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How to Stop Cats from Scratching & Clawing Leather Furniture

Cats scratch everything in sight, whenever they feel like it. They do it when playing, stretching, or even when bored. And, it’s perfectly normal and natural.

Scratching and clawing is an age-old issue that is hard to stop even if you give your kitty all kinds of toys and marking tools.

But then, what’s normal cat behavior can be frustrating to deal with for cat parents. Ah! Nothing hits worse than finding deep scratches on your brand-new leather couch!


 The 7 Reasons Why Cats Scratch and Claw Furniture?

1. To Keep Their Claws Healthy

Kitties scratch and claw to remove the dead outer part of their nails. While at it, the motion helps loosen and shed the outer claw sheaths, revealing newer and healthier sharp nails underneath.

male domesetic cat scratching furniture with front claws
Image Credit: Melissa Sue, Shutterstock
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2. To Stretch Their Muscles

Scratching provides exercise to the muscles and tendons in your cat’s front legs, neck, spine, and shoulders to keep it fit. Your furniture is a perfect scratching arena because it is rigid and doesn’t move around when it stretches.

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3. To Mark Their Territory

Kitties have scent glands between the pads in their claws and scratching leaves odors behind to mark their territory. Leaving a visual symbol and scent is crucial for cats because they feel the need to let other cats know there’s a cat in the area.

Surprisingly, an only cat also sees the need to transmit information to other kitties in this manner.

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4. To Work Off Excess Energy

Cat’s need to chase and play to get some of their excess energy off and be calmer and peaceful.  The need to burn extra energy can stimulate them to start clawing your furniture.

tabby cat claws
Image Credit: Africa Studio
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5. Cry for Attention from Their Owners

These pets love human connection and interactions. Denying them your attention, even if it’s a negative one, will make them lonesome and send them scratching your valuables as a way to get you to notice them.

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6. To Feel Good

Yes, a furball can scratch and claw in their feel-good moment or when playing. This activity relieves anxiety, stress and reduces its chances of developing otherwise undesirable traits.

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7. Inadequate Scratching Posts

Cats always feel an urge to scratch for no reason. And if you don’t provide them an alternative outlet to scratch, they solve the desire on your furniture.

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How to Stop Your Cat from Scratching and Clawing Leather Furniture

1. Offer a Variety of Scratching Posts in Your Cat’s Favorite Hangout Joints

Don’t offer your feline just one clawing place. Instead, introduce your cat to a variety of scratch-worthy items to expound on its options.

And, to beat your cat at its game, you can buy a leather fabric similar to your furniture and use it on these spots.

grey cat using hepper hi-lo cat scratcher from side

We're quite fond of cardboard as a material in cat scratchers, which is why we love the Hepper Hi-Lo Cat Scratcher. Encased within a well-constructed, modern birch plywood frame, this scratcher is designed with both cats and their owners in mind. It offers three versatile configurations to keep your feline friend active and entertained while enticing them to fulfill their natural scratching instincts (and away from scratching things they shouldn't). For more details, click here!

At Excited Cats, we’ve admired Hepper for many years, and decided to take a controlling ownership interest, so that we could benefit from the outstanding designs of this cool cat company!

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2. Place Scratching Posts Right Next to the Furniture

To get your fur baby to notice the scratch posts, put them near next to their preferred spots. In this situation, the most logical location would be next to your leather furnishings to destruct it.

Your kitty will revel in the use of these posts over time because they’ll give it extra resistance compared to your furniture.

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3. Make the Couch an Unattractive Scratching Place

Sometimes, kitties can’t resist couches because they fall in love with the fabric on your furniture. Therefore, if you can’t stop your fur baby, cover the valuables with unappealing materials.

You can use double-sided sticky tape because cats hate sticky feelings. You can also use aluminum foil or sandpaper sheets. Better still, you can give the leather objects an aversive odor by spraying a citrus-scented spray or attaching cotton balls with the unpleasant smell on the items.

person spraying on sofa
Image Credit: Natalia Fedchenko, Shutterstock
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4. Praise and Reward Your Cat Whenever It Claws It’s Scratching Posts

You can add positive reinforcements such as gifts to your anti-scratching arsenals. It means you should give your kitty something it likes whenever you catch it scratching the scratch-worthy objects.

Your praise and gifts will make the kitty keep on grinding on the preferred places even more.

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5. Make Your Kitty Love Its Scratching Posts

You can lure your fur baby to its scratching post by dangling a toy mouse on the post or sprinkling them with catnips. Spraying honey on the spots can also be an added enticement that’ll protect your seats.

cat scratching post
Image Credit: EbneRol, Shutterstock
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6. Give Your Kitty a Manicure

Desperate times call for desperate measures, right? Well, doing your cat’s nails might help it stop destroying your leather couch.

Make your cat wear “fake” nails by putting plastic caps on your kitty’s claws if it can’t keep off your couch. Use a mild glue to stick the nail covers. The glue will hold them in place for up to six weeks.

This trick could be an option because, even if the kitty keeps scratching your furniture, it won’t ruin it. The caps and the glue are good for your kitty’s health and well-being because they don’t damage a cat’s skin and can’t affect its scratching behavior.

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7. Train Your Cat to Stop Scratching Your Leather Furnishings

Grasp its attention by clapping your hands and command it with a “NO” if you catch it in the act of scratching your leather furniture. It’ll later stop scratching the valuable material after it learns that this action upsets you.

cat training
Image Credit: Andriy Blokhin, Shutterstock
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8.  Use Cat Scratch Guards on Your Leather Furnishings

This will not stop your cat from scratching but will at least save your furnishings from shreds. You can even get the protectors in the form of see-through plastic covers. These covers help you protect your valuables from scratches while you train your cat to use the scratching items instead.

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How to Stop Your Cat’s Destructive Behavior?

Schedule Regular Play Dates

Find your cat a playmate or, instead, become the playmate to stop the undesired trait which might be triggered because of boredom. Running around with it or making it chase objects can help stimulate them mentally.

And if you are not in the house, a treat-filled cat toy can provide it company and comfort.

Block Your Kitty’s Access to Off-Limit Objects

Close the door to the room with off-limit items if you can’t watch over her at that time. Confine the kitty in a room with its necessities and remove the valuable objects that may tempt it to scratch.

You’ll be correcting its behavior and your valuables in the process. And, once it gets to learn to scratch only the posts, you can gradually give it its freedom around the house.

Train It to Scratch and Claw in Appropriate Places

Learn to use “good kitty” when it scratches the appropriate spots and “NO” if it claws, chews, or strikes valuable objects.

Place scratch-worthy posts all over the home and place food containers or special treats near the posts to lure them.

orange cats using scratching post
Image Credit: MarinaTr, Shutterstock

Teach Your Kitty Basic Cues

Do you think cats are untrainable? Mate, cats are pretty smart, and reward-based teaching techniques can make them learn prime cues very fast. The earlier you teach it, the earlier it adapts to the tricks and adopts desirable behavior.

Remember, consistency is vital.

Find Anxiety Solutions

Try cat’s stress and anxiety remedies to ensure your fur baby is comfortable and relaxed at all times. Sometimes, these pets become problematic because of the heightened stress levels in the home or within their bodies. Keep them clean, clip their nails, and keep them happy!

Consult a Veterinarian

Some cats become problematic when something is wrong. Issues like pain, illnesses, and hormones can irritate them and lead to excessive scratching.

So, if the behavior worsens, you should take it to a vet for blood tests and physical examinations. The vet could even administer behavioral medication to stop its destructive behavior.

He could advise you on how to curb or minimize the cat’s behavior if they detect the issues early enough.

vet holding burma cat
Image Credit: Elpisterra, Shutterstock

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You probably have a realistic expectation of your kitty’s behavior, and no doubt, scratching isn’t one of them. Unfortunately, scratching is natural and appropriate to cats, although it may annoy you to your core. This is the reason why punishment is unnecessary and counterproductive.

Instead, kindness and redirecting them to your acceptable norms and patterns are by far effective. Regardless of the undesirable behavior that your kitty is demonstrating, don’t ruin the bond you both have. Plus, the tricks to make your cat responsible are entirely doable!

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Featured Image Credit: RJ22, Shutterstock