While cats love to climb, explore and scratch, you might not love having fur and claw marks all over your furniture. You don't need fancy gadgets or holistic sprays to stop your feline menace, though. A few simple do-it-yourself tricks will preserve both your furniture and your sanity.
Cover the furniture with something that cats find unpleasant while you're gone. Aluminum foil, for example, is not a cat's favorite texture. Draping it along the back of your couch will keep kitty from napping there. Plastic sheets and double-sided tape are also no friends of your feline, so put them in place for at least a few weeks. She'll learn that climbing on top of the wardrobe just isn't worth the trouble.
Spritz your kitty with water when she climbs in your presence. Direct physical intervention like swatting or chasing is rarely effective, and typically just makes your cat afraid of you. A remote, mildly unpleasant alternative like being lightly sprayed with water shows your cat that climbing the furniture has a consequence, and after a few lessons, she'll think long and hard before risking another climb.
Give your cat what she wants -- sort of. The best way to keep your cat from climbing the furniture is to give her something else to climb, because there's just nothing you can do about her instincts. Climbing is fun and healthy for cats, and it keeps them from becoming bored and destructive. Give her a nice, tall condo with a variety of textures and features, like tunnels, ropes and perches where she can lay down. If she likes to climb on furniture and enjoy the view, put her condo next to a window. If she prefers a place with a little solitude, like the top of the refrigerator, put her condo in a secluded area. The idea is to mimic whatever environment she seeks out by climbing your furniture, but doing so in a constructive and species-appropriate way.
- Never punish your cat physically by hitting, shoving or throwing her off of furniture.
Tom Ryan is a freelance writer, editor and English tutor. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in English writing, and has also worked as an arts and entertainment reporter with "The Pitt News" and a public relations and advertising copywriter with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.