9 Steps To Stop Your Cat From Scratching Furniture

9 Steps To Stop Your Cat From Scratching Furniture

Protecting your furniture can be one of the most frustrating aspects of being a cat owner. But don’t worry – cats can be trained not to damage furniture!

A properly trained cat will avoid your furniture and use their scratching posts instead. This is ideal for kittens and younger cats, but even older cats can be trained not to scratch furniture.

Keep reading to learn 9 easy steps to train your cat to stop scratching furniture.

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Why do cats scratch furniture?

First, it’s important to understand why cats scratch things in the first place.

  • Stretching: Cats use scratch surfaces to stretch their body.
  • Mark Scent: A cat’s paw pads contain glands that release their scent on a surface. This helps cats mark their territory. If you have multiple cats, it is important for them to have their own unique place to scratch.
  • Claw Shedding: Cats can shed the outside of their claws by scratching surfaces. Shedding this outer layer keeps their claws healthy.
  • Relaxation: Clawing helps cats relieve stress and prevent other stress-induced behaviors.

**IMPORTANT** Scratching is an important part of maintaining cat health. Your goal is not to make your cat stop scratching entirely. Instead, your goal should be for your cat to scratch safe surfaces other than your furniture.

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What about declawing?

Declawing has been a strong subject of debate in cat ethics for years now. Some people might consider declawing an option to prevent their furniture from being damaged.

But it is important to understand that declawing a cat is equivalent to amputating 1/3 of the finger. This negatively impacts the cat’s quality of life by impairing their ability to walk, balance, and feel sensation in their paws.

Declawing is even worse for cats that live both inside and outside because they are unable to protect themselves in the event of an emergency.

Because of this, declawing is considered unethical by the vast majority of veterinary organizations. Some vet clinics won’t offer the service at all and strongly discourage the practice.

Please don’t declaw your cat – learn how train your cat not to scratch furniture with the 9 easy steps listed below.

9 Steps To Prevent Your Cat From Scratching Furniture

Step 1: Buy several scratching posts and and toys so your kitty has plenty of options. Make sure the scratching posts are sturdy and don’t fall over when your cat tries to use them.

It is important to pick the right type of scratching post for your cat. To learn how to select the scratching post that is right for your cat, read this article first: How to Choose the Best Scratching Post for Your Cat

Step 2: Put the scratching posts in areas your cat spends the most time in. If your cat scratches the furniture, place the posts near the furniture.

Make sure the scratching posts are not tucked away or hidden. They need to be easily accessible to your cat.

Step 3. Spray the scratching posts with catnip spray. You can also rub loose-leaf cat nip on the posts, however, this will be a little messy.

This is my favorite catnip spray. If you want your own bottle, click here.

Step 4: Introduce your kitty to the scratching posts. To get started, place your cat in front of the scratching post and gently guide their paws on the scratching post.

Help them move their paws up and down to mimic the scratching motion. If they begin to scratch the post on their own, reward them with treats.

Step 5: Use a wand toy to lure your cat closer to the scratching posts. Wand toys typically have a mouse or catnip filled toy attached to a string that you can carry with a wand.

Once your cat becomes interested in the wand toy, drape it over the scratching toy. Hopefully your kitty will take the bait and jump onto the scratching post.

The goal is for them to use their claws to latch onto the post. Once they do this, reward them with a treat. They will understand that you encourage them to scratch the post.

Step 6: Discourage scratching. If you see your kitty scratching somewhere other than their posts, say “NO” in a firm and negative tone of voice and immediately spray them with a spray bottle filled with water. This is called a “water spanking”.

Here are some good spray bottle practices:

  • One spray is enough. Do not spray more than once.
  • The spray should be on a light mist setting. Make sure the water pressure is not harsh.
  • Avoid the eyes and face area.
  • Make sure you spray your cat as soon as you witness him/her scratching furniture. If you spray too late, your cat will become confused and think they are being punished for something else.

Step 7: Give them reminders. If you see your cat attempting to scratch forbidden areas, repeat step 4 after their “water spanking” to remind them where they should be scratching.

Step 8:  Secure your furniture. Make the furniture and other trouble areas your cats frequently scratches inaccessible. The most common areas cats scratch are typically the upholstery of couch corners.

  • Wrap cloth around the scratched area securely so your cat can’t remove it or get underneath it.
  • Put double-sided tape or foil on the scratched area.
  • Use a safe, “no scratch” spray.

I personally use this “no scratch” spray because it is safe and effective. If you want to try it, click here.

Step 9: Keep their nails trimmed. One of the main reasons cats scratch surfaces in the first place is to shed the outside nail husk. If their nails are trimmed, then this need to scratch is partially satisfied.

Nails need to be trimmed every two weeks. You can ask your vet to trim your cat’s nails, or purchase a special nail trimmer for cats and do it yourself.

I use the nail trimmers below to trim my cat’s nails. If you want to try it out yourself, click here.

Before using a nail trimmer, make sure you watch this video on how to safely trim your kitty’s nails.

Be Prepared

Negatively reinforce bad behavior with the spray bottle and reward them for using their scratching posts with treats.

Have your spray bottle and treats nearby and in the same room as the scratching posts and furniture so you won’t be too late to give a water spanking or treat.

Be Realistic

Be realistic about your cat’s furniture scratching addiction. Your cat won’t learn to stop scratching the furniture overnight. This is a process and it requires practice.

Every kitty is different and learns at their own pace. For example, kittens will learn faster than older cats. It is difficult for an older cat to break a habit.

Be patient with your kitty, and most importantly, be consistent with positive and negative reinforcement. You’ll need to pay attention to their actions.

If you’re a working cat parent and can’t monitor them through this process, you’ll need to isolate them in a room with scratching posts and no furniture while you’re away.


Remember, scratching is a strong instinctive behavior for cats and it is important for their health to scratch surfaces. Your goal is not to make them completely stop scratching at entirely – your goal is to divert their attention from your furniture and encourage them to scratch their posts instead.

SUMMARY: 9 Steps To Stop Your Cat From Scratching Furniture

  1. Purchase scratching posts.
  2. Put scratching posts in accessible areas/places your cat usually likes to scratch.
  3. Spray scratching posts with catnip spray.
  4. Lure your cat to the scratching post.
  5. Place your cat’s paws on the scratching post and move them up and down to mimic the scratching motion.
  6. Fill a spray bottle with water and put it on a light mist setting.
  7. If you catch your cat scratching the furniture, discourage scratching by spraying them with the spray bottle.
  8. Keep nails trimmed.

QUESTION: Does your cat scratch the furniture?

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3 Replies to “9 Steps To Stop Your Cat From Scratching Furniture”

  1. Max only scratches my lounge chair if I am sitting in it and he decides he’s hungry. As soon as he starts, I tell him know and smack the chair above where he scratches. He stops… temporarily. He keeps trying to push his 8 pm snack up to 7 pm.

  2. Willy was adopted from the local Humane Society, and was declawed when I got him. When comes to the spray bottle, it wouldn’t work on him. He LOVES! water. He gets into the shower with me. 😸

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