Help! How Do I Stop My Cat From Scratching The Furniture?

You love your cat, but you don’t love those little razor blades on the end of each adorable paw. If you’re tired of shredded chairs, couches, and cushions, you’ve come to the right place. 

When it comes to scratching cats, we’ve pretty much seen it all here at Beverly Hills Veterinary Associates. We’ve put together our time tested tricks to help you stop your cat from scratching your furniture (and preserve your sanity!).

The Need to Shred

It may feel like your cat is purposely ruining that antique chair you inherited that’s been in your family for generations, but we can assure you this is not the case. Scratching is an instinct shared by all felines, and they do it for a variety of reasons:

  • Sharpen the claws
  • Mark their territory (there are scent glands on the paw pads)
  • Clean the exterior nail sheath
  • Stretch their back, feet, and leg muscles
  • Relieve tension
  • Remove cuticles

How to Stop your Cat from Scratching the Furniture

It’s not possible to stop your cat from scratching, and in fact it’s not advisable to try – this is a natural and healthy behavior. Taking away a cat’s ability to scratch can be extremely stressful for them and may lead to undesirable behaviors. We recommend providing your cat with acceptable scratching surfaces. 

Help them learn to stop scratching your furniture by picking them up right when they start and placing them next to whatever you would prefer they scratch on instead.

Types of Scratching Surfaces

It goes without saying that not all scratching surfaces are created equal. Every pet supply store is full of options, so start by choosing one made from the type of material your cat prefers to scratch (wood, cardboard, carpeting, upholstery). 

It also helps to observe your cat’s scratching style. If they normally stretch up to scratch the back of the couch, they may prefer a tall scratching post or one that hangs from a doorknob. If ripping up your brand new rug is their jam, try a vertical or flat scratching surface instead.


If you’re lucky, simply offering your cat a new scratching surface will take care of the problem. The rest of us will probably need to provide a little encouragement to get our sweet kitties interested. We offer the following suggestions:

  • Place the scratching surface in the area your cat normally scratches. For example, if you have couch-shredder on your hands, lean a vertical scratching surface up against the couch.
  • Buy multiple scratchers and place them in various areas of the home. 
  • Sprinkle a bit of catnip on the scratcher (this works wonders!).
  • Praise your cat and give them a treat each time they use their new scratching surface to create a positive association.

Please don’t hesitate to contact our team if you’re still having trouble getting your cat to stop scratching the furniture. We love all of our feline patients and are always willing to help!