Meagan Asked: Advice to get cat to stop scratching furniture?

I know this is an age old question, but NONE of the methods people typically suggest have worked. I love my cat to death but he has ruined a couch, two chairs, our bed, and the curtains in our apartment. He is played with often, is hardly ever home alone, and is always on the receiving end of near constant attention. We've also had him for a year next month, and have had plenty of time to try different methods. He is also very young, only 2 years old, which may be part of the issue, but who knows. The times he scratches at the furniture is completely random, and we never know when he's going to ruin our furniture even more. Here's a list of some of the typical things people suggest but haven't worked:

1- Make sure he has a scratching post within available reach, and rub it down with catnip.

He has both a cardboard scratcher, which he only uses rarely, and he has a GIANT cat tower made of all carpet that he loves and uses happily. He's only a vacuum in the presence of catnip, and it isn't incentive for him to scratch. We've tried numerous location with the King's perch, ranging from full 180 availability, to right by the window, to right by the door, and he STILL uses everything else to scratch along WITH the tower.

2- Head him off before he uses the furniture, move him to his tower, and praise him when he uses it.

No matter how many times I do this, he does NOT use his tower after I've moved him to it away from the furniture I've even tried giving him treats every single time he uses his tower, but it's rather redundant since he uses with without needing praise or treats. We need something to deter him from the furniture, not promote the tower.

3- Double-side tape the furniture.

My cat is EXTREMELY intelligent. He actually has figured out how to peel the tape off ANYTHING we put it on with his teeth so he can go back to scratching at the furniture. The same goes for any plastics or other anti-cat furniture products.

4- Admonish him with a squirt bottle every time he scratches furniture.

This one has been the worst. He's actually turned "run away from the squirt bottle" into a game of chase. He actually specifically goes back to the furniture right after I put the bottle down to promote what he feels is a game of chase, even if it has vinegar or other supposed cat-hated scents. (See next)

5- Rub the furniture down with acidic scents like oranges or vinegar that cats absolutely hate.

My cat is a freak. To put it simply – those scents don't faze him the slightest.

6- Aluminum foil.

He eats it and plays with it because it crinkles -.-

7- Make "kitty alarms", or very loud and sudden noises right as he misbehaves to startle him, to overtime associate the furniture with fear of the noise.

It worked for maybe…2 hours. It degraded gradually into a stop and a "WTF are you doing look", to absolutely no affect whatsoever. I kept trying it for several weeks, and it never improved.

7- Cat nail caps

The only thing I have yet to try, but for good reason. They are a constant investment that I can't afford, for one thing. For another, with any of the caps no matter how high quality they are, the cat can tear the caps off with persistence and work. Considering my cat knows how to and can peel off tape, I'm pretty sure the caps wouldn't give him any trouble, making it not even worth the investment.

8- Keep his nails trimmed.

We trim his claws down once a week, but it only minimizes the damage done to the furniture. It doesn't solve the problem, which is the priority.

9- Just tell him no.

He's smart, he knows what no means. But just like with the loud noises, he completely disregards any command to shoo away or to stop.

There may be other things I've tried that I've missed, but if I remember or you bring it up, I'll let you know. At this point, as cruel as I know it is, the only other option that I haven't exhausted is to declaw the cat. I, and everyone I know, is against declawing, but its either that or give him away unless someone else has a better suggestion. Giving him away would actually be more un-humane than declawing him, as no one wants destructive animals (I've tried Craigslist, fairly warning the owners about him scratching) and every shelter where I am is a kill-shelter where I would also feel obligated to tell the shelter to inform future owners about his destructive nature. Giving him up would mean death.

Suggestions, anyone?


AE Answered:
that is very normal for cats, but i agree that it is a bad habit for your cat to adapt, so i suggest buying your cat some scratching toys. cats at that age love to scratch objects so it is better to buy your cat some toys at pet shops or drugstores.
Hope it helps :)

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