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Cats scratch—but that doesn’t mean you have to live in a house with frayed carpets, couches, and drapes. Once you’ve given your kitty a good scratching surface to claim as their own, it’s time to mark your valuables as “off-limits” using an anti-scratch spray for cats.
Why Cats Scratch
According to this PetMD article on cat scratching behavior, there are many reasons why cats love to scratch. First of all, it’s a soothing activity for cats—like doodling or whistling or finger-drumming for humans. In the wild, scratching keeps a cat’s paws and nails healthy, plus it deposits their scent. When they scratch a tree—or your sofa—they’re claiming it as their own. Scratching also provides necessary exercise for your cat.
Start With a Good Scratcher
Before you set out to discourage your cat from scratching the furniture, make sure they have an approved place to meet their scratching needs. There are some great scratching posts and scratchers out there. If your cat isn’t using the one you bought them, it might not be the right size or shape. Take a look at areas in the house where your cat enjoys scratching and see if you can find a scratcher that mimics their favorite hangout. Some cats like very tall posts where they can really stretch out, but others prefer a flat or slightly inclined, scratching surface they can stand on while they sharpen their claws.
You can also discourage scratching by giving your cat plenty of exercise and opportunities to play. Yes, get out that wand and that laser-pointer toy! Our article on solutions to destructive scratching has more tips.
Anti-Scratch Spray for Cats
Once you’ve provided your cat with a good scratching post or surface, you can try to find the right spray to discourage them from sharpening their claws in the wrong places. Read online reviews. Different sprays seem to work for different cats, so you might need to experiment with a few. Don’t get discouraged if the first one you try has no effect.
Anti-scratch cat sprays fall into two categories:
- Calming sprays. These use synthetic feline pheromones to reduce the cat’s urge to spray, scratch or otherwise mark a piece of furniture. (These sprays often come in plug-in diffuser forms as well.)
- Deterrents and repellents. These use scents (such as citrus oils) that repel cats, keeping them away from your furniture while you train them to scratch an acceptable target (such as a scratching post).
We’ve listed a few of each to help you find the anti-scratch solution that works for your cat and your household.
Comfort Zone uses synthetic pheromones to calm cats and reduce behaviors such as urine marking and destructive scratching. The spray is odorless to humans, but cats will recognize a smell much like the natural pheromones cats use to mark an area as safe. If your cat is scratching because of anxiety or the desire to be dominant with other pets, Comfort Zone can help calm the cat and reduce the behavior. The spray won’t harm fabrics or furniture. However, you will need to reapply it daily for it to be effective.Shop on Amazon
This anti-scratch spray for cats is designed to be sprayed in the direction of the misbehaving cat and combines a calming pheromone spray mist with a hissing sound that cats dislike. It’s ideal if your cat is engaging in unwanted scratching behavior that you can observe and react to. (Never spray in the cat’s face.)Shop on Amazon
Feliway can be used at home or on the road to prevent urine marking and scratching with a combination of synthetic pheromones and ethanol. Spray Feliway on furniture or other areas where the cat is scratching. (One online reviewer reported that she sprayed her legs and desk chair to prevent her bored cat from scratching her while she was on Zoom calls).Shop on Chewy
This easy-to-apply anti-scratch spray has a scent that’s pleasing to humans but acts as a repellent for cats. It’s made with all-natural ingredients like lemon and eucalyptus oils. The manufacturer recommends that, in addition to using the spray to discourage inappropriate scratching, you introduce the cat to an approved scratching post or other scratchers.Shop on Chewy
The pleasing (to humans) scent of this anti-scratch spray is actually a repellent for cats! It contains pure, deionized water and a blend of astragalus and rosemary. The manufacturer promises the all-natural formula won’t stain fabrics, so spray away! The directions suggest using it three times a day for the first week until your cat transfers its scratching to a cat tree or scratching post.Shop on Chewy
This anti-scratch spray strikes us as pretty much a last resort for deterring your cat from scratching furniture. The manufacturer warns that it is harmful if absorbed through the skin and can be a hazard to humans and domestic animals. Its active ingredient, methyl nonyl ketone, leaves a scent that repels cats. It’s recommended to spray daily; some purchasers recommend spraying it twice a day. It can stain fabrics, so be sure to test it in an inconspicuous area before spraying it on any furnishings.Shop on Chewy