How to Keep Cats Off Furniture

Lorna Hordos

Your cat's soft fur looks better on it than the seat of your pants or your dinner plate. Its shed fur, however, is a minor problem compared to a cat's natural desire to scratch furniture or leave urine marks where you place your head for an afternoon nap or serve your family and guests meals.

Find humane, no-pain ways to keep Kitty off your new or longtime-loved sofa, leather furniture, tables and counters with training products such as repellents, or with covers or coercion.

Resigned to Repellent

Cat repellent or deterrent spray may keep your kitty off furniture, but some sprays can damage or stain certain fabrics such as leather. Refer to the label for warnings and instructions, such as how much spray to use -- using too much may cause stains -- and how often to use it. Choose a spray that's designed for the particular issue, whether it's an anti-marking product or something to deter scratching.

Turnoff Textures

Cats that like to snuggle into, scratch apart or leave offensive odor on certain furniture often do so because they like the material's nubby feel, as with wool or tweed, or course texture such as wood or wicker frames. Trick kitty into avoiding certain furniture by making the feel less inviting; temporarily cover problem areas with no-residue double-sided tape, sheet plastic, tin foil or sandpaper, suggests the Humane Society of the United States.

Sneaky Scents

Another way to make furniture less alluring to pets is with scents they don't like. Cats dislike citrus scents, so use orange- or lemon-scented linen spray on their favorite chair or sofa. Linen spray is safe for bedding fabrics but refer to the label for specific recommendations, instructions and warnings. Some sprays are motion activated and designed to emit a hissing sound rather than a pheromone mist; the sound startles the cat, training it to avoid the area.

Giving in Without Giving Up

If all your efforts fail, and Fluffy continues to claim your furniture as a bed, cover the bed with a blanket, sheet or fitted slipcover. If your cat continues to scratch the furniture, supply a catnip-sprinkled or -spritzed scratching post or carpeted board nearby to redirect its attention -- and trim its claws as needed. For the cat that jumps up on the table or counter, make sure your pet always has food and water, and put away human edibles and clean dirty dishes as soon as possible rather than leaving them out where tantalizing scents act as a lure.

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