The other day, we were talking about one of our clients who complained about how cat hair is always all over her furniture and clothes, and how the cats are always scratching the sofa and chairs.
I personally love cats and know a lot about them. Brushing their fur often does help with the hair problem and there are some very effiecient lint-type brushes that work even better than vacuuming to remove the hair from furniture. Also, a few well-placed scratching posts really does help to deter them from ruining the furniture and focus their need to scratch onto something suited for them.
First, let’s deal with some misconceptions about cats and scratching. I think most of us become fond of our cats to the point that they become furry children instead of pets, and the scratch marks on our couches become personal insult instead of animal instinct. That isn’t to say that your cat approves of your inner designer — you’ll know your cat dislikes the new furniture when they prefer the box that it came in — but it’s important to consider why your cat scratches before beginning the quest to save your furniture.
A primary reason why cats scratch is to mark their territory. Scratching leaves a visual and olfactory (though not for the human nose) mark telling other animals that this area belongs to your cat. Scratching is both a welcome sign and warning stating that this is Fluffy’s residence, but to kindly stay off the lawn. Make no mistake — you may pay the bills, but in your cat’s mind, the space belongs to them. That said, cats also scratch for other reasons. Scratching can help them release pent-up excitement or anxiety, remove the dead layer from their claws, and to simply stretch and flex their body after a tough day of napping. For a human mind, a shredded couch screams destruction and anger but, for cats, scratching is (most of the time) a healthy and normal thing to do.
Ok, ok, so scratching is normal but how do I save my furniture?
Location, Location, Location
The biggest mistake most cat owners make is sticking a scratching post in some dusty corner of the house that their cat never steps in and expects them to use it. Cats like to scratch where they hang out—if your cat spends all day on the couch, the couch is where they’re going to scratch. Instead, put the scratching post directly in front of your couch arms or at the very least, nearby. Make sure your cat has easy access to the post.
Scratching Posts as Beds
If your cat likes sleeping and scratching in the same area, you can safely say that they consider that their territory. So why not combine them? With the right material, cat beds can easily double as scratching posts and allow your cat to mark to their own furniture to their hearts content.
Just because your cats like staying in boxes doesn’t mean you have to, as well. Scratching posts don’t have to be an ugly accessory to your home. As long as you keep it in an area that your cat frequents, as well as the right material, scratching posts can become artistic statements or practical additions to your home. One said artistic statement of a post is examplified here:
This cat-lover/supreme Tolkien fan got serious by combining his two loves. To see how this “Tower of Sauron” cat scratch post was created, cat & “Lord of the Ring”/”The Hobbit” fans, check this link out here! This post was created by Tim Baker Creations for Super-Fan Builds.
For my next post, look for some really cool Catios (which are cat-friendly outdoor enclosures) because cats and design CAN go together. So, don’t let your master-of-the-house cat control your inner designer.