Hoe u kunt voorkomen dat uw kat uw meubels verpest

Tabby cat on a sofa wearing a yellow bow tie

If your cats are anything like mine, they like to, with a sense of entitlement, ruin your furniture. My sofa arm upholstery is shredded, quite literally. Luckily I have found some people on Etsy that make sofa covers for specific sofa models and mine is one of them.

But before I dole out a couple of hundred euro for a fresh new sofa cover (and let’s not ignore the stressful episode ahead of me of wrestling my existing covers off and the new one on), I want to make sure that I am not setting myself up for another shredding.

Tabby Cat in a Rainbow Bow Tie

After trying out several of the methods below, Cooper, my gorgeous tabby cat, rarely attempts a good sofa scratch. Or maybe he just considers the mission completed by his foster brother Gary, who crossed the Rainbow Bridge in early 2023. Gary left a cat shaped hole in our family and the sofa arm looking more like tassels than upholstery.

Before I tried the cat scratching preventative efforts I discuss below, I relied upon a naive hope that my repeated verbal scolding, often accompanied by clapping my hands loudly would deter and disrupt Gary and Cooper’s happy clawing.  This approach often resulted in either cat shooting me a languorous (hello English Lit A level, it’s been a while) shrug…and yes, I know, cats can’t actually shrug but my fellow cat owners know exactly what I am referring to. The cattitude is real…hence I make cat bow ties, because attitude deserves a sustainably made accessory.

Tabby Cat in a Blue Bow Tie

To ensure a new sofa cover can safely enter this house with some form of cat scratching protection, I did some research. I found 7 highly recommended approaches and methods to help prevent cats from ruining furniture and I wanted to share them. So we can all believe in a future where we can be adoring, attentive cat owners and have nice things…namely furniture, rugs and cushions.

Tabby Cat Claws

Why Do Cats have Claws?

Cats, whether domestic or not, use their claws to climb, scratch, dig, defend themselves and catch prey. Cat claws also help your cat maintain their balance. For this and basic ethical reasons, cats should never be de-clawed.

Declawing is an entirely unnecessary surgery which puts your cat at risk of infection, behavioural issues and of course unable to defend themselves should they be outside.

Ginger and White Cat on top of shredded sofa arm

Why do Cats Scratch Furniture?

It turns out that cats scratch furniture for a few reasons…

Cat Claw Maintenance - by scratching your gorgeous armchair or sofa, they are keeping their claws sharp. Ready to defend themselves in a cat fight or catch prey…whether they actually do either of these things is irrelevant. Their natural instinct ensures they are prepared should an opportunity arise.

Marking their Territory - cats have scent glands in-between their claws, so scratching the sides of beds, sofas etc allows them to leave their signature mark, indicating to others that this is their space and helping make themselves feel secure.

Exercising - Scratching is a great way for your feline friend to tone their back and shoulder muscles, not to mention their paws and legs.

Relaxation -  Cats often stretch to scratch and this allows them to release tension, burn a few calories and generally chill out. Cos you know, a cat’s life is tough. So much catnapping, so many people to make smile while wearing a bow tie

Black Cat in a Blue and Red Loveheart Bow Tie

How to Stop Your Cat Scratching Your Furniture

So we know it is important for cats to scratch, we just want to re-direct their attention away from our favourite armchair, bed or sofa arm. Here are a range of methods to try

1. Double Sided Sticky Tape or TinfoilDouble Sided Tape to Prevent Cats from Scratching

Attaching double sided tape or tin foil  to the surface of your furniture will not damage it but will deter your cat. They won’t enjoy the sensation and will soon move on to somewhere more pleasant to scratch.

Cat Spray

2. Spray No Scratch Cat Repellent

This was a method I tried and it worked anytime I remembered to re-apply. There are a variety of scratch repellent sprays you can source from your local pet store or online. They won’t damage your furniture or harm your cat but their scent will offend your cat’s cute little nose to the point where they will leave that spot well alone.
I am sure there are some homemade recipes to be found online too but I was too worried about damaging my furniture to try.

Vinyl Furniture Guards to prevent Cats scratching

3. Vinyl Guards

I haven’t tried these but have heard good things. Much along the line of using the sticky tape or tinfoil, these are adhesive vinyl sleeves that you place on whatever furniture your cat is trying to demolish. We can all imagine how satisfying trying to scratch vinyl is so it’s no surprise your cat will quickly seek a better scratching area…cue scratch post suggestion…

Cat Scratching Post

4. Get a Scratching Post

This was the winner in our house. We placed vertical scratch posts on all the spots the cats were hellbent on destroying. Admittedly it was too late for our sofa but we persevered and once both cats were happily scratching these boards, we started moving them to areas more convenient for them and us.
Cooper now exercises his scratch impulses on a textured cat tree near the cat flap. He will not use the cute little cubby holes or even sit on it anymore. In true cat form, he always preferred the box it came in over sitting on it in any way but that’s cattitude for you. The fact he enjoys a good scratch on it rather than our newest armchair is more than enough justification for my purchase.
When choosing the texture of your scratch post keep in mind that outside your cat will always choose a tree to scratch so look for coarse and natural surfaces, and your cat will be unable to resist.

Trimming a Cat's Claws

5. Trim their Claws (NOT Declaw)

To be clear this post in no way recommends or approves declawing but you can take your cat to your local pet salon for a claw trim. Regular claw trimming can be a great way of ensuring your cat is comfortable and healthy. 

Untrimmed, your cat’s claws can become uncomfortably long for them, and even risk curling under or damaging their paw pads.
You can trim your cat’s claws yourself but if you opt for that you are a braver cat pawrent than me. Cooper may be completely unbothered by wearing one of my knitted Cat Bow Ties (because they are super light and flexible) but he would not endure a home manicure from me.

Knitted Catnip Toys

6. Distract and Deter with a Catnip Toy

This proved to be an effective but short term solution for us. Gary used to ADORE catnip and would happily test my range of catnip toys for me. Throwing a catnip packed toy their way would certainly disrupt their scratching urge but it relied on me being around to spot and stop the sofa scratching each time…and have a bunch of catnip toys to hand.

Water spray bottles

7. Squirt Water

Squirting water at your cat is often an effective way to discipline them without causing them or you any distress. We used this method to stop Cooper from climbing the kitchen sides when we adopted him as a 9 month old who had survived being abandoned by his first family by scavenging.
We always sprayed water to to prevent Gary scratching the sides of our bed and although it created random, tiny and temporary damp patches around the bed it was definitely helpful.


So if your cat is behaving in an ungentlemanly or unladylike manner around your furniture, despite the beautifully handmade Cat Bow Tie they may be wearing around their collar, give any one of these cat scratching preventative methods a go. Let me know how you and your furniture got on in the comments below.

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