Like having toddlers, having cats may mean that you don’t want too many nice things (or at least you want nice and sturdy). One of the things that potential cat owners worry about is the damage that can be done to their furniture by a cat. And it’s true that all cats have an inborn urge to scratch. They do it to sharpen their claws, relieve boredom and stress, and often as a precursor to climbing onto something so they can look around from a better vantage point. Scratching is an important part of a healthy cat’s life, but many owners would prefer they didn’t do it to their furniture! So, do all cats do this or are some worse/better about it than others? Do Persian cats scratch furniture?
Persian cats will absolutely scratch furniture! They’re cats! Persian cats may be passive and lazy, but they still have an innate need to scratch and the urge to play (and attack furniture) is as a part of them as any other cats.
As a note, we do not endorse declawing a cat. It’s painful, causes balance problems, and renders them helpless if they end up outside for whatever reason. Instead, we are going to look at why Persian cats scratch furniture and how you can get them to stop doing it and redirect them to what you do what them to use.
Why Do Persian Cats Scratch the Furniture?
Cats have a regular urge to scratch and furniture is usually their go-to. This can be due to the fabric (the rougher the fabric, the better), as well as availability (there’s always a couch, chair, or bed to scratch!) But why do cats do this?
- Sharpening their claws. This is simply part of their grooming ritual – scratching removes worn layers and lets them get their claws in top shape. This is important to their overall health – cats need their claws not only for defense, but also for part of their balance and mental wellbeing.
- Scratching lets cats deposit their scent on something and marks that as part of their territory
- Scratching is a form of playing for cats and a way to relieve stress
- Scratching is a form of gentle exercise and stretching
So for Persian cats (and other cats), scratching is actually an important part of their health. But we don’t necessarily want them doing it to our furniture! What can you do to steer them away from your couches and chairs and still let them relieve that need?
Training Your Persian Cat Out of Scratching the Furniture
Cats are reputed for being hard to train, but this isn’t necessarily true. Cats are generally intelligent animals and some of them enjoy the mental stimulation, so long as there’s something in it for them. Scratching though is a tough one to train – it’s an instinctive need and a lot of furniture has the feel and texture they go after. How can you dissuade your cat from your chair?
- Give your cat alternatives! Cat trees, scratching boards, even some cardboard boxes or a piece of wood makes a great alternative for cats to scratch. I’d recommend a sturdy cat tree with a perch on top, covered in rough carpet or fibres to give your cat a dual purpose. You can put treats or catnip on it to encourage them to use it and keep it near windows. Moving the tree around too helps to prevent boredom.
- Toys. Persian cats may be lazy and passive, but they get bursts of playful energy that needs an outlet. Having toys around helps to combat boredom and gives them exercise. I’m actually fond of a giant (well, from the cat’s perspective) felt ball that my larger male cat will grab, hold on to, and ‘rabbit kick’. He can kick that thing to pieces instead of attacking my bed!
- Put duct tape on your furniture. They don’t like stickiness in their fur and will go back to clawing what they enjoy clawing
- Trim your cat’s nails. This is actually just good for a cat anyway (prevents injury and ingrown claws) and will help prevent some of the damage they can cause.
- Use positive reinforcement like praise and treats when a cat uses their own toys and a loud noise to chase them away from your furniture. This takes time, but it is more effective than simply yelling at your cat.
The best way to protect your furniture is to use things like tape to protect it and covering up key areas with things like cushions to dissuade your cat, and then redirect them to what you do what them to use like a scratching post. We actually have a couple of old chairs that they can rip to pieces if they like as well.
Scratching is normal cat behavior and Persian cats, for all that they are quite passive, aren’t immune to it. It is healthy behavior that simply has to be redirected from your furniture to their own toys, scratching posts, and whatever else you want to let them use. Most cats can be trained out of scratching your furniture, as long as you are patient and reward good behavior.
Does your cat scratch the furniture? How have you dealt with it? We have some pretty solid furniture at our house that is hard for them to destroy, so that’s how we combatted it, along with some battered and cheap furniture that we don’t care if they shred.
Pam is a self-confessed cat lover and has experience of working with cats and owning cats for as long as she can remember. This website is where she gets to share her knowledge and interact with other cat lovers.