Once again, I’m helping you delve into the kitty mind to help you better understand — and solve! — problems that may be coming between you and your cat.
One thing a lot of humans wonder is why their cat prefers to sharpen their claws on the couch instead of the cat tree or scratching post. And yes, sometimes people seem to be doing all the right things. Smart things like setting up the cat tree or scratching post near a window, and having lots of scratching surfaces in different parts of the house. But your cat still wants to scratch the sofa. Here are a few reasons you may not have considered.
The couch offers a different level of scratching surface.
Some cats prefer vertical scratching surfaces, while others prefer horizontal, or something at an angle. Where is your cat scratching the couch? The sides, the armrest, or the cushions? That may give you a clue as to which level they prefer… and what your scratchers may be lacking.
The scratching surfaces aren’t stable enough.
Check your cat trees, cat towers, and scratchers. Are they sturdy enough to hold a cat jumping on and off them? Do they look like they will tip over if pushed or pulled with enough force? (We kitties are pretty strong, after all!). Do the scratchers slide around on the hardwood floors? The great thing about your sofa is that it is big, heavy and sturdy. No amount of kitty force will move it. This alone makes it a great scratching surface! So make sure you have secure, stable options for your cats’ scratching needs.
The couch fabric is supremely scratchable.
Some material feels better to kitty paws than others. This will vary between cats, but there are preferences that nearly all cats have. This would include anything your cat can really dig their claws into. If your couch has that cool nubby material, yes, that would be one of them! On the other hand, there are fabrics that are more difficult to dig into, like microfiber. Most cats aren’t so excited about microfiber. Make sure your cat has scratching surfaces that please them, such as cardboard, soft carpeting, sisal — whatever is their preference – and cover up the other surfaces you don’t want them to scratch.
Your cat wants to intermingle their scent with yours.
Yes, we cats are very scent oriented creatures. And if we like you, we like those things that smell like you. Plus we like to intermingle our scent with yours because we’re all family! One of the ways we mark things with our scent is through scratching. You may not be able to discern the scent signals kitty paws leave, but we sure can! And your couch, if you spend any time on it, has your scent all over it. So it’s only natural for a kitty to want to mingle scents there. Usually lying on the cushions is good enough, but sometimes, a cat wants that extra oomph of paw scent.
Location, location, location.
Yes, it’s as important in scratching surfaces as it is real estate. (In the cat world, it’s kind of the same thing!)
We cats are both visual and territorial creatures. Maybe there’s a more interesting window view on your sofa than the cat tower or tree. Or maybe the scratchers are in a semi-hidden, dark, or cramped area. Scratching is not only necessary for paw and claw health, it’s a sign of territorial ownership. If your couch is in the open and your cat is scratching it, they might be wanting to tell the world they own the area where the couch is located. Can you give your cat things they love in the same area that they can possess instead?
With so many attractive and useful scratchers and cat trees out there, there is no reason to hide them away. Pick the windows with the most wildlife action happening outside. Choose public areas where cats can show off that this is their room! Where does your cat like to hang out? Put a cat tree or scratcher there.
Location is really a no-brainer, but it is always a good thing to review now and again. Sometimes cats change their minds about where they want to hang out. Make sure their current favorite places offer scratching options.
I hope these helped! If you have any solutions that worked for you, I’d love to hear them in the comments.
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