Cats like to go pretty much wherever they want. It can be really tough to keep them off certain places such as the kitchen counter or the sofa. Keeping your cat off the couch requires some creativity on your part; it shouldn't be that hard to outsmart a cat.
Rubber runners, the kind people have in their homes to keep wet shoes off of nice, clean carpets, are effective in keeping kitty of the couch. Measure your couch's length and then visit a home improvement store. In the flooring department you will find clear vinyl runners that are usually about 2 feet wide (happily, this is the width of most couches) and 1/8 inch thick. The runners are displayed on a big roller and sold by the foot. Have the runners cut to your own custom length. Make sure you buy the ones that have the little nubby things on the underside, as not all of them do. Now here's the trick. Place the runner on the couch upside down. The points underneath the runner will be uncomfortable for your cat to walk on. Cover the couch when it is not in use, and then just scoot the runner under the couch when you need to sit. Voila! Cat-proofed couch.
You will probably only have to do this one time, but it's very effective. Purchase some wooden mousetraps. You will need enough for two traps on each cushion. So if you have three cushions, purchase six traps. Very carefully, set each trap (no cheese, please) and place it upside down on the cushion. Now, place a blanket heavy enough to protect the cat but not so heavy as to trip the trap over the couch cushions, hiding the mousetraps. When kitty jumps on the couch, the traps will spring up vertically and scare the cat off the couch. Be sure to use a heavy blanket, not a thin sheet, to ensure your cat's safety. You can remove the traps, but leave the blanket on the couch so the kitty cannot see what's underneath. In time, you should be able to remove the blanket, but if your cat goes on the couch when the blanket is gone, you may have to repeat the process.
Sprays and Such
There are a number of preparations on the market to keep cats off furniture. These products have complicated hard-to-pronounce ingredients such as methyl nonyl ketone and sodium lauryl sulfate as well as herbs and oils from cinnamon and lemon, which are effective in repelling cats. There are many sprays on the market and available online and in pet stores. They come under brand names such as Keep Off, Boundary, Feliway, Pet Block and No-Scratch. These products are relatively inexpensive, harmless to both cat and couch, and are usually quite effective.
Double-stick tape is another little trick to keep your cat off the couch. There are commercially prepared tapes made specifically for this purpose or just make your own using tape you purchase at an office supply store. Buy the kind used for shipping as it is wider and more effective. Tape the strips on the couch cushions at about 1 inch intervals. The widest double-stick tape available is only 1/2 inch wide, so you will have to use a lot of it. Make sure the cushions are covered well with tape. Cats don't like the feeling of walking on adhesive. When you want to use the couch, simply flip the cushions over.
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