By Mary Amos
New cats and kittens are a fantastic addition to any family.
But after youíve bough the litter tray itís time to worry
the furniture. You see catís love to scratch. They actually
to scratch and if youíre not careful they can quickly ruin
prized furniture. But before you give up hope there are things
you can do to protect your furniture without having your cat
You need to encourage your cat to scratch a scratching post
rather than your furniture. An understanding of why cats
scratch will help us here....
Cats scratch for many reasons. They scratch as a way to
exercise and to tone their muscles. They also scratch as a way
to stretch. They have scent glands in their paws so cats
scratch to scent and mark their territory. They love to dig
their claws into the post, (or your furniture!), not because
they want to ruin it but as a way to clean and sharpen their
claws. Oh we almost forgot they scratch and claw because it
feels sooooooo good!!
So you can see that scratching is a catís natural behavior and
should be supported and encouraged to keep your cat fit and
healthy. If your cat is scratching the furniture youíll find
that physical punishment does not work and will alienate your
cat. Sometimes a stern word or a loud clap will stop kitty
while youíre there, but what happens when youíre gone?
For a happy cat and a harmonious household with intact
furniture the following tips may be of use:
The most important thing you can do is to buy a scratching
BEFORE you get the cat. This way the post will be an integral
part of the catís environment when it arrives. Once a cat has
established a behavior itís very hard to break.
Ideally buy more than one post and place them in the areas
you think the cat will use most often. At a minimum place one
near where the cat will sleep. Cats love to stretch when they
wake up Ė who doesnít.
Buy a stable post, one that doesnít wobble and feels very
sturdy. Cats really dislike instability and if the post falls
over its very unlikely the cat will ever use that post again.
Look for a good solid base and the post should feel well made
Place a post in your main family area. Your cat wants to be
part of the family spend time with you. Thereís nothing nicer
than a cap napping in your lap on a winters day. After a hard
hour or so sleeping in your lap its time to stretch. I hope
thereís a post nearby or there goes the furniture!
At the outset you will need to encourage the cat to scratch
post. You donít need to show your cat how to scratch Ė it
already knows!! Try rubbing some cat nip on the post, or tie
toys and string on the post. Play with the cat around the post
so that it gets used to clawing the post. Trailing wool or
string up the spot will encourage clawing and is my favorite
Make sure the post is big enough. Your cat should be able to
fully stretch on the post, so look at a minimum height of 3
feet. Cats love to dig in their front claws and arch their
to stretch their front legs. This is difficult to do if the
is too short. Beware, if the post is too short then your cat
will find out that human furniture is an ideal height!
Play with your cat. Keep it happy and entertained, especially
around the posts and it will be less likely to take it out on
Finally get a post that is course and can be destroyed. Catís
love rough surfaces. They will happily pull and tear at their
post and enjoy watching it deteriorate. Nylon backed carpet
makes an excellent post covering, as is sisal rope. A cat can
really get its claws into both these materials. If you
currently have a cat which is scratching and clawing the
furniture then look for a post made from similar material. If
you canít find the ideal post try making your own.
About The Author: Mary Amos is a cat love and long time cat
owner. Find more articles and resources at