10 Natural Home Remedies to Stop a Cat from Scratching and Clawing

by beaconpet
Trimming the Cat's Claws

Does your furry friend love to scratch and claw at everything in sight? Don’t fret, because we’ve got you covered with 10 natural home remedies that can help put an end to your cat’s destructive behavior. To start, BEACONPET recommends trimming your cat’s claws as a preventative measure. Additionally, providing a scratching post or scratcher can redirect their scratching instincts away from your furniture. You can also try using double-sided sticky tape as a deterrent on areas they frequent. And if that’s not enough, sprays like water, water with apple cider vinegar, and citrus can help discourage their scratching habits. If all else fails, there are commercial options available such as ultrasonic noise devices, pheromones, and Soft Paws. However, the article cautions against declawing and advises considering the potential harm and health risks before resorting to it. With these natural remedies in your toolkit, you’ll be able to create a scratch-free environment for both you and your cat to enjoy.

Trimming the Cat’s Claws

Trimming the Cat's Claws

Cats are natural scratchers, and while this behavior is important for them to maintain healthy claws, it can sometimes lead to damage in our homes. One effective way to reduce the damage caused by scratching is by trimming your cat’s claws regularly. Trimming not only helps prevent your furniture from being shredded, but it also ensures that your cat’s claws do not become too long or sharp, which can lead to discomfort or injury for them.

Tools needed for trimming

Before you begin trimming your cat’s claws, it’s important to gather all the necessary tools. You will need a pair of cat nail clippers or human nail clippers with straight blades, a styptic powder or cornstarch to stop any bleeding if you accidentally cut the nails too short, and treats to reward your cat for their cooperation during the process.

Step-by-step guide to trimming

  1. Find a calm and quiet environment where you and your cat can both feel comfortable. It’s best to choose a room where you can easily restrain your cat or place them on a secure surface.
  2. Gently hold your cat’s paw and press on the pad to extend the claws.
  3. Locate the translucent area of the nail called the “quick.” It’s important to avoid cutting into the quick as it contains blood vessels and nerves. Aim to trim just the pointed tip of the claw, avoiding the quick.
  4. Make the cut at a 45-degree angle to the claw to create a clean and smooth edge. Take your time and only trim a small amount at a time to ensure you don’t accidentally cut into the quick.
  5. If you accidentally cut into the quick and your cat starts bleeding, immediately apply some styptic powder or cornstarch to stop the bleeding.
  6. Repeat the process for all of your cat’s claws, including the back claws. Remember to provide treats and praise throughout the process to make it a positive experience for your cat.

Importance of regular trimming

Regularly trimming your cat’s claws is essential for their well-being. It helps prevent their nails from becoming too long and curved, which can lead to discomfort and difficulty walking. Claws that are not maintained can also become sharp and cause unintentional scratches to family members or other pets. By keeping your cat’s claws trimmed, you are providing them with a more comfortable and safe environment while also protecting your furniture and other household items.

Providing a Scratching Post

Redirecting your cat’s scratching behavior is another effective way to protect your furniture. By providing your cat with a scratching post or scratcher, you can give them an appropriate outlet for their natural urge to scratch while saving your favorite couch from their sharp claws.

Different types of scratching posts

There are various types of scratching posts available in the market, each catering to different preferences and needs. Some common options include:

  • Vertical scratching posts: These are tall posts covered in a rough material (such as sisal rope or cardboard) that encourages cats to stretch and scratch vertically. They can be freestanding or attached to a wall.
  • Horizontal scratching posts: These are flat boards covered in a rough material where cats can scratch while lying down. They are particularly popular with cats who prefer scratching in a horizontal position.
  • Scratchers with multiple surfaces: These scratching posts offer a combination of vertical and horizontal scratching surfaces to cater to different preferences.
  • Scratching trees or towers: These are larger structures that often incorporate multiple scratching surfaces, perches, and hiding spots. They provide cats with a more enriching and multi-functional scratching experience.

Choosing the right scratching post for your cat

When selecting a scratching post or scratcher for your cat, it’s important to consider their preferences and habits. Observe your cat’s scratching behavior to determine whether they prefer vertical or horizontal scratching, as this will help you choose the most suitable option.

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Additionally, consider the size and stability of the scratching post. It should be tall enough for your cat to fully stretch their body while scratching and should not wobble or tip over easily. The material covering the post should be durable and able to withstand repeated scratching without fraying or tearing.

How to encourage your cat to use the scratching post

Introducing your cat to their new scratching post may require some encouragement and training. Here are a few tips to help your cat transition to using the scratching post:

  1. Placement: Position the scratching post in an area where your cat spends a lot of time, such as near their favorite sleeping spot or in the room with their litter box. Placing the post in a visible and convenient location increases the chances of your cat using it.
  2. Attractiveness: Make the scratching post appealing to your cat by sprinkling catnip on it or attaching a favorite toy to the top. This will encourage your cat to investigate and interact with the post.
  3. Positive reinforcement: Whenever you catch your cat using the scratching post, praise and reward them with treats or petting. This positive association will reinforce the desired behavior and encourage them to continue using the post.
  4. Discouraging undesired behavior: If you see your cat scratching furniture or other inappropriate surfaces, gently redirect them to the scratching post. You can also make the undesired surface less appealing by covering it with double-sided sticky tape or aluminum foil.

Remember, patience is key when training your cat to use a scratching post. It may take some time for them to establish this new habit, but with consistent encouragement and positive reinforcement, your cat will soon understand where their claws are welcome to be used.

Double-Sided Sticky Tape

Double-Sided Sticky Tape

If you’re dealing with a particularly stubborn cat who continues to scratch your furniture despite having a scratching post, double-sided sticky tape can be a helpful deterrent. Cats dislike the sticky feeling on their paws and will often avoid surfaces covered in this tape.

Applying sticky tape to furniture

To use double-sided sticky tape as a deterrent, simply cut strips of the tape and apply them directly to the areas of furniture that your cat frequently scratches. Make sure to press the tape firmly to ensure it stays in place. The tape should be sticky enough to discourage your cat from scratching, but should not leave any residue or damage the furniture when removed.

Effectiveness of sticky tape as a deterrent

While double-sided sticky tape can be effective in deterring cats from scratching furniture, its success may vary depending on your cat’s personality and determination to scratch. Some cats may be temporarily deterred by the sticky tape, while others may persist in finding alternative surfaces to scratch.

Using sticky tape as a deterrent works best when combined with other tactics such as providing a scratching post and training your cat to use it. It can be a helpful tool to reinforce the idea that certain surfaces are off-limits for scratching.

Alternative materials that can be used

If you prefer not to use double-sided sticky tape, there are alternative materials that can serve as effective deterrents. Aluminum foil is one such option. Cats dislike the texture and sound of foil, making it an unpleasant surface for them to scratch. Covering the furniture with aluminum foil can discourage your cat from scratching it. Just be sure to secure the foil tightly to prevent your cat from pulling it off.

Another option is using plastic protectors specifically designed to fit over the corners of furniture or other vulnerable areas. These protectors act as a physical barrier, preventing your cat from accessing the surface they like to scratch. They are typically transparent and blend in with the furniture, so they are not obtrusive to the overall aesthetic.

Experiment with different materials to find the one that works best for your cat and your furniture. It may take some trial and error to find the most effective deterrent, but ultimately, the goal is to find a solution that encourages your cat to redirect their scratching behavior to appropriate surfaces.

Sprays as Deterrents

In addition to physical barriers, certain sprays can also be used as deterrents to discourage cats from scratching furniture or other undesirable surfaces. These sprays utilize scents that cats find unpleasant and can help redirect their scratching behavior.

Water spray

A simple water spray can be an effective deterrent when used appropriately. Whenever you catch your cat in the act of scratching furniture, give them a quick spritz of water using a spray bottle. The sudden burst of water will surprise them and discourage them from continuing to scratch. However, it’s important to note that this method should be used as a distraction technique rather than as a punishment, as cats do not respond well to punishment and it can strain the bond between you and your feline companion.

Water and apple cider vinegar spray

Another spray option includes combining water and apple cider vinegar. Cats generally dislike the smell of vinegar, so by spraying a mixture of equal parts water and apple cider vinegar onto the furniture, you can create an unpleasant scent deterrent. Test the spray on a small, inconspicuous area of the furniture first to ensure it does not cause any discoloration or damage.

Citrus spray

Cats have a natural aversion to citrus scents, making citrus spray an effective deterrent. You can either purchase citrus-scented sprays specifically made for this purpose or make your own by diluting citrus essential oils with water. Spray the citrus-scented solution onto the furniture or areas you want to protect, and the scent should deter your cat from scratching.

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When using sprays as deterrents, consistency is key. Reapply the spray as necessary, especially after cleaning or if the scent begins to fade. As with any deterrent, sprays should be used in conjunction with providing alternative scratching surfaces and positive reinforcement to encourage your cat to redirect their behavior.

Covering Furniture

Covering Furniture

If other methods have not been effective in deterring your cat from scratching furniture, covering the surfaces can be a temporary solution. By covering your furniture, you create a physical barrier that prevents your cat from accessing their preferred scratching spots.

Using aluminum foil to protect furniture

Aluminum foil is a common material used to cover furniture and deter cats. Cats dislike the sound and texture of foil, making it unappealing for scratching. Simply cover the areas your cat is prone to scratching with tightly secured aluminum foil. This method is effective in the short term as a temporary deterrent, but it may not be a feasible long-term solution due to the aesthetic disturbance it may cause.

Using plastic protectors

Plastic protectors specifically designed for furniture corners and edges can also be used to cover vulnerable areas. These protectors attach securely to the furniture and create a physical barrier that prevents your cat from scratching. They are typically transparent and blend in with the furniture, allowing you to protect the surfaces without compromising the overall aesthetic of your home.

Pros and cons of covering furniture

Covering furniture to protect it from your cat’s scratching behavior has its pros and cons. Here are some key considerations:

Pros:

  1. Temporary solution: Covering furniture can provide immediate protection while you work on training your cat and implementing other deterrent methods.
  2. Preserve aesthetics: If you invest in visually appealing covers or protectors, you can maintain the appearance of your furniture while preventing damage.

Cons:

  1. Temporary effectiveness: Some cats may eventually become accustomed to the presence of covers and continue scratching underneath or find other areas to scratch.
  2. Inconvenience: Covering furniture requires time and effort, especially if you have multiple pieces of furniture that need protection.
  3. Limited access for humans: Furniture covers may be less comfortable for human occupants, restricting their ability to fully enjoy the furniture.

While covering furniture can be a helpful temporary measure, it’s important to remember that it should be combined with other methods, such as providing a scratching post and redirected your cat’s scratching behavior. By addressing the underlying reasons for your cat’s scratching and providing appropriate alternatives, you can reduce their need to scratch furniture and minimize the need for covers in the long run.

Limiting Access to Rooms

In some cases, limiting your cat’s access to certain rooms or areas of your home can be an effective way to prevent them from scratching furniture. By designating specific spaces where your cat is allowed and creating a cat-friendly environment within those spaces, you can redirect their behavior and protect your furniture at the same time.

Using baby gates to restrict access

Baby gates can be utilized to physically block off certain areas of your home, preventing your cat from entering. This allows you to create cat-free zones where your furniture remains untouched. Baby gates that are tall and secure will ensure your cat cannot jump or knock them down.

Creating a cat-friendly designated area

Instead of denying your cat access to certain areas, consider creating a designated cat-friendly space. This area can be equipped with all the essentials your cat needs, including food and water bowls, a litter box, toys, and, most importantly, a scratching post or scratcher. By providing an appealing and stimulating environment within this designated area, you can encourage your cat to spend more time there and reduce their desire to scratch elsewhere.

Effectiveness of limiting access

Limiting your cat’s access to certain areas can be effective in protecting your furniture, but it may take time for your cat to adjust to the new boundaries. Cats are naturally curious creatures, so they may initially try to find alternate paths or ways to access prohibited areas. However, with consistency and reinforcement of the designated cat-friendly space, they will gradually learn where their boundaries lie and be more inclined to spend time in the designated area rather than scratching furniture.

It’s important to note that simply restricting your cat’s access to certain rooms may not fully address the underlying reasons for their scratching behavior. It’s essential to also provide appropriate scratching surfaces, engage your cat in play and exercise, and create a stimulating and enriching environment to keep their minds and bodies occupied.

Gently Scolding the Cat

While it’s important to approach scolding with caution, there are appropriate ways to communicate to your cat that their scratching behavior is not acceptable. By using training cues, consistency, and positive reinforcement, you can discourage your cat from scratching furniture and redirect their behavior to more appropriate surfaces.

Appropriate ways to scold a cat

When scolding your cat, it’s essential to avoid any physical or verbal aggression. Instead, focus on giving your cat a clear and consistent cue that their scratching behavior is not desirable. Here are a few strategies to consider:

  1. Vocal cues: Use a firm, but not overly aggressive, tone of voice to say “no” or “stop” when you catch your cat scratching furniture. Be sure to speak calmly and avoid shouting or scaring your cat.
  2. Clapping or loud sounds: Create a sudden noise, such as clapping your hands or using a noise-making device when you see your cat scratching inappropriately. This noise will startle them and interrupt their behavior, helping them associate the sound with the undesirable action.
  3. Redirecting attention: Whenever you catch your cat scratching furniture, gently pick them up and redirect their attention to an appropriate scratching surface, such as a scratching post or scratcher. Encourage them to interact with the surface and reward them with praise or treats when they use it.
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Training cues to discourage scratching

In addition to scolding, it’s important to provide your cat with clear training cues that can help redirect their scratching behavior. Here are a few cues to try:

  1. Positive reinforcement: Whenever you catch your cat using their scratching post or scratcher, reward them with praise, petting, and treats. This positive reinforcement helps them associate the appropriate scratching behavior with rewards, making them more likely to repeat it.
  2. Distraction tactics: If you notice your cat starting to scratch furniture, divert their attention by engaging them in play with a toy or engaging them in another activity they enjoy. This will redirect their focus away from the furniture and onto a more appropriate outlet for their energy.
  3. Environmental enrichment: Ensure your cat’s environment is enriched with toys, climbing structures, and interactive play sessions. By providing alternative forms of stimulation and entertainment, you can help alleviate any boredom or frustration that may contribute to their scratching behavior.
  4. Regular exercise: Make sure your cat receives regular exercise through interactive play sessions or access to safe outdoor areas. Physical activity helps release excess energy and can reduce the intensity of their scratching behavior.

Consistency in scolding

Consistency is crucial when scolding your cat and redirecting their scratching behavior. It’s important to be patient and persistent in reinforcing the desired behavior and discouraging the undesirable behavior. Cats respond well to routines, so establishing consistent rules and expectations will help them understand what is allowed and what is not.

Remember to stay calm and patient throughout the training process. Yelling, physical punishment, or aggressive responses can only increase your cat’s stress and may even worsen the scratching behavior. Positive reinforcement and redirection are far more effective in encouraging your cat to adopt appropriate scratching behaviors.

Commercial Options

If natural remedies and training techniques have not been effective in deterring your cat from scratching furniture, there are various commercial options available that may help solve the problem. These options utilize specialized devices and products designed to discourage scratching and redirect your cat’s behavior.

Ultrasonic noise devices

Ultrasonic noise devices emit high-pitched sounds that are inaudible to humans but unpleasant for cats. These devices are typically motion-activated and can be placed near furniture to deter cats from approaching or scratching. When your cat comes close to the protected area, the device emits the high-frequency sound, which can startle them and discourage further interaction with the furniture.

Pheromone sprays and diffusers

Pheromone sprays and diffusers release synthetic pheromones that mimic those naturally produced by cats. These pheromones can have a calming effect on cats and help reduce stress-related behaviors, such as scratching. By spraying pheromone sprays on furniture or using plug-in diffusers in the area, you can create a more relaxing environment and potentially discourage your cat from scratching the furniture.

Soft Paws claw covers

Soft Paws claw covers are small caps that can be attached to your cat’s claws to prevent them from causing damage when scratching. These caps are made of soft, non-toxic material and are available in various sizes and colors to suit your cat’s needs. Applying Soft Paws requires some practice and patience, but they can provide a safe and effective solution to protect your furniture from scratching.

While commercial options can be convenient and may provide relief from scratching, it’s important to consider them as supplemental measures rather than standalone solutions. It’s always recommended to combine these options with other methods, such as providing scratching posts and training cues, to create a comprehensive approach that addresses the underlying reasons for your cat’s scratching behavior.

Considering Declawing

Considering Declawing

Declawing is often mentioned as a last resort for cat owners who are desperate to stop their feline companions from scratching furniture. However, it’s important to thoroughly understand the procedure, potential harm, and health risks before considering this option.

Understanding the procedure of declawing

Declawing, also known as onychectomy, is a surgical procedure that involves the amputation of the last bone of each toe on a cat’s paws. It is a permanent and irreversible procedure that should only be performed by a licensed veterinarian. During the procedure, the veterinarian removes the claw and the bone from which it grows, cutting through tendons, nerves, and blood vessels.

Potential harm and health risks

Declawing is considered controversial and carries potential harm and health risks for cats. Here are some important considerations:

  1. Pain and discomfort: Declawing is a painful procedure that can cause ongoing discomfort for the cat. The recovery process can be lengthy, and cats may experience difficulties with walking, balance, and using the litter box.
  2. Behavioral changes: Cats rely on their claws for various natural behaviors, including stretching, balance, and hunting. Declawing can lead to behavioral changes, such as increased aggression, avoidance of the litter box, and reluctance to engage in normal activities.
  3. Loss of defense mechanism: Declawing removes a cat’s primary defense mechanism, leaving them vulnerable in case of a threat or escape need. It can also affect their ability to climb, jump, and escape from dangerous situations.

Exploring alternatives to declawing

Considering the potential harm and health risks associated with declawing, it is advisable to explore alternative options before resorting to this procedure. There are numerous effective and humane ways to deter your cat from scratching furniture, such as trimming their claws, providing appropriate scratching surfaces, training them to use those surfaces, and using deterrents like sprays and physical barriers.

If you are struggling with your cat’s scratching behavior and none of the natural remedies or commercial options have been successful, it’s best to consult with a veterinarian or a feline behaviorist for further guidance. They will have the expertise and knowledge to recommend the most appropriate and humane solutions for your specific situation.

Remember, it’s important to prioritize the well-being and natural behaviors of your cat. By understanding their needs and providing them with an environment that encourages appropriate scratching behavior, you can maintain harmonious living arrangements while keeping your furniture intact.

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