How to stop cat scratching?

Why do cats scratch furniture (e.g. sofa, wall or doors)?  What is anxietyA physiological and behavioural response to the anticipation of danger, be that real or perceived. related scratching?  How to stop cats scratching in the home?

It is particularly annoying when your cat scratches new furniture like a new leather sofa or couch. Please see our section on What Causes Anxiety in Cats for further information.

See video advice on cat scratching and how to stop it from our veterinary advisor:


Cats will often scratch items to sharpen their claws. Scratching is also used as a marking behaviour, by depositing a scent from the pads area, which combined to the visual marks acts as a territorial message to other cats. This is a normal behaviour in cats but from time to time scratching can be a sign of their  anxiety or stress .

To ensure that your cat is feeling its best it’s good to know when this scratching might be a result of anxiety.

Scratching is likely anxietyA physiological and behavioural response to the anticipation of danger, be that real or perceived. or stress related if:

  • Scratching sites are widespread (on furniture, sofa, chair or chairs etc.)
  • Present in a multi-cat household.
  • Your home is in area with a dense cat population.
  • There have been changes in your home (like new furniture or moving furniture around).
  • Scratching is occurring near windows and doors.

Use this short survey to Assess your cat's well-being .

How to stop cats scratching?

  • Clean the scratched area (with surgical alcohol/water)
  • Once dry, Spray 6 doses of Feliway Spray to the scratched area daily (Never spray Feliway on the scratching post as it would prevent the cat using it).
  • Apply for at least a month.
  • Stop when the cat is seen to rub the site with his or her head.
  • For further support plug in a Feliway Diffuser , especially if there are many affected areas, to reinforce your cat's feeling of security especially if there are many affected areas.
  • Provide a scratching post (tall enough), near to where your cat sleeps, or near a window or a radiator if it includes a platform
  • Check our app to make your home cat friendly
  • To see how to provide essential resources to your cat(s), download our

For even more information on cats scratching go to ICC (International Cat Care) cats scratching furniture and carpets

Cat scratching in the home