Training your cat to use a cat scratching post is a necessary and important step when you are dealing with the question of "How to stop a cat from scratching furniture?" First, it is important to learn how to choose the best cat scratching post. Getting your cat to use her scratching post is much easier when you have taken the time to choose one for which she will automatically have a natural affinity. Once you've done that, employ the following tips to train your cat to use a scratching post and stop scratching your furniture or carpeting.
Before Training, Find the Best Place to Put Your Cat Scratching PostsA critical step in ensuring that your cat uses her new scratching posts is making sure that you choose the best areas in the house to place them. The best scratching post placement is done using knowledge of normal cat scratching behaviors. Though we humans may have preferences for where we'd like the cat scratching posts to be in our home, usually in corners and out-of-the-way places, these aren't always the best spots in the eyes of our feline friends. When we consider the issue from their point of view, it's easy to understand why.
There are a few ingrained reasons for cat scratching behavior:
Drumming up Interest in the Scratching PostIf your cat doesn't immediately use her new scratching post or shows only mild interest in it, don't worry. Sometimes they need a little more coaxing in order to discover that you've provided them with the best scratching surface they could hope for. Here are a few tips for introducing your cat to her new scratching post and training her to use it.
Negative Training Methods Usually BackfireA brief note on negative training methods: There are lots of approaches to cat training that seek to associate negative consequences with an unwanted feline behavior, causing them to avoid it in the future. These include squirting your cat in the face with water, making a loud noise with coins in a can, using mousetraps to scare or injure a cat, yelling, hitting, and any other similar strategies. These negative reinforcement techniques usually do not work with cats and, worse, they may completely backfire or cause injury. Many cats become stressed by such occurrences and, when that happens, they will react with behaviors that most humans won't find acceptable. They may urinate or defecate outside of the litterbox, on carpeting, or on personal items. They may scratch more at other objects in the home. In the worst case, they may become withdrawn and hide or refuse to eat. Focus on positively reinforcing the behavior you want to see from your cat (using her scratching post) rather than negatively reinforcing the behavior you don't want.
Final WordsIf you have followed all of the steps above for training your cat to use her new scratching post and she just doesn't seem interested in it, try moving it to another area before you give up. A nice spot in front of a window is often a good idea and, if there are birds or other wildlife around for your cat to spy on, the excitement often leads to a scratching session.
With a little bit of thought, time, and praise, your cat will be ignoring your furniture and carpeting in favor of her new scratching posts all the time.