary), you don’t want your cat to think that it’s being punished.
Aside from hurting your relationship with your cat, water can also hurt your leather couch if you don’t clean it up right away! Don’t take that risk. When there are so many better alternatives, spraying the cat isn’t necessary.
Don’t De-Claw Your Cat
This is the #1 worst thing to do when it comes to discouraging your cat from scratching your furniture.
Too many uninformed cat owners choose to declaw their cats because they’re worried about the cat damaging furniture or hurting family members. While it’s true that your cat won’t be able to scratch furniture without claws, you’re going to do serious damage if you declaw it.
When a vet declaws a cat, they also remove part of its paw (it’s similar to removing the top part of your finger rather than just your nail). This can lead to long-term pain and distrust.
Don’t value your furniture over your cat’s comfort. You can trim or cap claws, but leave them where they are.
Protecting and Repairing Your Couch
While you’re training your cat to avoid your couch, you can also take steps to protect it on your end.
Consider using couch covers, at least short-term. While you won’t be able to see your beautiful leather, you also won’t give your cat an opportunity to harm it. Couch covers are affordable and available in plenty of colors and patterns, so you’re sure to find one that will suit your home’s aesthetic.
You could also buy a leather scratch guard. If your cat only scratches the sides or arms of the furniture, this is a good option. It should minimize the damage while you train your cat.
When it comes to repairing a couch that’s already been damaged, you have a few options.
For minor scratches, you can use a leather repair kit or a coloring balm. You can get these items at many hardware or home and garden stores.
For serious scratches, we recommend hiring a professional. It will be expensive, but it’s less expensive than buying a new couch.
Is Your Cat Scratching Your Leather Furniture?
Cats don’t scratch furniture because they hate you. They do it because their instincts are telling them to! It’s your job to figure out how to stop cats from scratching leather furniture so you can live in harmony.
Try these tips. Remember, different tips will work for different cats, so if one doesn’t work, don’t be discouraged.
Are you looking for more helpful articles all about taking care of your furry friends? Check out the rest of my blog!
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