One of the most common challenges faced by those of us who have feline friends in the family is trying to protect our furniture from those sharp and relentless claws. While some cats will head to the couch the moment our backs are turned, others are a little bit more bold, choosing to ignore the best cat toys we've placed out for them and scratch right in front of us while shooting us a defiant glare.
If you've been tearing your hair out trying to figure out how to save your couch from coming under attack, behaviorist Jackson Galaxy is coming to your rescue with some simple ideas that will help your kitty learn appropriate scratching behavior. You can view his full TikTok video below, or keep reading for his two top tips.
Galaxy's first suggestion is to create a strong 'no' in the form of a deterrent. "If you use something like Sticky Paws, that's always been my best friend," he says. "It's a great no because most cats are going to feel it and they're going to go, well this is not getting me what I want at all. There's your no right there."
For his second tip, Galaxy suggests that you always balance your 'no' with a 'yes', which in this instance would be providing your feline friend with the best cat scratching post. This gives them a dedicated space to sharpen their claws, plus they'll get a wonderful stretch in the process.
You'll want to pop the scratching post next to where they're scratching, but rest assured, you won't need to keep it there forever.
"A lot of times, if you think about it, your cat is scratching the couch or your bed, those are the two big ones," Galaxy explains. One of the reasons is that your scent is really strong in that area, so they're going to want to compliment that scent. So the yes has to be right near that no. It works and it's not permanent, this is just a training tool."
It's important to note that your cat may continue to try to scratch where you've placed the Sticky Paws (the 'no') several times, which is to be expected. However, if you notice after a few failed attempts that they start to head over to the scratching post (the 'yes') that you've placed nearby, you'll soon be able to remove the 'no' and move the 'yes' into a more appropriate location.
Remember, training your feline friend in a new behavior takes time, patience, and consistency. If, after a few weeks of trying this technique your cat continues to scratch the furniture, we recommend reaching out to a professional behaviorist for further assistance.
For more great training tips, check out our guide to how to litter train a kitten.
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Kathryn is a freelance writer who has been a member of the PetsRadar family since it launched in 2020. Highly experienced in her field, she's driven by a desire to provide pet parents with accurate, timely, and informative content that enables them to provide their fur friends with everything they need to thrive. Kathryn works closely with vets and trainers to ensure all articles offer the most up-to-date information across a range of pet-related fields, from insights into health and behavior issues to tips on products and training. When she’s not busy crafting the perfect sentence for her features, buying guides and news pieces, she can be found hanging out with her family (which includes one super sassy cat), drinking copious amounts of Jasmine tea and reading all the books.