Maine Coons like to scratch things. Cats possess a natural instinct to claw at things and you will notice them doing it on a daily basis, day or night. Deterring this behavior is not easy.
In this article, we share our tried and tested 7-day plan to train a Maine Coon NOT to scratch furniture plus 10 clever tricks to deter it from clawing things thereafter.
Many long-suffering owners despair at the sight of their favorite pieces of furniture or new carpets taking a hammering from a set of sharp claws.
Torn leather, tattered fabrics, fuzzy carpets – what can you do to end this form of cat vandalism? Is it possible to stop a Maine Coon from scratching the furniture?
It is possible to train a Maine Coon not to scratch furniture by using various methods to distract it from doing so at a young age. You should not prevent a Maine Coon from scratching things through punishment but there are many steps you can take to prevent this unwanted behavior and minimize the damage to your home.
How To Train a Maine Coon NOT to Scratch Your Furniture in 7 days
Before you completely despair, here’s a plan to follow which may well help to save your furniture:
Buy some good solid scratching posts. Make sure they are covered with materials that match as closely as possible the things that your cat prefers to
Also purchase some interactive toys (such as this laser pointer), cat wands, lemons, a spray bottle, catnip spray, and your cat’s favorite treats. Place cat scratching posts around your home in your cat’s favorite places, particularly next to the place it loves to claw.
Make sure you put posts right in front of the areas your cat loves to scratch. Your cat should investigate these new items. Act happy and praise it and maybe give it a little treat.
Discourage your cat from scratching the things you don’t want it to scratch as follows:
- Fix a thick plastic sheet tightly around any scratched items and then stick double-sided tape all over this. Your cat should then leave these things alone.
- Apply double-sided sticky tape directly to any surfaces that it won’t damage to deter your cat from scratching there
- You can also cover everything you want to protect with aluminum foil as cats generally don’t like the feel or sound of it.
- Make a spray of water and juice squeezed from the lemons you bought, and spray any soft furnishings your cat usually scratches. Cats don’t like the smell of citrus so this should put it off scratching these items.
Spray the scratching posts with catnip to get your cat to take notice of them.
Use cat toys such as wands or a laser pointer to encourage your cat onto the new scratching posts. Once your cat is chasing the toy or laser spot, ease it on to the scratching post.
Praise your cat and give it a little treat if it scratches on the post. If at any point during the day your cat starts scratching anywhere you don’t want it to, distract it away with a toy towards a scratching post and give the other areas the foil/sticky tape/lemon spray treatment.
Never ever raise your voice or use an angry tone. All this does is scare your cat and encourage it not to trust you.
Days 4 to 7
Finger’s crossed, your cat has started to lose interest in scratching the nasty
If your cat is still wanting to scratch where you don’t want it to it could be stress-related. Invest in a Feliway spray and apply this to the areas you want your cat to leave alone.
Feliway mimics the happy pheromones secreted by your cats facial glands and often has a calming effect.
Continue to play with your cat around and on the scratching posts and give it lots of praise and little treats when it scratches where you want it to.
Day 7 onward
Hopefully, your cat now loves all of its new scratching posts and is using them and not any other soft furnishings. Gradually remove the foil, sheets and sticky tape from around your house over the next few days.
Keep the lemon spray to hand and apply it as a deterrent should your cat slip up and scratch where it shouldn’t.
Now you’re in the habit of playing with your cat, keep this up on a daily basis as it’s a nice way for the two of you to bond and provides good exercise for it. If you stop now, your cat might get bored and start scratching your furniture again.
10 clever tricks to deter a Maine Coon from scratching furniture
This is ideal on oft furnishings as cats hate the feeling of sticky tape on their sensitive paw pads.
Many cats hate the noise foil makes so placing it over things they scratch can be an excellent deterrent.
Horizontal scratch pad
If your cat loves clawing carpets, horizontal scratch pads are an excellent distraction. There are some great inexpensive cardboard versions available.
An interesting cat tree with a variety of interesting levels and surfaces will hopefully provide your cat with something it enjoys scratching.
Cover your furniture
Whenever you have to go out, cover your furniture with blankets or thick plastic sheets to ensure it is safe from Maine Coon claws.
Plenty of scratching posts
The more the merrier. Placing scratching posts in strategic positions can really help to save your furniture.
Plenty of play
I can’t emphasize enough how much you need to amuse your cat through play. Maine Coons need to exert their energy, especially if you keep them indoors. Hopefully, this will deter them from clawing at your belongings.
Flip your rugs over
If your cat is particularly fond of clawing at your rugs, flip them upside whenever you go out down to prevent them from getting damaged.
Close off some rooms
An indoor Maine Coon needs plenty of space but you can preserve some areas by making them out of bounds when you’re not around.
Safe outside space
If possible create a secure outside space and have a catflap leading into it. Your cat will hopefully scratch things outside instead of your soft furnishings
Excessive Scratching Is a Sign of Boredom
If your Maine Coon is alone for long spells it may get lonely. If it doesn’t have enough to stimulate it, it might also get extremely
The first thing to consider is having more than one Maine Coon. If you can, get two at the same time from the same litter so that they are bonded and will tolerate living together.
They will be company for each other and will also amuse each other for hours, hopefully saving your soft furnishings.
The next thing to think about is how well your Mane Coon is catered for in your home, especially if it is an indoor cat. The more space it has access to the better.
Invest in an indoor tree (here are a few I highly recommend) if you have the room. Make sure it can see out of windows and has plenty of toys to play with.
Why Does a Maine Coon Scratch Things?
In order to deter your Maine Coon cat from scratching your furniture, carpets, wallpaper and anything else you don’t want to be clawed to pieces, you have to understand the 4 reasons why it does it:
- To stretch and keep supple. Scratching is a form of cat exercise. As they perform this task you detest so much notice how they flex and stretch the muscles and tendons in their front legs, necks, and shoulders. This action you find so unsavory is invaluable in keeping your cat flexible. It keeps your cat supple, helps it limber up for a day of running, climbing, stalking, and jumping. Without the ability to do this your cat will have more chance of suffering an injury in its day-to-day life.
- To mark its territory. Within your cat’s paw’s there are little scent glands that release its own special pheromones as it scratches. So every time your furniture is punished, your cat is making itself happy by marking its territory. Even if it’s your only cat, it will still possess the urge to leave these happy scent messages all around its environment as they make it feel safe and secure. If you are often out and your cat is alone for long spells it will probably do this all the more to combat feeling of loneliness.
- To maintain claw health. About every 3 months, cats shed the outer sheath of each claw – not all at the same time though. This happens when a claw has grown beyond the reach of its blood supply and a new strong, sharp claw is ready to spring into action beneath the old layer. Scratching is the perfect way to remove the redundant layer which ensures a cat’s claws stay strong and healthy. You may notice the sheaths of claws where your cat scratches.
- To feel good. Sometimes a cat scratches things just for the feel-good factor it gives it. It relieves stress which in turn decreases the chance of your cat resorting to other undesirable behavior.
Declawing: Why It’s Painful and Not The Solution
If you have adopted a mature Maine Coon it is the most difficult thing in the world, and sometimes impossible, to change any unwanted habits it has. Even Maine Coons owned from kittens don’t always comply with their owner’s patient efforts to get them to scratch only in specific places.
Before you ever get a Maine Coon,
Not everyone seems to be aware of what declawing a cat involves. They hear it mentioned and think its OK to do it to save their homes from damage. They believe it’s alright to declaw indoor cats because they don’t need their claws to defend themselves.
Declawing a cat is a cruel and painful procedure. This is a
Declawing is not to be confused with trimming a claw or even removing a claw. It involves the amputation of the last bone on each of a cat’s toes. Imagine having your fingers and toes cut off at the first knuckle – this is what declawing amounts to.
Claws are an essential part of a cat’s anatomy. Declawing will have a lasting and harmful effect on a cat’s well-being physically and psychologically.
Without its claws, a cat will find walking and balancing difficult and often painful for the rest of its life. Claws are a cat’s main defense mechanism. Remove its claws and your cat may become more aggressive to compensate.
Some declawed cats stop using their litter boxes because the litter hurts what is left of their paws. Many people find that after they have had a cat declawed they can’t cope with the new aggression and non-use of a litter tray which is why these are the most common reasons for cats being taken to shelters.
Heartbreakingly, many cats taken to shelters for these reasons are not rehomed and are put to sleep.
It’s best to carefully consider getting a Maine Coon, especially a mature
Never get angry with your cat or punish it for scratching as it will lose its trust in you and will still scratch things.
All cats need their claws so declawing should never be considered just to stop one scratching furniture.