How to Keep Cats Off of Furniture

by pat | Last Updated: May 7, 2020

Cat people really love their cats and would do almost anything for them.  We understand the, sometimes, aloof personalities and the personal disdain they have for new people or pets in their territory.  We even happily clean litter boxes and tolerate hairballs, but what about when they shed all over our chair or destroy our sofa?

This leads us to the age-old question of how to keep cats off of furniture. There are some methods that we will get to explore in this post that will work for some cats.  Depending on the feline’s personality, they may not care what you do and just continue lounging on the sofa and using the legs as a scratching post.

However, we aren’t just going to talk about how to stop these things, we are going to also talk about why they happen. Many times there are reasons for the behavior of our cats and knowing them will help us come up with a plan to combat what we deem undesirable.  

Is Cat Fur Unhealthy for People?

Some of us don’t mind the cat sleeping lazily on the furniture but we do mind the hair and dander they leave behind. This can be inconvenient and require us to vacuum the surface more than we would like.  But there could be a problem with hair and dander on furniture that goes beyond inconvenience. 

Some people do have sensitivities to cat dander, fur, or saliva and will have minor to severe allergic reactions. Even if you are not sensitive, if you have guests over frequently you never know who might have a health issue that would be exacerbated by cat hair. 

If your cat carries fleas then that creates other issues with regard to hygiene and health. It is a personal choice if you let your cat on the furniture, but these are things to keep in mind.

Why Is My Cat Destroying my Furniture?

There are three reasons we are going to talk about that could be behind the destruction of your furniture.  While these are very common causes, keep in mind that every cat is different and sometimes they are indeed spiteful, so the cat might be mad at you. 

Marking Territory

When a cat scratches or rubs on a surface, they leave a scent behind to mark the territory as theirs.  This is not uncommon for different types of animals.  While some pets would be destructive, they will probably all try to make sure other animals know that the sofa belongs to them. 

A way to tell if this is what is happening is if your cat have never destroyed furniture before but you got a new couch and all of a sudden they are shredding it.   Or if you suddenly brought a new pet home and the cat exhibits destructive behaviors. 

Sharpening Claws/Removing Outer Sheath

Cats naturally want to sharpen their claws and will use a surface that offers resistance.  Another thing they are doing when they scratch is removing the dead outer sheath of the nail.  This is a natural and normal behavior that can be redirected if they are destroying furniture. 

No Scratching Posts

Since we know from the previous section that cats naturally want to scratch to sharpen their claws, it is important to have a scratchable surface available to them.  If you don’t provide them with a designated scratching post then they will use whatever they can find that is suitable to their needs. 

Best Ways to Keep Cats Off Furniture

Now on to the best part of this post, how to keep the cats off of your furniture and prevent the destruction of your favorite sofa.  There are five things we want to draw your attention to that have had great success among cat owners.

There is really no best what, just try these suggestions one by one until you find out what works for your particular cat. You may have that one cat that thinks citrus smalls are amazing or a cat that doesn’t like catnip, you never know so just keep trying until something finally works. 

Apple Cider Vinegar Spray

Cats don’t usually like the smell of apple cider vinegar and tend to stay away from it.  This is great news for the cat owner desperate to keep their cat off of the furniture.  Just add a little bit of apply cider vinegar to a spray bottle of water and spritz the areas with the solution.

You may have to do this a few times a day to keep the scent around.  The best thing about this solution is that it is also a deodorizer that will help your furniture smell fresh and clean. 

Aluminum Foil

We know this may sound weird, but stay with us and we promise you will not be disappointed. Cats hate smooth surfaces, and they don’t like shrill sounds.  Aluminum foil covers both of those areas.

Laying sheets of aluminum foil on the furniture when it is not in use and wrapping the legs in the foil will help discourage the cat from lounging and scratching.  The smoothness will not interest them and the crunching sound will startle them enough to keep them off your beloved sofa. 

Citrus Spray

Cats do not like the smell of citrus fruits.  You can make a spray with citrus essential oils such as orange, lemon, or grapefruit to spray on the furniture you want them to stay off of.  If you have a table that your cat won’t stop laying on, you can you the lemon pledge wood cleaner to help keep them away. 

Provide Toys/Scratching Surfaces

Making sure your cat is engaged and not becoming bored is one of the best ways to not only stop destructive behavior from happening but also preventing the behavior from stopping. 

Have a good selection of toys available as well as adequate scratching surfaces for the cat to use. This will entertain them so they will ignore your furniture. 

Use Catnip

The best way to encourage your cat to actually play with the toys provided and get them to use the scratching surfaces is to keep catnip where you want the cat to be.  If you have provided a scratching area then rub it down with catnip or keep a catnip toy hanging on the post.