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Cat Not Using Scratching Post? Try 1 of These 7 Clever Fixes to Stop Them Ripping Your Furniture

Sometimes all it takes is the right-sized post and a new location

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You love your feline friend, but her constant clawing at your furniture drives you crazy! You made sure to have a scratching post handy for her, but she still seems to prefer your couch. Talk about frustrating! There are a number of reasons she may be favoring your household décor over the scratcher. Below you’ll find seven possible reasons your cat is not using her scratching post and what can help curb the behavior.

Cat not using scratching post? She doesn’t know how

Kittens, young cats or feline friends who aren’t used to living in a house may not understand exactly what a scratching post is for! What can help: Run your nails down the post several times yourself, encouraging her to imitate the action. Once Whiskers sees what the post is for, it may click for her.

If that doesn’t work, rub a recently worn T-shirt all over the post. This will embed the area with your scent, making her more likely to use the post as her scratching staple.

Cat not using scratching post? The post isn’t cat-friendly

A cat using a scratching post
Westend61/Getty

Many cats are drawn to using your sofa as their own personal scratcher, simply because it’s a better option than the post you do have. “The way you get your cat to stop scratching your couch is by offering something that’s just as stable,” shares TikTok user @tuftandpaw in the video below. “So you want it to have a wide base and be very solid.”

@tuftandpaw

Have you come across any of these issues with your cat scratching posts? It can be a huge pain when these 3 basic requirements aren’t met. Your cat might avoid the scratching post altogether, or you may need to replace it far more frequently than you’d like. Investing in a quality cat scratcher that covers all of these bases (or whipping together a DIY of your own!) will help to ensure that your cats’ needs are met. #catscratcher #catscratchers #catscratchingpost #catscratchpost #catscratchpad #catproducts #catfurniture #moderncatfurniture

♬ Clock It – Chris Alan Lee

Another possible reason Tiger is ignoring your post? It isn’t tall enough to allow him to fully stretch out his body. At least 31″ is ideal, so if your post comes up short, simply set it on a stack of books or a step stool.

Stabilize it with removable mounting putty attached to the four corners on the bottom of the scratching post base. Your pal will really be able to stretch as he scratches!

Related: 8 Cat Trees That’ll Make Your Lil’ Tiger Feel Like King of the Jungle

Cat not using scratching post? It’s in the wrong location

“Where they scratch is important,” shares cat behaviorist Jackson Galaxy in the video below. “And why cats scratch so much on the couch is because we sit there, because our scent is so strong on these couches and they are drawn to sort of co-mark an area.”

Related: How to Stop a Cat From Scratching — Cat Behaviorist Jackson Galaxy’s Best Advice

Placing your post near the couch can encourage her to use that instead. If Mittens doesn’t go into your living room often, place the post by the door of the room she spends the most time in. Your sweetie will scratch it as soon as she enters or leaves the room to mark her territory, creating a boundary with her scent to warn other animals not to cross into the area.

Cat not using scratching post? She doesn’t like to scratch vertically

A cat using a horizontal scratcher
Purple Collar Pet Photography/Getty

Your cat has a perfectly good scratching post, but she ignores it and tears up your living room rug instead. The possible reason: She may be a “horizontal scratcher,” preferring to drag her claws across a flat surface rather than up and down.

“Not all cats are going to want to scratch vertically,” says Galaxy in the above video. The fix: Try giving her an old, carpeted car mat to scratch. Sprinkle some catnip on the surface if needed. Car mats are super durable and have a tight pile that will satisfy her needs—without sacrificing your decor!

Cat not using scratching post? The post is intimidating

A cat playing with a toy on a cat tree
w-ings/Getty

You splurged on a new scratching post and placed it near furniture in the living room so your cat would stop clawing up the sofa. The only problem? She acts skittish around the post and avoids it.

Entice her to play with the post (and get more comfortable around it) by dangling a cat toy from the top. This will get your kitty’s interest, and once she starts swatting at it, her scent will end up on the post, which will enhance her comfort with it. Soon enough, she’ll find it more enticing than your couch! (Need DIY cat toy ideas? Check out these low-cost toys!)

Cat not using scratching post? It needs a welcoming scent

If your furry friend still doesn’t seem interested in her post and encouraging her to play near it doesn’t work, she might need an enticing scent to attract her to it. Try making your own affordable catnip spray!

Simply fill a tea infuser with catnip or put 1 Tbs. of catnip in a coffee filter, twist closed and tie it off with thread. Then place the infuser or filter in a coffee cup and fill with boiling water until covered. Steep for a minimum of 15 minutes — the longer it sits, the stronger it will get — then take the sachet out.

Let cool and pour into a spray bottle; spritz on the scratching post. Your cat will find it irresistible and will leave your sofa alone!

Cat not using scratching post? She needs the motivation to use it

A cat next to a scratching post
nomadnes/Getty

For cats that are very food motivated, a reward system may be able to keep him from clawing the furniture and turn to his post instead. All you need is a clickable ballpoint pen!

Place the post near the item of furniture your sweetie usually digs her claws into. When he shows interest in the scratching post, click the pen once and give him a treat. Repeat any time he scratches the post and he’ll soon figure out that the behavior leads to a reward.

Gradually, you can move the post elsewhere. He’ll continue to use it and keep his claws off your furniture.


For more helpful cat tips, keep reading!

Why Does My Cat Sleep on Me? Experts Debunk Common Cat Myths and Explain Their Co-Sleeping Preferences 

How to Give a Cat a Bath: Pro Tips Make It Less Stressful for You and Your Feline 

Do You Really Need to Use a Cat Toothbrush on Your Kitty? Here’s What a Vet Says

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