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Expert Advice on Pet Health and Nutrition

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WebMD Expert Discussion: How Do I Stop My Cat From Scratching the Furniture?

You love your cat. But you don’t love the shredding your sofa is taking due to your cat's constant need to claw. What can you do?

Cats are compelled to scratch, says WebMD Guest Expert Will Draper, DVM. They do it to sharpen their nails. There’s pretty much no way to “train” a cat not to scratch.

Draper suggests trying one or more of these options:

  • Place one or more suitable scratching posts around your home. Encourage your cat to use the post by sprinkling catnip on it.
  • Regularly trim your cat’s nails. Start doing it when your cat is young -- your cat might even learn to enjoy it.
  • Use plastic nail covers to cover the sharp tips of your cat’s nails. He’ll still scratch, but he won’t damage your furniture.

Declawing is also an option, but Draper notes that it is a controversial procedure. Most vets will recommend less invasive, non-surgical options.

One cat owner solved their cat's furniture scratching problem by creating a custom cat scratching zone -- a 32-inch high trunk that is covered with canvas. It took a week for kitty to learn to like it, but now she favors her special scratching spot and leaves the real furniture alone.

Does your furniture bear the scars of cat scratching? What methods do you use to keep your kitty from clawing the furniture around your house? Share your tips and strategies to protect furniture from clawing cats.

Discussion led by William Draper, DVM Guest Expert
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Guest Expert

Dr. Will opened Georgia’s first accredited small animal emergency room in 2000. He’s been named Best Vet by Atlanta Magazine since 2004... More

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Pet Health and Nutrition Advice

Veterinarian Will Draper gives tips on the best nutrition and health care for your dog or cat.
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