If you have a Bengal Cat, or any other kind of cat, you have probably caught them scratching somewhere they were not supposed to, from the drapes to the furniture. Some kitties even scratch at door frames. If your Bengal Cat is scratching up your furniture, it can seem like there is no easy solution, but there are a few things you can try, so don’t despair!
Why Your Bengal Cat Scratches
Before you get into stopping your Bengal Cat from scratching, it’s important to understand why cats scratch. There are several key reasons why you could cat your cat stretching and scratching, and these are all reasons that should not be punished. Instead, offer your cat viable alternatives to scratch on.
First of all, scratching is a way for cats to stretch out their bodies, particularly their upper bodies. They flex and extend their claws and paws, especially when they are getting up from a rest. Scratching is also an effective way to help keep your cat’s claws clean. It removes the outer layer or sheath of the nail that can build up and lead to infections around your Bengal Cat’s nail bed. Scratching keeps their nails sharp and ready to be used.
Another prime reason for cats to scratch is because they are marking their territory. In the wild, marking up areas such as trees lets other cats know that the area is taken. In multi-cat households, scratching allows your cats to visually mark their territory and helps establish rank and dominance.
Bengal Cats and other cats also have scent glands between their toes. When they scratch, they are marking an area with their scent, so your kitty is saying that the area is his or hers.
Ways to Stop Your Bengal Cat From Scratching Your Furniture
Ensure Appropriate Areas to Scratch
When you are trying to get your Bengal Cat to stop scratching the furniture, you need to have appropriate areas for them to scratch at. If you cat likes to scratch in multiple areas, you may need to set up multiple scratching posts around the house. It can take a little work to find what kind of post your cat prefers: a vertical one, a horizontal one, a wavy one — there are lots of options.
Encourage your cat to come to the scratching post by praising them, offering high valued treats, and even sprinkling a little catnip on the post. You should also set these posts up near where your Bengal Cat is scratching at the furniture to be most effective.
Cat trees or cat condos are another great option for your Bengal Cat. These provide them with the ability to climb up and survey the area and helps provide getaways in a multi-cat household. The biggest downside to many cat trees is that they are covered in carpet, and it can be hard to teach your cat that it’s okay to scratch at one carpeted area, but not another.
Keep in mind the material that your Bengal Cat’s posts are made out of. Some cats prefer rope-wound posts, while others may prefer a natural wood feel. Your cat may be the kind to prefer dense cardboard. It can take a little trial and error to find the right combination.
Try Aversion Techniques
You don’t want to punish your cat when they are scratching at an area, but you can make a noise to discourage them. Some people suggest rattling a can of coins, while for others, a simple, “Ah” sound will suffice.
To get your Bengal Cat to stop scratching the furniture and instead use their new scratching post, consider putting something on your furniture to dissuade your cat with an odd feeling texture or sound. Double-sided sticky tape is a great option, or you can put some tin foil over the end of the furniture. There are plastic protectors designed with your cat’s scratching in mind, or you can turn a piece of carpet over so that the knubby side is facing upright.
When your cat scratches at the furniture, many will stop with these methods. If they don’t, make your sound and put them at the appropriate area. Do not continue to scold them or make unpleasant noises, or they will just associate that with their new scratching post. Put your cat where they are allowed to scratch and reward scratching behavior with treats and praise.
In many countries and cities around the world, it is illegal and deemed cruel to declaw a cat. Generally, when the surgery is performed, the claw and the end of the bone attached to each claw is amputated. In some areas this is done with a laser or scalpel, while some “old school” vets may actually just cut the area off with a nail clipper, potentially leaving behind bone fragments.
The declawing process is incredibly painful for many cats, and it can lead to chronic issues. Many cats that wind up in shelters after being declawed are there for behavioral reasons. They may be more apt to bite, and many have developed issues urinating outside of their litter box.
It can be very frustrating to teach your Bengal Cat to stop scratching at the furniture, but it can be done. Scratching is an important activity for your cat, so they should be provided with appropriate areas to scratch. Using aversion techniques that discourage scratching — while never physically harming your cat — are important steps to getting your Bengal to stop scratching at your furniture.