Cats obviously have a compelling need to stretch and sharpen their claws. Cats scratch for multiple reasons, which include territorial marking, stretching tendons, expediting the shedding of their claws’ outer sheath and because it just feels sooo good. Unfortunately, sharp kitty claws do not upgrade your sofa or Persian rug, but rather quite the opposite.
Declawing kitty was once deemed a reasonable solution, but over time it has become clear that declawing is inhumane and can lead to a plethora of physical, social and emotional problems – and the last thing you need is a weekly bill from a cat psychiatrist! (For a great overview of all the reasons not to declaw kitty, visit Cats Scratching.)
So your kitty has a full rack of razor sharp claws and you have the frayed furniture to prove it. Now what? Think redirect. To redirect a cat’s naughty scratching patterns, I have found (or heard) that the following methods are useful:
1. Add tea tree oil or lemon essential oil to water in a spray bottle and heavily mist the furniture and/or rugs that you want kitty to ignore. You can also apply tea tree or lemon oil directly to darker areas of carpeting. Do a test spot to make sure your carpet will withstand the tea tree or lemon essential oil application. (FYI: Do not be turned-off by the term “oil.” Essential oils are actually not very oily at all. I have yet to have a problem with any of my wool rugs). The strong scent of lemon or tea tree is distasteful to cats, but it will diminish over time and you will need to reapply weekly or biweekly. My favorite essential oil company is DoTerra as the quality and staying power of their oils is far superior to anything else I have tried.