A cat’s desire to scratch is an instinctive behavior. Like dogs, they are driven by the need to mark their territory with scent glands in their paws, and they use scratching posts both for this purpose and as a way of getting rid of the dead quills from their claws. It’s also how cats stretch, which isn’t just something that happens when they get on your favorite chair.
The problem is that once kittens learn where and what it is they’re allowed (and expected) to scratch, it can be difficult for them – or you! – to change course. If you let your cat out into the wild, he would still want to claw things; he would simply find a tree or a rock to use. However, cats who are kept as house pets don’t have that option unless you provide one.
Supplying your cat with a scratching post is better than nothing but it doesn’t always work out the way we plan – for starters, most of us will buy a scratching post and put it in one place, only to find that our cat prefers another location. The best place may not be where you’d expect it to be at all!
Some people have been so frustrated by this behavior that they have actually given up on providing their feline companions with anything to scratch and chosen instead to cover every inch of their home (and then some) with ugly and/or expensive plastic or double-sided sticky tape.
However, this is a short-term solution and it doesn’t solve the problem either – besides if you don’t care what your cat scratches up as long as she keeps off the couch, why would you spend money on decorating materials?
Here are some tips to help you provide (or re-establish) appropriate scratching surfaces in your home:
* Use a variety of scratching posts; they do not all have to be made of carpeted material! Some cats like rope toys or posts that wobble and others enjoy the sturdiness and firmness of sisal. You can even buy fake plastic trees and attach corrugated cardboard at different levels. The more options you offer, the more likely it is that your cat will find something to scratch.
* To make sure that your cat isn’t marking her territory with the “wrong” scratching post, place it in a prominent area or by where she sleeps. That way, she will be less likely to scratch on the furniture later on.
* If you are trying to train your kitten not to scratch at all, consider using double-sided sticky tape instead of an ugly plastic cover (and skip the electrical tape!). If cats can see their reflection in it they may be less inclined to use this surface for scratching because they don’t like how it looks either! You could also try covering just part of the sectional sofa with cling film – cats won’t want anything near them that feels icky.
* If your cat is going to scratch, you may as well make sure that he’s only destroying the things you want him to. Don’t put out a scratching post in front of the leg of your favorite armchair or next to a bookcase – give it a place where your cat won’t do too much damage and put the sofas and tables somewhere else!
* For ideas on how to “redecorate” an area without spending too much money, think about what you already have at home that could be adapted into a scratching surface. You could turn a baby gate into a horizontal plank by bolting it onto two pieces of wood, for example. If there is sufficient wall space around electrical outlets, you could attach a piece of sisal to the wall with cable ties. If there is an open space under your window ledge, screw some corrugated cardboard onto some wooden palettes and put them in that corner.
* If none of this works, then at least you know where not to look when you come home – on your couch!
Remember: all cats need to scratch so it’s important for them (and for you!) that they learn how to do it properly. Scratching isn’t just satisfying; it also removes old sheaths from their claws, stretches their muscles, and exercises their paws. It is very good for cats if they do it the right way but they will still find other places (and other things) to scratch if they are not getting what they need.
Conclusion on How to Stop Cats from Scratching Walls?
Sometimes, it is just about being patient and continuing to provide scratching surfaces in the hope that your cat will eventually choose one of them instead of leaving ugly marks on your sofa. However, when nothing else seems to work you could try making them uncomfortable with vertical strips of double-sided sticky tape or attaching a “sock” stuffed with loose strands of steel wool around their favorite post (although this can be very annoying for your pet).
Ideally, though, you should be able to train your cat not to scratch up everything in sight or anything at all – whether using sprays, water pistols, air horns, or even plastic bags (fill them with air and lay them on the floor or hang them from a hook and if your cat comes anywhere near the “baggie of doom”, it will fall on him!).