How Do You Stop a Cat From Scratching Walls? (+Pics)
If you are sick of your cat scratching your walls, then you need to look at solutions such as scratch posts (Click here to see my best 3 Bewishome cat trees that have built-in cat posts) Let me give you many more solutions…
How do you stop a cat from scratching walls? The best method is prevention because scratching is normal behaviour. You can provide alternative surfaces for them to scratch, such as scratch posts or pads. As well as methods such as trimming their nails or covering their nails with cat claw covers (Click here to see their prices on Amazon).
Now that you know a few solutions let me explain why your cat is scratching your walls, what surfaces they are naturally attracted to and other methods to prevent them from doing this.
Why do cats scratch the walls?
In this section, I’m going to discuss why cats actually scratch their nails. There are a number of different reasons for this so to help you I’m going to summarise them now…
To sharpen and remove the surface from their nails
In an attempt to keep their nails maintained cats will scratch the surface layer of their nails off on surfaces, such as your walls or furniture. Unfortunately for you, your cat will see these items as their nail file.
In addition to removing the surface layer of their nails. You will also notice that cats have very sharp nails. This scratching against your wall is important, in their mind, because it helps their nails stay sharp. This keeps their nails from growing too long and uncontrollable.
If they neglect their nails they can grow back into their paws. This will obviously cause them pain and discomfort. So, this is a necessary exercise for them.
To pass on their scent
When cats scratch walls or furniture they leave a scent behind. This is because they have scent glands within their paws. When they scratch the walls, not only are they leaving a visual mark of their territory, they are also leaving their scent behind.
Stretching their body
They sometimes do this just to generally stretch their body. They use their claws the dig into the wall and create leverage so they can stretch their body properly.
In general, cats like to explore and the very curious creatures. They are very tactile in nature. For them, using their claws and scratching in this manner allows is a means of exploration.
Remember, this is normal behaviour
One thing to understand, scratching is normal. All cats will do it. It may be an inconvenience to you but it is not actually a behavioural problem.
The best way to deal with this issue is to not try and stop it. But, to try and redirect their attention to areas or surfaces that you are happy with them scratching. I’ll explain more about this further on in this article.
What types of surfaces are cats naturally attracted to?
They like surfaces which are typically a bit coarse or textured. Something that can create some resistance. Unfortunately for you, this includes your walls, door frames (Click here for the best cat door frame scratchers to protect it) and furniture. You may also witness them trying to dig up your carpet.
What can you do to prevent them from doing this?
In this section, I’m going to explain a number of different methods that you can consider using to help prevent your cat from destroying your walls or furniture…
Using citrus or menthol
In case you didn’t know this already cats do not like citrus or menthol. For this reason, you can use it to your advantage. Simply wipe it on surfaces that you do not want them to scratch.
If you are thinking to yourself “how is it possible to apply these liquids to surfaces that do not have fabric on them”? Don’t worry, there is a workaround for that as well.
On these surfaces, that are not fabric-based, you can simply douse some cotton wool (or something similar) in the menthol or citrus. Then attach it to the surface that you do not want them to use.
Using alternative objects
Another tactic that you can use is purposely supplying objects that you are happy for your cat to use. This is falling in line with my point earlier about focusing on redirecting them to other objects instead of trying to stop them (if you remember).
For example, you can consider using a cat tree, scratchpad or post.
The beauty with cat trees, specifically the Bewishome cat trees (Click here to see my best 3 Bewishome cat trees), is they typically come with scratch posts built-in. Meaning, you can effectively “kill two birds with one stone”.
There are a number of different materials available for cat trees and scratch posts. One particular material, that usually goes down well with most cats, is sisal rope. This is attached to the scratch posts on the Bewishome cat trees.
One of the tricks that you can use, to help your cat transition into using this, is to offer them positive reinforcement. Every time they use the cat scratching post or cat tree, give them some praise. It’s a very simple thing to do, doesn’t take much of your time and will be much appreciated by your cat.
As discussed in the previous section in this article, cats need to trim their nails (Do they love nail files? Click here) on a regular basis. Unfortunately for you, one of the reasons your walls are probably getting scratched is because they want to maintain their nails.
So, to prevent this, you can take a proactive measure and actually trim their nails (Click here for the best trimmers). This will keep them maintained ahead of time, in an attempt to stop your cat from using your wall, are you with me?
Use unwanted materials to deter them
This is another method that you can use to deter cats from scratching your walls, couches (Click here for the best cat scratcher protectors), or other furniture.
The idea is simple, purposely use materials that your cat will not like. I’m not talking about citrus or menthol here, we have covered that already, right?
I’m talking about materials such as sandpaper, aluminium foil or even double-sided sticky tape. Use these materials to cover items that you want to keep safe. This will avoid them damaging them.
Using cat claw covers
A number of cat owners have effectively used cat claw covers (Click here to see their prices on Amazon) as a method to stop them scratching their walls or other surfaces.
It’s a very simple and cheap product that allows you to physically cover your cat’s nails. This is a better solution declawing in my opinion (more on this later).
You simply stick these cat claws over her original claws. This prevents her from scratching your walls.
However, you need to understand that this is not a one-off task. You need to maintain it. Its the same concept as fake nails that millions of ladies (& men) use worldwide. Once the claws start to grow, you will need to reapply the cat claws to cover the regrowth.
Why is Cat Declawing Not The Answer?
Maybe some cat owners do not fully understand, but when you declaw a cat, its not just its claws you are removing. You are actually removing its knuckles as well. Let me explain…
When declawing surgery is done, they also remove the knuckle from each toe as well. This is obviously painful for cats and its not a good idea, in my opinion.
For these reasons, this is why some cat owners prefer using cat nail clippers or grinders (Click here to see why I feel these are best) to control their nail growth.
Other Things To Avoid
In this section, I am going to give you a couple of tips on what to avoid when trying to prevent your cat from scratching your walls:
Do not drag your cat to the scratch post
If you decide to use a cat scratching post (Click here to see why I rate this one best), or cat tree with a scratch post-built-in, you need to take your time transitioning them to using it. Do not get tempted to drag them to the post and force their paws onto the scratch post.
This will not entice or treat them to use it, in fact, it may to the opposite. They may get freaked out and start avoiding it completely.
Keep the old scratched up post!
Although the scratch post may seem scratched to shreds, do not get rid of it. It may be an eyesore to you. But, yo your cat it is ideal. Why? Because it now has their scent and they will feel comfortable with it.