How To Keep Cats Off Furniture

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How do you keep cats off furniture?

Cats are loveable. However, they can wreak havoc on the surface of your furniture, kitchen, and countertops.

As a cat parent of two kitties for the past 10 years, I’ve dealt with feline destruction of furniture several times. One of my cats would claw my new couch, and I wasn’t sure of the best way to stop it. 

I’ve also seen many first-time cat parents wondering how to keep cats off the furniture.

But the good news is: 

I managed to keep my cats off the furniture. While it wasn’t instant, I trained my kitties and redirected the behavior to the right course.

Keeping reading to learn:

Why Do Cats Scratch Furniture?

Your first step to getting your cat off your furniture is understanding why your cat is destroying the furniture. Cats scratch furniture and other objects for several reasons:

  • Territorial marking: Cats have a scent gland in their paws, and when they scratch, they leave both a visual and a scent mark that helps establish territory and communicate with other cats.
  • Nail maintenance: Scratching keeps your cat’s claws healthy. The act removes the outer sheath of the nail, exposing the sharp, new claw underneath.
  • Stretching exercise: Kitties can scratch to stretch their muscles and exercise their bodies. It is a natural behavior that helps your cat stay physically fit.
  • Stress and anxiety management: Other times, your cat can scratch furniture surfaces because of stress and anxiety. The behavior can be a way for your feline to relieve tension and feel more secure.
  • Boredom: If your feline friend is bored, it may scratch surfaces to alleviate boredom. You can provide mental and physical stimulation through toys and playtime to reduce unwanted scratching.

With an understanding of why your kitty scratches furniture, you can now adopt suitable measures to keep them off.

Items You Might Need To Keep Your Cat Off Furniture

  • Aluminum foil
  • Double-sided tape
  • White vinegar
  • Plastic tarp or covering
  • Scratching post
  • Pet repellent spray

You can try several tips to keep your kitty off your furniture with these items.

How to Keep Cats Off Furniture (DIY Tips)

Depending on the underlying reason your cat is scratching your furniture, apply one or several of the following practices to eliminate the problem.

1. Make Your Furniture Less Appealing to Cats

The most effective way to keep your cat off furniture is to make it more unattractive.

Making your furniture less appealing to your cat might require a combination of strategies. While you take several approaches, here are the simplest ones you can try now.

  • Apply Scent Deterrents. Cats have sensitive noses, and certain scents repel them. You can use citrus or pepper scents to deter your cat from jumping or scratching your furniture.
  • Add physical barriers. Cover your furniture with washable slipcovers or protectors to create a physical barrier.

2. Line Your Furniture With Aluminum Foil

Lining your furniture with aluminum foil is one of the simplest and low-cost methods to deter your cat from scratching and sitting on furniture. Cats dislike the feel and sound of aluminum foil under their paws, making it an excellent deterrent.

To use aluminum foil to discourage your cat from scratching furniture, proceed as follows:

  1. Lay sheets of aluminum foil on the furniture surface you want to protect. 
  2. Ensure it covers the entire area where your kitty will likely scratch or sit.
  3. The crinkly sound of aluminum foil will deter and even scare away most cats.

Unlike the soft, cozy material cats like, the aluminum texture irritates your cat’s paws.

3. Utilize Double-Sided Tape

A double-sided tape provides a sticky surface that can discourage your cat from climbing on your couch. And like the aluminum foil, it makes a startling sound when peeling off. 

To use a double-sided tape to keep your cat off your furniture, proceed as follows:

  1. Apply the double-sided tape to the furniture in areas where your cat tends to scratch or sit.
  2. Your cat will usually avoid these areas to avoid getting adhesive on their fur.

Besides furniture, you can use double-sided tape on other surfaces, such as kitchen tops, walls, tables, and non-fabric surfaces.

4. Spray White Vinegar

White vinegar has a strong odor that many cats find unpleasant. Creating a solution of vinegar and water and then spraying it on the furniture can deter your cat from approaching and scratching it.

Here’s a step-by-step guide: 

  1. Mix water and white vinegar in a 50/50 proportion.
  2. Put the mixture in a spray bottle.
  3. Test a small, inconspicuous furniture area first to ensure the solution doesn’t damage fabrics or finish.
  4. Spritz the area you want your cat to avoid.
  5. Reapply the solution regularly, as the scent will fade with time.

The added advantage of using white vinegar and water solution is that it can act as a deodorizer to combat pet odors on furniture.

5. Place Plastic Tarps or Covering on Furniture

Another alternative is to cover furniture with a plastic tarp or cover to block physical access to the furniture surface. Plastic surfaces irritate cats’ paws and discourage them from scratching.

If your cat scratches the plastic, the rustling noise may put it off or frighten it. Your cat’s next option will be to avoid climbing the furniture surface.

However, ensure you place the plastic tarp covering securely so your cat cannot easily remove or get underneath it.

6. Get Your Cat a Scratching post

Cat scratching surfaces is a natural behavior. Instead of discouraging the behavior, you can provide the right scratching surface.

Providing your cat with a designated scratching post made from appealing material like sisal ropes or cardboard can redirect their scratching behavior away from your furniture.

Get a scratching post and place it near the furniture your cat usually targets. Encourage your cat to scratch the post by applying catnip or playing near the post.

Alternatively, you can place the post near the window to give your cat an elevated vantage point to keep it occupied throughout the day.

7. Use Commercial Pet Repellent Spray

Commercial pet repellent spray can also be a great option to discourage cats from specific areas in your home. Most sprays usually contain natural ingredients with scents that cats find unpleasant.

Get the best spray, and proceed as follows:

  1. Spray the repellent on the furniture you want to protect.
  2. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for safe and effective use.
  3. Reapply the spray as necessary, especially after cleaning or when the scent diminishes.

8. Utilize a Motion-Activated Noisemaker

Motion-activated noisemakers emit loud noises or sounds when they detect motion in a specific area. You can use it to train your cat to avoid furniture. Here are step-by-step procedures on how to use it.

  1. Get the best motion-activated noisemaker designed to deter cats.
  2. Read the manufacturer’s instructions to familiarize yourself with the device.
  3. Place the device near the furniture you want to protect.
  4. Adjust the sensitivity to ensure it covers the area your cat jumps and scratches.

When your cat triggers the motion sensor, the noisemaker activates. The sudden noise can startle your kitty, making them associate your furniture with an unpleasant experience.

9. Use Catnip On Surfaces Where You Want Your Cat To Go

Catnip is a natural herb that many cats are attracted to. You can use it as a positive reinforcement tool to encourage your cat to use a designated area, such as a scratching post or a cat bed.

Just sprinkle a small amount of catnip on the desired surface or near the area you want your cat to use. Your cat’s attraction to the catnip scent may motivate it to explore and engage with the designated spot.

However, not all cats react to catnip, so observe your cat’s response. Some cats may become more playful and interested, while others may be indifferent to catnip.

10. Play With Your Cat

Sometimes, your cat scratches furniture because of boredom. Some playtime can engage your kitty mentally and physically. 

Interactive play helps reduce boredom and prevent destructive behaviors like scratching your furniture.

You can use interactive toys like:

  • Feather wands
  • Laser pointer
  • Toys that mimic prey animals 

Alternatively, you can engage your kitty in play sessions that mimic hunting, stalking, and pouncing to fulfill your cat’s instinct.

Playtime will redirect your cat’s energy and strengthen the bond between you and your feline companion. Aim for at least 15-20 minutes of playtime daily to keep your cat entertained and less likely to engage in unwanted behavior.

Inhumane Measures to Avoid 

No question, your kitty can be destructive by scratching your furniture. And the behavior can be frustrating. 

However, avoid taking extreme measures that can be inhumane. Some of such methods include:

1. Cat Declawing

Cat declawing involves the amputation of a cat’s claws, often including the last bone of each toe. Declawing is extremely invasive and painful and can have severe physical and psychological consequences for your cat, such as:

  • Pain and Suffering: Declawing causes acute pain during the procedure and can lead to chronic pain afterward. Cats may experience lameness, behavioral changes, and long-term physical issues.
  • Loss of Defense: Cats rely on their claws for defense, balance, and climbing. Removing them can leave a cat defenseless and less able to engage in natural behaviors.
  • Behavioral Issues: Cats may develop behavioral problems such as aggression, biting, and litter box avoidance due to declawing.

Declawing is an unnecessary surgery that provides no medical benefit to your cat. Instead of declawing your cat, you can train it to use its claws properly.

2. Hitting Your Cat To Get Off The Furniture

Physical punishment is inhumane, ineffective, and counterproductive. Hitting your cat can cause:

  • Physical Harm: Hitting can induce physical harm, pain, and injury to the cat, leading to fear and mistrust.
  • Fear and Aggression: Physical punishment can cause cats to become fearful, aggressive, or defensive and can worsen behavior problems.
  • No Educational Value: Cats don’t understand punishment like humans. Hitting your cat won’t effectively teach them what they should or should not do.
  • Damage to the Human-Animal Bond: You can damage the bond between you and your cat when you hit it, making it harder to build trust and cooperation.

3. Spraying your cat with water 

Spraying a cat with water is inhumane and can have negative consequences. The method can induce:

  • Stress and Fear: Spraying a cat with water can create fear and stress, leading to anxiety and a hostile environment.
  • Lack of Understanding: Cats may not associate the water spray with their behavior, making it an ineffective training method.
  • Trust Issues: Consistently using punishment can erode the trust your cat has in you, making it harder to address behavior problems through positive reinforcement.
  • Risk of Health Issues: Spraying water can enter a cat’s ears or eyes, potentially leading to health problems.

Instead of resorting to inhumane measures to keep your cat off furniture, you can focus on the positive methods of managing cat behavior.

How To Keep Cats Off Furniture: In Conclusion

Regardless of the measures you take to keep your cat off furniture, you’ll need patience. Training your kitty may take some time. But eventually, you’ll both be better for it, especially if you use positive reinforcement.


What smell will keep cats off furniture?

There are some smells that cats downright hate and might back away, squit, or just leave the furniture. Some unpleasant smells to cats include citrus, vinegar, pine, peppermint, onion, Rosemary, and commercial cat repellents.
You can use these smells to prevent your cat from scratching your furniture.

What is the best thing to keep cats off of furniture?

The best approach to keep cats off furniture is to provide a combination of alternatives and deterrents that are humane and effective. You can provide scratching posts to satisfy your cat’s need to scratch and use deterrents to get it off furniture.
Other effective methods include getting a motion-activated device, engaging your cat in play, using protective barriers, and behavioral training.

How do I stop my cat from jumping on furniture?

To stop your cat from jumping on furniture, you can employ training techniques, deterrents, and alternative options to make your furniture less appealing. 
For instance, you can set up a cat-friendly area with comfortable bedding and cozy spots where your cat can relax. You can also place a scratching post or pad neat the furniture your cat loves to jump on.

About Laura Martin

I'm Laura Martin. I get excited about all things cat related. I love my two cats - Dom and Kitty. When I'm not playing with my two feline friends, you can probably find me hiking. And yes, I have a 9 to 5 job. Although if you asked me I'd rather spend my time blogging and educating other cat moms and dads about what it takes to raise a healthy cat.

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