It’s quiet in your home — too quiet. You hear a horrific tearing sound, then a flash of lightning reveals a fluffy assailant and a fresh gash in your couch. Scratching does keep your cat’s nails healthy and helps them communicate. But you can give them a better place to get self-expressive than your brand-new couch.

Cat Scratching Surface Scratcher

Introduce Plenty of Scratch-Friendly Furniture

Instead of covering up all surfaces in your home in hopes that they’ll be ignored, introduce healthy scratching magnets throughout. Scratching posts, cat condos, and cat trees are all great options (make sure to use both vertical and horizontal surfaces). You may need to test out a few different types, sizes, and materials to see what your cat prefers best. Introduce a few different “scratch magnets” in the areas they commonly scratch.

Use Positive Reinforcement

If you want to train cats not to scratch furniture, positive reinforcement can help. Clicker train them to the appropriate surfaces, like the new scratching post. Use catnip or pheromones on the surfaces you actually want them to scratch to further encourage them.

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Pet Ownership
Benefits of Having a Cat Tree

Make It Fun

Make all interactions with appropriate scratching surfaces fun and exciting. You can do this by using a wand toy, laser pointer, or whatever seems to catch your cat’s attention. Once you get your cat to engage with the surface, their scent will be imprinted on it.

Keep Their Claws Trimmed, Covered, and Tidy

If your cat still seems to be scratching areas they shouldn’t be, consider other (humane) solutions.

  • Trim their nails regularly.
  • Use cat nail covers on their paws to protect the furniture.
  • Apply specially designed sticky tapes, aluminum foil, and other materials your cat doesn’t want to touch or hear.
  • Thoroughly clean any undesirable surfaces they’ve been scratching with an enzymatic cleaner and odor remover.


Claire Walther, DVM

Dr. Claire Walther was born and raised in Dayton, Ohio. She received her BS and DVM from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. While at Purdue University, she graduated with honors for her research. During her veterinary education, she acted as a clinical pathology technician and developed a keen understanding of clinical laboratory testing. She practiced outside Indianapolis in corporate (Banfield) and independent general practice before joining Zoetis in 2016. Dr. Walther is currently a Zoetis Petcare HQ Medical Lead.

The Walther family includes 3 dogs (Eelie, Eva, and Vanilla Bean) and two cats (Gambit and Linkin). It is the love she shares for her family, both human and animal, that fosters her drive to enhance our ability to detect, prevent and treat disease within the field of veterinary medicine.