Tea is already an adult cat but never had a proper scratcher so all the furniture of the house is full of scratches.

We know that is purely our fault (an unfortunate mixture of lazyness and ignorance), but is it possible for Tea to take the habit now to use a proper scratcher?

Personally, I'm afraid that simply dropping it into the house will not encourage her to stop scratching on chairs and sofa, so are there any tips to make an adult cat change a habit?


First, recognize that cats have different scratching preferences. They can prefer particular materials, orientations, and locations. If you get a few scratchers and she doesn't use them, don't give up! Look for scratchers with different characteristics and give those a try.

You'll probably have the best success if you start with scratchers similar to what she's already scratching. If she's scratching the side of a couch, look for a vertical scratcher. If she's scratching the floor, look for a horizontal scratcher.

Place the scratcher near whatever else she has been scratching. You want to make it easy to transition to the scratcher, but she already has a habit of going to that location to scratch. If she still prefers the old spot (possible, since it has her scent!) you can cover it with sticky tape or plastic wrap.

Then, lightly dust the scratcher with catnip. Sometimes I'll also scratch my fingernails on it while the cat is nearby/watching. That makes a sound that will usually trigger them to come investigate what I'm doing.

Finally, do not ever yell at your cat for not using the scratcher. Some times people will physically move a cat to the 'correct' location, but I prefer not to do that (I'd get pretty annoyed if someone interrupted my stretch!). If your cat is not yet using the scratcher, take it as a challenge. Something is not yet right and I need a different scratcher to appeal to my cat!

Sometimes it can take awhile to figure out a cat's preferences. I had a cat who stubbornly scratched on an ottoman for months until we figured out that the posts we provided were not QUITE tall enough. Once we bought the tallest post we could find (which was taller than the ottoman), he switched to 90% scratching the post.

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    putting the scratching post close to where your cat takes his/her nap is best,when the cat wakes up it stretch and scratches imidiatly. – trond hansen Jul 25 '17 at 17:27

I've had good luck with putting cardboard scratchers right next to the furniture they are scratching and rubbing some catnip into the pores of the cardboard. This makes it appealing from a smell perspective, and entices the cat to scratch there rather than your furniture. Some furniture is unfortunately too enticing; I've had to replace some furniture with leather for exactly this reason. Obviously option 1 is the cheaper solution. Another possible option is deterrent scents (these can be ordered online) but I can't say I have experience with these, and to be honest I'm dubious about their efficacy.

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