How To Get Cat To Stop Scratching Couch?

smosmosmo

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Until a few months ago, Smo was confined entirely to my bedroom. My landlord knocked out part of my wall after failing a housing inspection so Smo has been able to access the living room/kitchen areas also.

The people I live with never wanted cats but have been fairly understanding about having Smo in the common areas, even though the landlord has since installed a new bedroom door. Problem is, Smo has taken to scratching at the couch when she wants attention or access to an adjoining foyer area (which we keep closed in the daytime because other neighbors keep opening the foyer door, which leads outside).

What I did initially was cover the parts of the couch she scratched the most with tape, and blocked off the sides with unfolded boxes. This seemed to help for a while, but she is now scratching at the cushions/seating areas. I know this isn't just a matter of "cats scratch" because she has several scratchers placed around the couch that she enjoys using constantly. She's a smart cat and has figured out that if she scratches, someone will get upset and either open the foyer for her or play with her. I did try to ignore her initially but she can do serious damage to the couch in a matter of seconds, so I have to chase her away. "No!" etc are not deterrents to her at all.

I am home often and play with Smo several times a day, but I can't drop what I'm doing in seconds just so I can engage in impromptu play sessions with her at random times. Also, things are getting tense around here because it isn't even my couch, and she's effectively ruined it. She used to behave herself and only scratch when I was around, but now she'll do it in front of anyone when she's restless or grumpy. At the rate she's going she's going to be confined to the bedroom 24/7 again.

I've already looked into couch covers, but even the cheapest one I was able to find was over $300 for this particular couch, which I can't afford. Covering the couch is not really an option because she'll just burrow under throw blankets to scratch underneath. The only time I've seen her stop scratching is when she had her nails clipped short at the vet, but she is extremely aggressive when handled so doing that at home isn't an option. Neither are claw caps, because she's the kind of cat that bites and scratches if you even touch her paws. The only other options I can think of are rubbing scent deterrents on the couch where people sit, or covering the whole thing in tape - no one I live with is going to be okay with that and I don't blame them.

I'm getting so frustrated with her and I don't know what to do.
 

Furballsmom

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Hi! I personally think that you'll need to spend some time and patience to work with her when she's asleep so that you can first touch a paw, then eventually clip one claw, then another claw.

In the meantime while you start this project of being able to clip her claws yourself, maybe there's something here;

23 Proven Ways To Stop A Cat From Scratching Furniture
 
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smosmosmo

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Furballsmom Furballsmom Thank you for the link - I read all the points on it though and unfortunately I've tried pretty much all of them, minus rubbing deterrents on the couch (I'm not allowed to, everybody's annoyed enough with tape all over the couch). She has different textures, configurations, etc for legitimate scratchers and she does genuinely enjoy using them. It's just that she quickly figured out that scratching the couch gets her attention very quickly from whoever's around. Even if I try to ignore her, anyone else who catches her scratching will yell at her to stop.

I can definitely try easing her into letting her paws get touched, but that's probably going to be a very long journey. The other day she bit my landlord so hard she drew blood, just because she pet her for a few seconds too long - she has some pretty bad ingrained habits since she was weaned too early, not socialized with other cats, then not really socialized with people for several years after that.

If I lived alone and it was all my furniture we'd have all the time in the world (and she could go to town on the couch), but I don't and everyone is getting to the point where they want me to keep the cat in the bedroom again. It's a small room and I'm only able to open up the foyer for a few hours at night, so it would be miserable for her to go back to that when she's gotten used to having three times the space.
 

Furballsmom

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Can you try playing with her more? Can you have more toys for her? I don't recall if you've seen any of these:

Maybe go for walks? There's a lot of energy there that needs an outlet of some type.

Harness And Leash Training For Cats

Only Natural Pet has a product called Just Relax Calming spray with essential oil (catnip oil).

There's this one, be sure and scroll all the way down the page;
Bach Flower Remedies - Rescue Remedy Pets Dogs Cats Horses Birds

Richard's Organics Pet Calm-this one is drops that you put on the tip of the tongue. Also, HomeoPet Anxiety Relief, Head to Tail Calming, Relaxivet Quiet Moments Cat treats, GNC Calming formula, and there is Calm-o-mile, Sentry calming collar, Natures Miracle calming spray, Vetri-Science's Composure is another item to look at, Pet Remedy - UK (it has valerian) is yet another, as is Essential Pet Pet-eze, Pet Organics No Stress, Only Natural Pet (brand and website) has other calming products, Pet Naturals also has one I believe, and there are others.

Also Thunderease has diffusers as does Sentry, Comfort Zone and feliway, although diffusers are expensive and not always an answer.

Lambert Vet Supply is a website to look at, and of course chewy, also there's Petwishpros, animaleo, 1-800-petmeds, Petco and PetSmart, and other pet stores.

There is also a product called a lickimat which could be helpful, as cats can be calmed by the process of licking. The LickiMat - Food Puzzles for Cats

This discussion's post talks about some other products;
Calming Treats For A Very Picky Cat

Do you have cat trees? Both upright and horizontal scratchers?

How To Make Your Home Bigger (at Least For Your Cats)

19 Best Interactive Cat Toys: Your Ultimate List (2019) | Heavy.com

21 Best Cat Toys: Your Ultimate List (2019) | Heavy.com

Home - the Ripple Rug

Food Puzzles for Cats

The LickiMat - Food Puzzles for Cats

Favorite Cat Toys

17 Best Toys For Lazy Cats
 

stephmnichols

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Have you tried Sticky Paws? It's essentially like double sided tape, so their paws get stuck to it when they try to scratch. That's what stopped my cats from digging in my planter pots, and now none of the pots even have the tape on them anymore but they don't even bother trying to dig.
 

stephmnichols

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I know you said your roommates are annoyed with the tape, but if you all came to an agreement that the couch would be 100% taped up for a week or so while she learned that she no longer likes doing it WHILE ALSO getting that mental stimulation somewhere else, perhaps through one of Furballsmom Furballsmom 's suggestions, she might forget about the couch as a source of entertainment.
 

Tobermory

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I read through the previous posts quickly so I may have missed it, but have you tried Feliway spray? Mocha was three and not socialized when I adopted her, and she had a lot of difficulty understanding the concept of scratching posts. I bought Feliway spray and lightly misted the forbidden places she did want to scratch every couple of days for several weeks.

I made sure her scratching posts weren’t close by when I misted so that none of the Feliway got on them. After it was completely dry, I moved her scratchers near the forbidden spots because they seemed to be in locations she wanted to go. It really has worked pretty well. She rarely uses anything but her scratchers any more. She was particularly fond of a matching chair and footstool, and when she occasionally forgets, a light mist usually takes care of it for another few months.
 

ArchyCat

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Just a thought.When she starts scratching the couch/cushions, try hissing at her. It is what a mom cat does to discipline kittens. And if she is in reach, scruff her (grab the loose skin at the back of her neck),and lift her till her front paws no longer touch the couch.

I've also had good luck with double sided stickytape. In the past you could buy it at pet stores. Youmight also try hardware shops.
 
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