The smell of vinegar is one of the scents that cats hate. And you can use that to your advantage to prevent unwanted behavior like scratching your furniture. Here is how to keep cats from scratching furniture using vinegar.
How to stop your cat from scratching furniture with vinegar
Start by mixing one part vinegar with one part water. You can use any kind of vinegar but most cat owners use white vinegar because it is cheap and apple cider vinegar because of its sweeter smell. Any type of vinegar will do to prevent your cat from scratching your furniture.
As for the ratio, using the vinegar at full-strength can be too much for your cat’s senses. Initially, you should start with a 1:1 ratio and vary the mixture until you find the optimal solution that works best for your desired goal.
Once you have mixed your vinegar solution, pour this inside a spray bottle. Next, spray a small amount of the solution on the surface of the furniture that you want your cat to stop scratching. Be aware that vinegar can stain some fabrics and surfaces.
If you are sure that your vinegar solution does not stain the surface of your furniture, you can now spray the mixture on it. Because cats hate the smell of vinegar, they will avoid the surfaces where this vinegar mixture has been sprayed. Take note that you will need to spray your vinegar solution every few days as the scent of the vinegar will eventually dissipate.
If you do not like the smell of vinegar, you can make other solutions that can be sprayed on furniture. Among the scents that cats detest are citrus, lavender, rosemary, and eucalyptus.
Be aware that cats differ from one another. And although most cats hate the smell of vinegar, your cat may be an outlier. Unlike other cats, your pet might not mind the scent of vinegar and continue scratching and damaging your furniture.
Why cats hate the smell of vinegar
So why is it that cats do not like the smell of vinegar? Open a bottle of vinegar and put your nose directly on the opening. Most probably, you will be put off by the intense aroma. The same thing applies to your cat. Imagine that intense aroma multiplied several times. That is exactly what happens when your pet smells the scent that he dislikes.
Although dogs are often touted for their keen sense of smell, cats are not that far off when it comes to their smelling ability.
Cats have 14 times more olfactory cells in their noses compared to humans. That can make every scent in and around your home more intense for your cat.
For cats, that heightened sense of smell is vital for a couple of reasons. For one, they use their noses to “taste” food. If there is one sense that is not as well developed as the others, that would be their sense of taste. That is why if you want to entice your cat to eat, you have to make his food smell intensely, either by adding a smelly ingredient or by heating his food.
Second, cats use all of their senses, including their noses, to become aware of their environment. This is necessary because cats are highly-territorial creatures, ready to pounce on prey and wary of other predators.
Other ways cat owners can use vinegar
Apart from deterring your cat from scratching your furniture, there are a few other ways that you can use vinegar.
For starters, if feral cats frequently invade and wreak havoc in your garden, you can use vinegar from coming into your property. To do this, you can spray a vinegar solution on various parts of your yard, including the fences and garden decor. You can even soak rags in this vinegar solution for greater efficacy. Practice caution when spraying the solution on plants as it is possible to kill some plants with vinegar.
Vinegar is also an effective cleaner and disinfectant. For example, if your cat’s feeding bowl or water fountain has mineral deposits, you can use vinegar to remove these.
You can also use vinegar to remove stubborn stains on the litter box and to disinfect it. To do this, rinse the litter box before soaking it in vinegar overnight. The following day, wash and rinse the box thoroughly before allowing it to air dry for a few days. Air drying will allow the scent of the vinegar to dissipate.
Some cats do not always need to get their ears cleaned. But if your cat does, you can dip a few cotton balls into a solution of one cup lukewarm water mixed with two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar.
Finally, you can use vinegar to prevent fleas from invading your home. Mix either white or apple cider vinegar with water. Play around with the ratios until you find the right mixture that will not irritate your cat but is still effective enough to deter fleas.
How to stop your cat from destructive scratching
If the vinegar spray does not stop your cat from scratching your furniture, you may need to try a different approach. But before you do, it is worthwhile to understand why cats like to scratch in the first place. Although scratching can seem like an unwanted and destructive behavior, for your cat, it is natural and serves multiple purposes.
For starters, scratching allows him to remove the old outer layer of his claws. Cats also use scratching as a way to mark their territories. Their paws contain scent glands and scratching allows them to transfer their scent on a surface. Finally, scratching is one way that cats exercise and stretch their bodies.
As you can see, scratching is natural to felines and you will be hard pressed to stop your pet from doing it. The better approach is to acknowledge the fact that you cannot stop your pet from scratching. And the next best thing that you can do is to redirect his instincts to an acceptable surface, like a scratching post.
Here are some helpful tips that you can follow.
Find your cat’s scratching preferences
If your cat ignores the scratching surfaces that you have bought for him, it might mean that he does not like the material used or its placement.
Observe your pet and the surfaces that he likes to scratch. Start with the texture of the object. Then look at the location. Cats like to scratch after waking up and he might use the nearest object to do that. Finally, take note of the dimension and orientation of his favorite scratching surfaces.
Buy the appropriate scratching surfaces for your cat
Once you have determined your cat’s preferences, get him scratching surfaces that match these. But this is not enough. You also have to pay attention to the location where you put this. Your pet might be scratching the sofa because he is aware that you are always on the couch. His scratching might be his way of marking his co-ownership of the furniture.
Place the scratching surfaces in areas that your pet frequents. It is also a good idea to place a few around your home so that your pet has one within easy reach at all times. Temporarily cover the objects that you do not want to get scratched by the cat
Initially, you will need to cover all your household items that your cat might target as scratching posts. For example, you can turn your speakers around to prevent the part easily damaged from getting scratched.
You may also attempt to spray scents that your cat dislikes on the surfaces of these objects. You can also try attaching or putting a perimeter around these objects with surfaces that cats dislike. These include aluminum foils and sandpaper.
Train your cat to use the scratching surfaces
Initially, you should place the scratching surfaces you bought at a place that is readily accessible to your pet. The following day, move these surfaces a couple of inches. To this until you have moved each scratching surface to your desired location.
Once your pet uses these scratching surfaces exclusively, you can remove the cover from your household stuff.
Do not even consider declawing your cat
When your cat scratches or even destroys your precious furniture, it is understandable for you to feel frustrated, especially if you have tried all available options to prevent him. And out of your frustration, you might be thinking of getting your cat declawed. However, getting your cat declawed can cause more harm than good.
When a cat is declawed, he is practically declawed. The risk of death due to an adverse reaction to anesthesia is a considerable risk involved.
After the procedure, your cat’s foot may become infected. If the infection is not treated immediately, the whole foot may be amputated. In some cases, the foot can bleed profusely once the bandage is removed. Surgical mishaps can also lead to the growth of misshapen claws and shattered bones.
Aside from these physical side effects, your cat can become emotionally scarred. As previously mentioned, scratching is embedded in your cat’s psyche. Once declawed, your pet cannot reap the benefits of scratching and even perform some of the things that he likes to do like kneading.
Declawed cats can spiral into a state of perpetual stress because they feel helpless knowing that their primary defense mechanism has been removed. In turn, this can lead to a host of unwanted behavior.
Some declawed cats even avoid using the litter box altogether because scratching the litter reminds them of the pain in their paws.
Be patient in training your cat to stop destructive scratching
Stopping your cat from destructive scratching may seem like an insurmountable task. But if you remain patient and kind to your pet, over time, he will respond positively and redirect his scratching behavior to acceptable surfaces. Keep on trying and your pet will respond.
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