Cats scratch; it’s part of their innate behavior. They scratch to sharpen their claws, and it's among the ways they leave their mark. If you're a cat person with leather furniture, you know how much they love to sink their claws into it. Let's put a stop to it.
Keep two or three scratching posts in your home in places your cat likes to hang out. Ideally, you would get the scratching posts at the same time that you bring your kitty home. It’s easier to prevent a cat from scratching your leather furniture in the first place than it is to train her to use the scratching post after she already started scratching your furniture. But it is possible to retrain a cat.
Dangle a toy mouse on the scratching post to lure your cat into playing over there. Scent the scratching post with catnip for added enticement.
Get down on your hands and knees and scratch the post yourself; your cat might take the hint and join you.
Cover your furniture with a plastic drop cloth to make it feel less appealing to your cat while you train her to use the scratching post instead. The furniture will, unfortunately, feel less appealing to you, too. But once your cat uses the scratching post instead, you can remove the plastic.
Put plastic caps on your cat’s claws if she still scratches your leather furniture even with a scratching post nearby. A mild glue attaches the nail covers, and they stay on for four to six weeks. It’s kind of like a kitty manicure. When your cat wears her “fake” nails, she might still scratch your furniture, but she won’t damage it.
Clap your hands or say “No” in a commanding tone if you catch your cat in the act of scratching your furniture.
- Although a scratching post might not be the design element you had in mind for the living room, you need to keep it where your cat will use it. She might not want to go to the corner of the laundry room to scratch.
- Less intrusive but equally entertaining are scratching boards that sit on the floor or mount on the wall. Experiment to see what your cat enjoys. She might prefer a tall post in one room and one that sits on the floor in another.
- Scratching posts are made from different materials: carpet, sisal, cardboard, upholstery and wood. You might need to experiment to determine your cat’s favorite.
- Cats are drawn to leather, and their claws can rip it open if not just perforate it all over.
- Avoid declawing your cat. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals opposes declawing because it is a cruel and painful process. (ref. 3)
Laura Agadoni has been writing professionally since 1983. Her feature stories on area businesses, human interest and health and fitness appear in her local newspaper. She has also written and edited for a grassroots outreach effort and has been published in "Clean Eating" magazine and in "Dimensions" magazine, a CUNA Mutual publication. Agadoni has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from California State University-Fullerton.