Cats and toddlers share something in common (actually several things, but for the purposes of this piece…): you probably shouldn’t have nice furniture around them.
Or at least, it takes some more effort to have nice furniture around them. Frankly, it’s worse with toddlers.
One of the things that put off potential cat owners is the horror stories they hear about cats destroying furniture by scratching it.
And, this can be true: if a cat has nothing to scratch on, they will cheerfully (sometimes maliciously it seems) go after your couch, chairs, bed, and any other furniture that lets them relieve the need to scratch.
Some cats are worse about it than others, but it’s a common enough behavior. Is it also a breed-specific behavior? Some cats are considered better family cats than others (Maine Coons, Russian Blue cats, to name a few), but are they also furniture friendly?
If you’re thinking about trying to track down a cat that will not destroy your couch, and you ended up here because Russian Blue cats are amazing, you may be wondering now: Do Russian Blue cats scratch furniture?
Short answer: Well, yeah, they will if they have no outlet. I’ve never met a cat who didn’t go after furniture if they have no other alternative. Cats scratch.
The best ways to prevent this behavior are to make sure your cat has scratching posts of their own and train them to stay away from your furniture. But yes, if Russian Blue cats are allowed, they’ll scratch furniture.
Training a Russian Blue Cat Out of Scratching Furniture
Fortunately, Russian Blue cats are lower on the Destroy All Furniture spectrum than say Bengal cats (Who seem to delight in it at times).
The reason? Russian Blue cats are both smart enough to train and relaxed enough to not really care about destroying your things, even if they are annoyed at you for not falling for their ‘starving to death’ routine after breakfast.
Russian Blue cats also bond quite firmly to at least one person in the house and take it more personally when that person disciplines them for being rotten.
This combination of laid-back and smart means that they can be trained out of scratching your furniture, so long as alternatives are provided.
The best way to train any cat out of anything (or into anything) is clicker training along with treats.
Russian Blues are very food motivated, so rewarding them with a small, healthy treat for good behavior will go a long way.
Clicker training trains cats to associate a behavior with noise (and a treat), so you can ‘click’ them away from going for your furniture or ‘click’ them towards using what you want them to use instead.
You can also do things like use lemon-scented cleaner on your furniture (cats hate citrus) as a deterrent or simply shoo them away from it until they get bored of the whole thing.
That last one is more hit and miss though – my tuxedo cat, for example, turns it into a game while my old cat would just wait until you were gone and do it anyway.
Training alone isn’t going to convince a Russian Blue cat to stay away from your furniture. You have to provide things that they are allowed to scratch.
Scratching is hardwired behavior in a cat. They use it to self-soothe, play, and sharpen their claws so that they are ready to defend themselves if needed.
Many cats also like to climb up things to gain higher elevation and sharpen their claws at the same time. You can’t train them out of scratching altogether, but you can redirect them towards alternate scratching posts.
For Russian Blue cats, the best scratching posts are ones that are high, so they have somewhere to perch, and are sturdy.
These are surprisingly muscular cats, so make sure you get a scratching post that can stand up to them.
You should have at least one scratching post per cat in your home, or even one per floor in your home so that your cat always has somewhere to scratch.
Some cats don’t like scratching posts though – my friend’s ex-boyfriend had a cat who loathed them. For these pets, try using horizontal cardboard scratchers.
They are made with corrugated cardboard, so they relieve the need to itch, though you will have to do regular vacuuming or sweeping to pick up the bits of cardboard.
You could also try a piece of carpeting glued to stapled down to a piece of scrap wood to give your cat something rough to scratch on.
Going for scraps makes this a cheap alternative to fancy scratching posts and something that many cats will quite enjoy.
And if your cat is really stubborn about it, at least see if you can redirect them to a piece of furniture you don’t care about.
We had an old, busted computer chair and the cats would savage it to their heart’s content.
Protecting Your Furniture
There are a few things you can do to vaguely protect your furniture, though these things are far from foolproof. These include:
- Using citrus-scented cleaner. Cats hate citrus. Or use apple cider vinegar. They don’t like that either.
- Putting plastic corner guards on furniture. Smooth plastic will be harder for your cats to dig into. Alternatively, use aluminum foil
- Plastic mats on furniture. Cats don’t always like the feel of the knobs on their paws
These are some ways you can deter your cat from going after your furniture, but they may find workarounds.
Russian Blue cats, like any other cat, will certainly scratch furniture. Scratching and sharpening their claws is normal cat behavior, and short of declawing them (Which we are absolutely against), there’s nothing you can do to stop it.
But Russian Blue cats are smart enough and food motivated enough to be trained into scratching things that are acceptable such as scratching posts, old furniture you don’t care about, or horizontal scratching surfaces, so long as these things are provided.
Some cats will even go for these things over the furniture, making them easy to train!
It’s important to provide your cat with scratching surfaces for their mental and physical wellbeing, so make sure to do it, or let go of the notion of perfect furniture.
Does your cat go after your furniture? What do you do about it? We have given up – we just buy sturdy furniture that can stand up to their assault for a while.
Fortunately, our current two cats don’t seem to go after furniture much, other than old rolling chairs.
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.