How to keep cats from scratching leather furniture?

If you have amazing leather furniture in your house and a pet cat too, then the thought occupying your head most of the time must be ‘how to keep cats from scratching leather furniture’. Scratching is a part of the instinctual behavior of cats that can’t be removed completely and it is here that you need to have some good tips handy for dealing with scratched leather surfaces and prevent future damage. Continue to read as we are going to help you with all of that.


Reasons behind cat scratching furniture

how to keep cats from scratching leather furniture

If you wonder that do cats scratch leather, we would answer that by telling you that cats can scratch any object unless it doesn’t irritate their claws and paws. However, it becomes important for you to know why they do so in the first place, and here are the major reasons:

  • Exercising needs- Scratching is a good exercise for the cats that provides a good stretch to their tendons and muscles all along the body from toes to the shoulders and neck.
  • Maintaining claw health- Cats scratch to shed the outer portion of their nail husk as per the periodic grooming that is required for keeping their claws healthy. In a way, scratching is a part of the self-grooming routine of the cats focused on keeping claws in good shape.
  • Marking possession- Cats do scent marking and that’s their way of possessing and identifying stuff as their own to themselves and other pets. They deposit the scent of their claws on the scratched surface to deter other pets from touching it and also to remember that it’s their own.
  • Stress release- Scratching helps the cat a lot in stress management as it makes them feel good. Once they release their stress through scratching, they usually don’t do any other unwanted thing.

Tips on keeping cats from scratching leather furniture

As it has been established, cats scratch upon things not to cause any intentional harm but only out of their instinctual behavior. Thus, the most important thing to understand before going ahead with the prevention measures is that we don’t need to punish the cats for this behavior as it’s purely our choice to not want them to damage our stuff and at the same time, they are not intending any harm. So what all we need to focus on is that the instincts that make them scratch get fulfilled in an alternative way which serves the purposes of both the cats and us.

With that thought on, let us start with giving you some tips for saving your leather furniture from the cat claws:

Proper nail trimming and care

The first answer to how to stop cats from scratching leather furniture is to keep their nails trimmed properly. This is also like a damage saving tip because even if the cat ends up scratching the leather, the cuts won’t be that serious because of the blunt nails.

Make a regular trimming schedule for the nails of your cat. Use good quality nail trimmers for the cat if you are going to do it yourself or you can also take the help of professional pet groomers. Start very gently by taking hold of the paws so that the cat settles in comfortably and then cut the nails with soft strokes.

Nail caps are also a great option to try where you will have to apply them regularly and will save you from the task of trimming cat claws which can be hectic.

Keep alternative scratch-proof things ready

Since the cat instincts get them to dig their claws into the leather or other stuff, the logical solution would be to give an alluring alternative for their scratching needs. We mean that you can provide things like scratching posts that are usually made of scratch-proof material like cardboard, etc. to the cats that you can install at strategic places where your cat spends most of their time. To make these alternatives more luring, smudge some catnip on them and your cat will go bonkers.

Scratching posts like cat trees, scratch-proof rugs, etc. can be installed for the cats as they will not only help them get relieved of their scratching urge but also have fun stimulation by climbing and playing along. Install more of them if you have more cats in the house or simply to let your cat reach out to them conveniently.

Train and discipline the cats

Although the nature of cats is a bit stubborn and a lot more mischievous, it’s not difficult at all to train them into behaving properly and learning manners. The primary thing to remember is that you have to be gentle throughout the process and be consistent and firm secondarily. Anything that you try to teach them with force will not be processed by them at all and may rather invite harsh counteraction towards you which is the last thing that you would want to happen.

Verbal cues can be a great help if you wonder how to keep cats from scratching leather furniture. You can call out a gentle NO or any other word to the cat when they start scratching and maintain the same tone and frequency till the cat starts understanding it. If they stop, then you can reward them with treats for obedience only sometimes.

You can also train them to understand where all they are allowed to scratch and where not. Safely pick them from the wrong spot and take them to the object which they can scratch. Do this consistently with rewards and your cat will start understanding that sometimes.

 Provide more stimulation to the cats

Cats can catch boredom easily as these creatures need constant stimulation when they are in their active mode. If their fun needs aren’t met, they can resort to scratching stuff which can go to the extent of becoming highly destructive if the cat gets stressed a lot. To avoid that, make sure that the cats have a lot of interactive toys to play with and the company to enjoy too since they enjoy petting and grooming too.

Check the health status of cats

If you observe unusual aggression in the way cats scratch your leather or other furniture, then a possible reason for that might be underlying health or mental issue. It would be better for you to take your cat to a vet or pet behaviorist in that case since a professional help would be able to resolve the matter.

Attend to the furniture

If you are unable to break the relation between cats and leather furniture, then you can make your leather furniture safe from the obsession of your cat by getting along some protective covers for them. These covers are resistant against the scratches made by pets and also keep the furniture sage against different things like liquid spills and accidental tearing, etc.

Another great option would be to move on from leather, even though it looks pretty cool, and invest in some low-cost microfiber and faux leather furniture. While the former is quite scratch-proof, the latter won’t pain much when scratched due to its low price.

Also, you can clean your leather furniture with citrus-based cleaners regularly if you’ve wanted to know how to keep cats off leather furniture. They hate the citric smell and will not go near the furniture let alone scratch it. Cleaning the furniture properly will also remove cat scent and they won’t be able to identify it as their possession to which they can always return for scratching.

No to declawing as a preventive measure

You don’t have to opt for declawing your cat in any case since it’s a very inhumane practice involving the amputation of cat claws till the first joint and causes unspeakable pain to the cat. It is also not free of complications and may cause further greater damage to the cat’s body as they become unable to walk on their own. We would suggest you try everything that we discussed above to minimize their scratching behavior but you don’t need to come down to declawing the cat as it will be the harshest punishment you will give to them when they don’t intend to harm you in the first place.

If you need to opt for it in the worst case, consult a good vet first and understand all the complications that would happen before taking the decision.

Bonus tip: Taking care of damaged leather

how to keep cats from scratching leather furniture

If your leather has gotten damaged already, you can fix it with the help of leather conditioners that can be rubbed vigorously onto the scratched spot with any clean cloth. After some time, the mark would vanish. Deeper scratches will fade away with some re-applications and the color will get darker with every application.


This was all about how to keep cats from scratching leather furniture and we hope that the tips would help you to keep the cat fulfilled as well as your favorite leather furniture safe. Tell us your experience with these tips and also share any remedy if you have to keep cats off the furniture.

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Luna Tran

My name is Luna and I am a great cat lover and a cat owner of three lovely cats. I have owned many cats till now and have dedicated many years to nurturing and caring cats. Through this blog, I am here to share my knowledge and experience about cats.