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Cure Scratching or Get Rid of Cat - Help!!! Redecorating

post #1 of 60
Thread Starter 
I have read Hissy's post about trying everything, would like to hear what has actually worked for you'all. I am desperate.

I am at the end of my rope and my husband is livid. Redecorating with $100+/sq. yard fabric.

My 11 year old cat has already scratched the top of the new chairs 37" up. He has one scratch post which he uses in our presence but secretly scratches furniture when we're not around. He was trained on a scratch post as a kitten but has always secretly scratched the furniture. He is an indoor and outdoor neutered male cat, very sweet disposition.

The chairs are now covered with aluminum foil, husband is complaining about the looks of things, I am so depressed.

We've talked about finding him another home, making him an outdoor cat (would be impossible, he loves us). There is no way to keep him out of the living room with the open floor plan we have.

The options I've thought about so far, please tell me what you think:

Have 2 scratch posts custom made 37"+ tall so they'll be as tall as he seems to like to scratch, cover with sisal (heard sisal is better than sisal rope), put a platform on top with notches so that there are 8 corners to scratch, cover with burlap or other cat attractive weave, sprinkle catnip as often as I can on it. Place them right next to scratched furniture. I have no idea where I can get these built, I haven't seen any over 3' in stores or internet.

Put sticky tape on the furniture, I hope not forever.

Spray lemon air freshener on the furniture.

Try Soft Paws.

If these things fail, I'll have to get rid of the cat.
Any suggestions? Has anything stopped your cats from scratching furniture?

post #2 of 60
How about giving your cat a designated chair or sofa all his own to scratch? Or finding a sturdy tree limb you can bring inside mounting it on a solid base and letting him have that?

What has worked for me with one problem scratcher was the balloons and the fan trick- Two days of watching those helium balloons bounce around was to much for Rip and she attacked the couch caused one of the balloons to burst and never went near the couch again.
post #3 of 60
I would try soft paws too.
post #4 of 60
Thread Starter 
No room for the cat to have a chair or sofa, and certainly wouldn't look good with the designer sofa.

I've tried to get him interested in wood but he walks away.

The balloon idea is great, but what size balloons, how and where do they attach? I guess you're saying the helium balloons bounce around with the fan on, the cat can't resist, attacks and boom, major negative reinforcement. Please tell me the above, I can't wait to try it. I guess you also have scratch posts?

post #5 of 60
Thread Starter 
I've read they don't work and some say they do work. Has anyone here had experience, pro or con with Soft Paws?

post #6 of 60
Find a tall cat tree or condo - the kind that goes basically straight up. I've seen them with shelves off to the sides so that a cat can stretch up on them to their full length. I have 2 of these in my house. It's a fun toy for them and might redirect them away from the furniture to the higher perches.
post #7 of 60
The cats I am going to write about were adopted from the wild and were both adults when adopted. These two were bad scratchers when we first brought them into the house.

I solved the problem with these two techniques....both of which are VERY easy.

First, I put double-sided tape everywhere they scratched. Then I brought home a bunch of those cheap cardboard scratching pads and placed them next to the furniture and rugs they were scratching. Even though the cats preferred scratching the backs of chairs, they immediately fell in love with these flat cardboard pads.

Once the cats were regularly scratching the cardboard, I began removing the double-sided tape, just a little at a time (about two strips of tape a day). Eventually the tape was all gone.

Now...no more furniture scratching and even though the cardboard scratching pads are ugly, they are real easy to pick up and pitch in the closet when company comes.

If this worked for adult ferals, I am sure you can find something that will work for your sweet boy!
post #8 of 60
The balloon trick is easy as well. I used the smaller helium balloons, and ran them on one string, ran the string up the side of the couch, and under the couch cushion,weight down the cushion and set a fan on the balloons on low to blow them around.

My cats also have turbo scratchers, that they love, carboard scratchers, regular scratching posts and a log. They have high cat condos and a couch upstairs that is all their's to scratch to their heart's content. Sometimes, they make a mistake and scratch the ottoman downstairs, but I don't lose it on them. It is part of being a cat owner, I take these ferals in on good faith and understand that I cannot stop their natural behavior. If it means sacrificing an ottoman, so be it, they are worth the sacrifice.
post #9 of 60
Thread Starter 
I am looking forward to doing the balloons, but where do you find small helium filled balloons, a party shop?

I tried the corrugated cardboard scratch boxes but my cat just wasn't interested. They were on the floor so I guess he's a vertical scratcher. He also couldn't be persuaded to scratch logs or wood, we have lots by the fireplace and tried to make him interested but no go.

Husband is thinking about making him an outdoor cat but he's such a people cat.

Thanks for the tips, I've also gotten the sticky tape but still have aluminum foil around the chairs, also bought some citrus spray and the citrus stick on air fresheners to hide in the cushions.

post #10 of 60
Have you thought about finding him another home? Rather than make him an outside cat, that might be an option for you. Cats will scratch, it is their nature, you can't change it , but you can redirect it with time and patience. Also a warning about the foil, if he swallows even a tiny piece of aluminum foil it could prove to be a big vet bill or even deadly, for aluminum foil is toxic to cats.
post #11 of 60
Thread Starter 
I'd never heard that before, an interior decorator friend of mine used it on her new furniture for 6 months and it cured her cat's scratching and urinating on the furniture.

I don't think I can find the cat a new home, too attached. I've had him since a kitten, 11 years, 2 years of which I had a serious illness and he was my only company. He is so bonded to me it's almost too needy. To give him away would be a death sentence for him and I don't know if I could handle it.

I just got through a SureFit slipcover catalogue, maybe I'll just buy these covers for the beautiful furniture so we can rarely see it. At least the cat will be happy.

Hissy, didn't you say to get Soft Paws earlier? Don't you think they will work? Also, the double sided tape and balloons may be worth a try, or don't you think so now?

Is there a difference if his scratching is marking behavior or scratching behavior? Theory that marking will not be cured with a cat scratch post.

post #12 of 60
I haven't used Soft Paws, but I don't see why that wouldn't work. Perhaps someone who does use them can clue you in.
post #13 of 60
Why would you buy such extravagantly expensive "designer" furniture when you KNEW you had a cat that like to scratch?!?! Did you just think the problem would go away? I mean, I am sure he scratched on furniture during the past 11 years, right?

gets down off soap box

1st, if he likes to scratch, why only 1 scratching post?? They want to make everything theirs. Several posts in good VISIBLE locations will help. (you can't hide them out of sight because that is NOT where cats want to scratch)
Make sure they are tall and sturdy enough and use the substance he prefers (if that is sisal, then don't try bare wood) It doesn't help if he ignores it.

2nd. Keep the nails trimmed as short and as often as humanly possible. I have noticed that they scratch more when they are long.

3rd. Soft paws can work. I have tried them. During my test period of 5 cats 3 could not keep them on long enough to suit me. 1 kept them on for an overly long amount of time. (if your cat is like this, then they could be your answer). and 1 cat kept them on an average amount of time. They DID do what they were intended to do, very effectively, but the reason they stay on one cat but not on another is that they come off as the claws shed. And some simply shed their claws either more often or one at a time making it a daily replacement of just 1 cap. TRY THEM, then you will know.
post #14 of 60
I think different cats like different textures. Some like fabric, some like wood, etc. You need scratching posts made out of fabric with the same texture as your furniture. I also sprinkle catnip on the scratching posts every so often. I have a bunch of scratching posts scattered around the house. I try to keep them in close proximity to wherever the cats are more likely to claw. I have a couple of cats that love wood. I was able to find a wood scratching post at Tuesday Morning a couple of years ago. I have five cats, but scratching isn't a big problem for us.
post #15 of 60
Good afternoon,

In response to your desperate remedy for the cat scratching the furniture, I will try. Because of your cats age, these habits are routine and may not be reversible ....but....Catnip may be the answer, or at least one of them.

Rub catnip on your cat scratching play area to direct him away from people furniture. If you can direct him to one specific room....the "fun room" then your life will be less stressful. You will need to reapply the catnip on a daily basis for one week. If that does not work...then the next few suggestions are time consuming, but could assist in retraining the bad habits.

1. Keep a spray bottle of water in the room where the furniture is. Whenever the cat approaches the furniture...grab the spray bottle and say "No" a few quick sprays directed near him will chase him away and eventually you will only have to go for the bottle to get him to stop.

2. Have a dust buster near where you sit. When the cat gets into his scratching mode...turn it on. I have not yet met a cat that liked a vacuum cleaner.

Some may think that these remedies are cruel...but they will not harm him, but your husbands solution to put him outdoors or even to a new home is an answer to anyone that would rather not try this first.

If you send me a small self addressed stamped envelope, ( Dave McDonnell, 83 Valley Road, Needham, MA 02492 ) I will send you a sample of Kittybags.com leaf and Flower Buds Catnip.....Good Stuff!!!
post #16 of 60
Bless you Dave! Thanks for the input! And I can vouch for his catnip- it is some really nice potent blends!
post #17 of 60
Originally posted by hollie9
I've read they don't work and some say they do work. Has anyone here had experience, pro or con with Soft Paws?

I've used soft paws and they work pretty good depending on the cat. One of my cats didn't mind having them on, but the other kept ripping them off. My friend has had luck with them, as has my sister.
post #18 of 60
I just came across a new product at the Doctors Foster and Smith website. It is called Sticky Paws, and it is basically double-sided tape that is meant to be placed on furniture and not leave a residue when you remove it. You may want to give it a try, along with some of the other ideas so far.

I can completly relate to your situation, as I found myself in a very similiar situation not too long ago. I ended up opting for the declawing procedure, but DON"T take that as an endorsement. You should try EVERYTHING possible before coming to that decision, and then think long and hard about the possible outcome. Your kitty may, and most likely because of his age will, have a very bad reaction to the procedure and may develop some SERIOUS behavioral issues as a result. You need to decide whether or not you will be able to live with a cat who may have a COMPLETE change in personality and behavior, and if you can't, then don't declaw.

Good Luck,
post #19 of 60
Use Soft paws, they work great!!!
post #20 of 60
Thread Starter 
My cat only scratches furniture when I'm not around, I only see the marks. He uses the scratch post when I'm in sight. So I can never catch him to squirt with water or dust buster.

I do use catnip on the scratch post and perhaps I will get more posts however on the Soft Paws site there are testimonials that say even with lots of scratch posts the cats still scratch the furniture.

I ordered Soft Paws but I had cut my cats claws so short they would not adhere. I now have to wait for the claws to grow out a bit. Can't wait to see if they work.

My furniture is now covered with Sticky Paws instead of aluminum foil. The tape is time consuming to put on and doesn't look very good so I would have to take it off and put it on all the time depending on company.

I can't believe I'm the only person here with this problem, do you'all have cats that don't scratch furniture or do you just live with shredded furniture? Or do you only use unscratchable fabrics?

Sorry to be on a soapbox.

post #21 of 60
Well mine scratch the furniture and most of them by the end of the love seat are schredded . We don't buy new furniture and just cover them up with blankets . I do have to say it got better since I have 2 large cat tree over 6 feet tall and the cat enclosure helps too . Also what has help a little was feliway plug-in for me . But they still scratch . We just don't make a big deal out of it , well me . My hubby is a little hmmm absad , oh well he get over it . We also got 2 rocking chairs with a food stool from wal-mart and they don't scratch them too but like to sleep on them . As you can see you are not allone in that .
post #22 of 60
Mine all learned not to scratch, but it did take a good year of double-sided tape on the furniture for it to work and trial and error to find the kind of scratching posts they each liked. With the sticky-tape and good individualized scratching padsm, not a single piece of our furniture is damaged despite our having 6 purely indoor cats!
post #23 of 60
For me it helped to designate one stick of furniture strictly for the cats to scratch. An old couch upstairs, and they shred that poor thing on a daily basis. But, they leave the rest of the furniture alone except for the ottoman in the bedroom. That's okay though, we can live with their natural habits.
post #24 of 60
I did try softpaws and they were a waste of money. Do you clip you cats nails? I have my vet do my boy because I am a chicken and never cut enough off, afraid I'll make him bleed. My kitty has been a scratcher his whole life, he's very stubborn and has me well trained. Even though he has one of those horrid 4 foot tall, $200 kitty condos, my $1500 chair is better. I put towels over the corners that he scratches when I'm away or home alone, they're easy to tuck away when company comes around. What about sprinking cayenne pepper around the corners where he scratches, it should only take a couple of good snorts before he never touches the furniture again.
post #25 of 60
I have 3 senior cats who've scratched to their heart's content on my ratty furniture most of their lives - one is about 16 years old, the other two are 10 years old. I got married this spring, & my husband has nice furniture, so I needed to find a way to change my cats' habits QUICK! We put them in the spare bedroom (this was also because he has a cat too, so we had to do the gradual introduction bit) that we designated as "the cat room". I put Soft Paws on my cats (one warning about softpaws - they incapacitate your cat's claws, so he'll need to stay indoors while he has them on). Two of the cats did fine with the softpaws, and one just ripped them right off. I just persisitently reapplied them whenever I noticed one had fallen off, and she eventually accepted them. Follow the application instructions carefully to ensure a good fit. A taste detterent like bitter apple applied to the softpaws can help too.

We kept the cats in their room when I couldn't be around to supervise, and when I could, I put his indoor/outdoor cat outside & let my cats wander around the house. I brought in a good sturdy tree branch from outdoors and my husband mounted it on a base for me, and put that right next to the couch, sprinkling it with catnip for my
vertical scratcher. I provided a heavy rag rug sprinkled with catnip for the horizontal scratcher. Then I watched them like a hawk, and praised them and gave them lots of pets for expressing interest in the scratching post. Whenever I saw them express interest in the couch & chairs, I would pop some bubble wrap (the kind with the big bubbles, that makes a nice loud POP!), but any loud noise should do the trick. Don't yell at them or do anything to make them associate the noise with you - they have to think that it just comes out of thin air whenever they scratch the furniture. If they associate the noise with you, they'll just scratch when you aren't around. The softpaws were my safety backup, so they couln't do any damage while they were learning. They learned pretty quickly to focus on the acceptable scratching areas, and after about 6 months I now trust them without the softpaws on, though I do still trim their nails short.

The important thing is to pay attention to what seems to attract him - something sturdy & tall? tree bark? carpet? carpet backing? Try to find a good tall sturdy cat post (you may need to build one yourself or find someone that can help you), with qualities similar to what you've noticed he likes to scratch. Place the scratcher(s) that appeal to him next to each piece of furniture he likes. Put him next to his scratcher when he wakes up from a nap, and give him lots of pets there, so he'll associate good things with his scratcher. Hopefully that combined with the Soft Paws and making a loud noise when he tries to scratch something off limits will work for you and save your furniture. There are also deterrent sprays you can buy at the petstore if they'll work for you - just put the cat scratching post out of range of the deterrent odor.

Hope this helps.

Mr. Underfoot with his blue Soft Paws on:
post #26 of 60
This might sound mean, but I think you should find your cat a home that will not be more worried about their furniture that their feline companions.
I just recently went to the trouble of rescuing a kitten from a rottweiller, gave him to a vet tech, and she had him declawed. I was so angry that I actually punched her right in the vet's office. She even had to take him to another vet to have it done, becuse the one she works for wouldn't do it. "But he was ruining my couch!" was her excuse, after I specifically told her she could not have him if she were going to do that. If I had the experience of having a contract, I would be suing her and taking the cat back.
If your furniture is more important, I guess it is just a matter of priorities. I am sorry if this sounds harsh.
post #27 of 60

Reading back through these again I noticed you asked about marking - have you tried Feliway spray or plug-in? It's a pheromone that helps make cats feel more comfortable with their surroundings. Perhaps it would help if he's scratching the new furniture coverings to mark his territory. www.feliway.com

The plug-in & spray are available at most pet supply stores, or you can find it online. I also used that with my cats. I used several methods (mentioned above) to get them to stop scratching, so I don't know which one helped, or if it was the combination.

Good luck!

Here's a cute link I stumbled across once about scratching - it's translated from french but talks about scratching as scent marking.

krazy kat2,
I'm sorry you had such a frustrating experience with the kitten, and I'm sorry the kitten was subjected to declawing. It is indeed a terrible thing. But I don't see anywhere in this thread where Hollie has even mentioned declawing - looks to me like she's asking for constructive advice to stop scratching, and rehoming the cat will be a last resort. I hope that she'll be able to use ideas provided here by fellow cat owners, and will never even consider declawing.

JMO, but I think the best way to discourage declawing is to educate people about what it actually is, to help people find ways to train their pets not to scratch, and provide ideas to those that turn to the forums for help.
post #28 of 60
Hi all

I have 2 bits for you

One is that I have used the Soft Paws on a friend's kitten and they worked really well for about 4 weeks. 3 hints: clip the claws as short as you dare. Put a healthy dose of the glue into the claw cap. (having someone hold the cat for this process is advisable unless your cat is comatose.) Buy the colored caps; they look silly but you can tell at a glance that one has come off.

In lieu of caps contact Cat's International


They have a 100% success rate with scratching problems.

Good Luck!

post #29 of 60
I did not mean to imply that I thought she would do that to her cat, and apologize if it sounded that way. It just really frustrates me when people worry so much about their furniture that it takes precedence over their cats. They knew they had cats when they got the fancy furniture. Once again, I know I sounded a bit harsh, and I apologize if I offended anyone with my opinion. I truly hope that a good solution can be found for all concerned.
post #30 of 60
Hollie, DO NOT cut your cats claws too short. They only have to be trimmed a little and the soft paws will work. My Pixie Bob, Aurora, has some huge feet and she has 2 extra toes on the front paws and 1 extra toe on the back feet. The soft paws worked great for her, but I no longer use them. I used the soft paws mainly for me, not my furniture. She is a good girl and uses the scratching posts.
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