When your cat uses your furniture to stretch or to give herself a manicure, try not to get angry -- it's in her nature, she's just being a cat. Instead, arm yourself with a homemade repellent spray that can help correct her destructive habit and teach her right from wrong.
Fill a spray bottle with 8 ounces of warm water.
Add 10 drops of lemon- or orange-scented essential oil to the water. Cats dislike the smell of citrus and will most likely stay away from citrus-smelling objects. If citrus doesn't work on your finicky feline, try cinnamon, lavender or eucalyptus oil. You might have to try different scents to find out which one works best on your cat.
Close the bottle, give it a good shake and spray some of the homemade cat-repelling potion on an unnoticeable area of the furniture that your cat likes to scratch. Allow the area to dry and, if there's no damage, moisten the area you want to protect from your cat's claws with the liquid.
Place a sturdy scratching post or other acceptable scratching item near the sprayed furniture. Hang cat toys on the scratching post or rub some catnip on it to lure your cat toward it.
Observe your cat to see if she stays away from the furniture and shows interest in the scratching post. If she does, your efforts are successful.
Spray the repellent on the furniture daily, and move the scratching post little by little to an area that's more suitable. When your feline companion seems to have forgotten about the furniture and is happily using her scratching post for about a month, reduce the frequency that you use the spray and eventually stop using it altogether.
- WebMD: Pets: Cats and Scratching: Practical Tips for Owners
- Dumb Friends League: Aversives For Cats
- Cat Lover's Daily Companion: 365 Days of Insight and Guidance for Living a Joyful Life with Your Cat; Kristen Hampshire, et al.
- Instead of using just one essential oil to make your repellent, try combining two or more essential oils and create your own recipe.
- If your furniture is damaged when you test the solution, spray a washcloth with the liquid, tape it to a piece of plastic and secure this in the area you want to protect.
- Store your homemade cat repellent in the fridge.
Kimberly Caines is a well traveled model, writer and licensed physical fitness trainer who was first published in 1997. Her work has appeared in the Dutch newspaper "De Overschiese Krant" and on various websites. Caines holds a degree in journalism from Mercurius College in Holland and is writing her first novel.