Tips on How to Pick Furniture Your Cat Won’t Scratch

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The only thing worse than a couch covered in cat hair is a couch covered in scratch marks. Scratching is a natural behavior for cats and it is something they have a physical need to do, but that doesn’t mean you have to let them do it on your furniture. In addition to providing your cat with a scratching post, choose carefully when furniture shopping to reduce the risk of having your new furniture scratched to pieces.

Why Do Cats Scratch So Much?

Not only is scratching a normal part of cat behavior, but it actually serves several important functions. For one thing, scratching helps to condition the claws by removing worn and frayed outer claws, making room for new growth. Your cat also has scent glands between his toes that produce an odor that is unique to him – by scratching things with his claws he is spreading that scent and effectively marking his territory. Scratching also simply feels good for cats because it helps them to stretch out their bodies while also flexing their feet and claws.

Related: Works of Art You Want Your Cat to Shred

If your cat has a tendency to scratch your furniture, don’t turn to declawing as the solution. Declawing a cat isn’t a harmless procedure similar to trimming your fingernails. In reality, the surgical procedure used for declawing actually removes the last bone on each of the cat’s toes, not just the claw. This procedure can lead to lasting physical problems for cats and it may also contribute to problem behaviors like aggression and failure to use the litter box.

Best Furniture Options for Homes with Cats

The best way to ensure that your cat doesn’t scratch your furniture is to provide him with plenty of alternative options that blend in with the surroundings. If you’re worried about matching your trending decor, spend a little extra on a deluxe or modular style – there are plenty available, online or in store. A rope-covered scratching post or a scratch pad made from cardboard are great options that your cat will like to scratch – you can rub them with catnip to make them more appealing to your cat.

You can also try spraying your furniture with citrus or menthol – two scents that cats can’t stand. Sometimes covering an area with sandpaper, foil, or double-sided tape will make it unappealing to your cat as well.

Related: Declawing Cats: A Cruel and Unnecessary Procedure

If you are going to buy new furniture, you should also be mindful about the style and the materials you choose because this will affect how likely your cat is to find the furniture appealing for scratching. The best material to choose in a house with cats is microfiber. Microfiber is a smooth, soft fabric and those qualities are the opposite of what cats like in terms of texture. Cats like to scratch things that will help wear down their nails and this won’t happen with microfiber – microfiber also doesn’t tend to snag or run like other upholstery materials. For the most part, microfiber simply doesn’t collect signs of scratching like claw marks, holes, pulls, or tears. It also doesn’t hurt that microfiber is easy to clean and it doesn’t tend to collect dust and dander like other materials.

Replacing your existing furniture with microfiber may be the most effective solution to cat-scratched furniture, though don’t forget to provide your cat with a scratching post or two as well. Whatever you do, do not try to discourage your cat from scratching by punishing him. For one thing, he will not understand why he is being punished and he might start forming a negative association with you. It is also possible that you could hurt your cat by accident. Most problem behaviors can be solved simply by providing your cat with an alternative means for expressing the undesired behavior – a method that does not have a negative effect on you, your furniture, or your home.