Scratching the furniture ordeal! - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-25-2011, 08:38 PM Thread Starter
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Scratching the furniture ordeal!

My cat has a new type of fun these days, reason why my husband doesn't want to allow her in the livingroom. She scratches and pretty hard. She started with the sofa and now she moved to the armchairs. We tried to use scratch posts, but it doesn't help, she would play with her scratch pole and then go back to the regular business of "improving" the furniture and the rugs. I'm afraid if I allow her this longer, I'd have to buy new furniture soon, not to mention my husband would not be very pleased with the whole thing.
Shouting "no" doesn't help, punishing her by exhiling her in the kitchen, has no effect and I'm now considering buying some thick covers for the sofa and armchairs...
Any other suggestions?
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-25-2011, 09:10 PM
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My cats do most of their claw-sharpening outdoors, but where I work there are two resident cats. We bought them one of those large cardboard scratchers that lie flat. They use them every day and have never touched the furniture. One of the cats needs reminders not to scratch at the rug, though.

Previous to this they had upright scratching posts but ignored them.
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-25-2011, 10:06 PM
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I had this problem with Mow when he first moved in. He didn't like his tower with sisal posts. Then I found something similar to Omega Paw Everest Cat Scratch Box. He only likes the incline where he can stretch out/arch his back I guess the way he would in a natural environment.

When I sprinkled catnip on it he went nuts and whenever I saw him scratching at it I praised him like crazy. He doesn't touch anything (except the bed very occasionally but that always seems to be to get my attention) else in the apartment.
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-25-2011, 10:34 PM
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When cats scratch, they leave both visual and scent markings, which causes them to return to the same site to scratch again. In order to convince your cat to scratch elsewhere, you will need to: (1) make the couch/chairs less appealing to her, (2) do what you can to "mask" the visual and scent markings that attract her back to your furniture, and (3) offer her an attractive alternative.

As for the attractive alternative, MowMow and Greenport have already given you good suggestions: you should try several types of scratching posts/mats of different materials to see what Modra likes. Using catnip is a good incentive, as is giving her treats when she uses the scratch post/mat.

There are a few things you can do to make the couch/chairs less appealing and remove the visual markings that she has created. Which of these options is best will depend on what you have to work with and the shape/specifics of your furniture. You could try Sticky Paws or other double-sided tape. You could try temporarily draping something over the furniture (and tucking it in) that she won't like to scratch. A good choice is inexpensive bird netting used for gardening, or something similar. If she tries to scratch, her claws will get stuck in the netting and she won't like that. In that regard, you should also keep her claws trimmed.

As for removing the scent that attracts her back, you can also try spraying the furniture with lemon-scented air freshener (since most cats don't like the smell of citrus).
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-27-2011, 05:42 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you so much for your replies, guys! I'll deffinitely give it a try with the catnip.

Modra is an outdoor cat, she is climbing all possible trees and fences and she jumps from the roof to the tree and back as if it's the easiest thing in the world, but when she comes to the livingroom she needs to mark the furniture also. I've noticed that if I cover the couch with a fluffy blanket, Modra would not touch it.
She also started to show more interest in the scratch post since I play with her inventing all sorts of games that incude using it (she particularly likes to wrap around it with the claws out when I shake a cabbage tree leaf around the post. Out of all the toys she has, she prefers a dried cabbage tree leaf I got from our garden (this is so much fun also, she likes it natural
She still tries a bit of armchair wrestling (which is both fun and painful to watch, I'd be so much happier if she did the rugs, I don't care about the rugs, but she does what she likes hahaha) but I've noticed if I say very firmly: "no! bad girl!" and reinforce it by gently slapping the armchair, she stops and doesn't try it again that day.
Recently she developped a routine, which is good I guess, every morning from 9 to 10 is play time, so mamma has to forget everything and play with naugty baby Modra or else the armchair will get it big time. If I play with her she will give less of a lesson to the armchair hahaha. I am lucky I work from home, otherwise this would be an issue.
It's funny, she scratches only the armchair she's not sleeping on (as you'd expect, after she plays, she gets all sleepy and starts napping on the other armchair.
So much fun to see her sleep also!
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-28-2011, 10:42 AM
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As others have said, try a different scratching post with catnip. Make sure the post is long/big enough for your cat.

I bought some type of double-sided like tape product from Petsmart made for putting on furniture.

I also put some "obstacles" at the parts of the furniture my cats were trying to scratch so they couldn't get to the areas. I put some boxes in the way and leaned some wood panels against the sofa. It wasn't attractive but it was just temporary.

Good luck!
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-28-2011, 10:55 AM
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Have you tried the 'scratch off' spray? I've not experience with it but seen it in pet stores. Good luck.
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-28-2011, 11:09 AM
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Have you tried any scratching posts with sisal rope on them? My cats, even the one who ignores cardboard scratchers, find sisal rope utterly irresistible.

Rubbing some catnip on it (as others have said) can help make it more enticing. Also when my cats scratch something they're not supposed to, what I do after scolding them is immediately bring them to their scratching post, and then I "demonstrate" what they're supposed to do by scratching on it myself (the noise compels them to try it to). Then I praise them profusely if they use the post.
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-30-2011, 06:46 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by saitenyo View Post
Have you tried any scratching posts with sisal rope on them? My cats, even the one who ignores cardboard scratchers, find sisal rope utterly irresistible.

Rubbing some catnip on it (as others have said) can help make it more enticing. Also when my cats scratch something they're not supposed to, what I do after scolding them is immediately bring them to their scratching post, and then I "demonstrate" what they're supposed to do by scratching on it myself (the noise compels them to try it to). Then I praise them profusely if they use the post.
Thank you guys, I appreciate your comments and ideas a lot!
I think she sorts of feels a guilty pleasure in scratching the furniture. She knows I don't like it and I don't allow her to stay in the livingroom after that, but she keeps repeating this on any occassion.

I covered the scratch-tempting spots with blankets and she would try to go under the blankets to scratch. When she saw that was not possible she meowed and rushed outside, didn't want to pay any attention to me for a while.
I didn't try the doublesided tape yet, but I put some citrus smelling perfume on the affected furniture as I saw the smell of lemon discourages her. Now the couch is safe, but she found a new place on the armchair and anyway when the smell goes away she will start again.

She has a very sturdy and tall scratch post, incidentally with sisal rope and she would only scratch it when I play with her around it, she doesn't seem to enjoy it too much, she prefers fluffier things to scratch (crazy cat, I know) and even if I scratch the post trying to encourage her, she would go straight to the armchair.

My husband made her a new scratch post using an old fluffy blanket. The first time she liked it, then she returned to her old habbits. If she would scratch one post she would without a doubt return to the armchair or the couch, in the next second, just like an addict. It really started to annoy me and a few times I yelled at her, I know that's bad for me to do, but the sound of scratching sorts of drives me mad really, I just can't stand it anymore so I sent her outside. She has thousands of scratch places outside I don't understand the fixation with the furniture. I begin to think she's doing it on purpose to **** us off (pardon my language. She gets our full attention when she is around us, it's not like we look the other way, we both try to attract her to play or pet her, but she is not interested in either most of the time, the furniture is more amusing. If we ignore her it's the same or even worse. Perhaps she expects we all participate in the scratching frenzy or something
Whatever, we are both so stressed when she is arond in the livingroom that there is no joy in having her in anyway, so I've decided I am going to cover the furniture with thick sofa and armchair covers and she can scratch as much as she likes. I bet she will not do it anymore and she'll just run outside frustrated as ****, meowing (just as she did when I covered everything with the blankets.
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 01-30-2011, 07:02 PM
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When cats scratch something, they leave behind both visual markings and scent markings...and that's what attracts them back to the same spot over and over. You or I can't smell anything or recognize any real pattern to the visual markings (other than torn fabric!). But, these markings say "Modra was here", and they're a way for cats to mark their territory. That's why, once a cat has started scratching something, it can be difficult to get them to switch to something else...and that's why she likely got "mad" when you covered the couch with blankets. She's not mad at you. She just doesn't like the fact that her territorial markings are no longer visible.

That said, covering up the couch/chairs is a good idea, but I would also try not to let her start scratching them again once they're covered up. If she gets in the habit of scratching them again, she'll keep returning to the same spot over and over. So, if the lemon scent detracts her, I'd keep spraying it on the covered couch/chairs and, at the same time, I'd offer her other suitable scratching alternatives. Once she starts leaving her scratch patterns and scent markings on the alternatives (scratching posts), she will then return to those, instead of your furniture... whereupon you can likely stop spraying the lemon scent. And, hopefully, after a while, you will be safe to remove the covers.
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