Do Ragdolls Scratch Furniture? [What Causes The Behavior?]

Cats are beautiful creatures, but they can be destructive at times, and Ragdolls are one of the larger kinds of cats. That means they are strong and could easily damage your furniture if they chose to scratch at it. Are they likely to do so?

Do Ragdolls Scratch Furniture?

Any cat will scratch furniture in some circumstances; if they are bored, stressed, or don’t have other suitable scratching posts, your furniture will become a top choice. However, Ragdolls are generally quite laid-back cats. Many people find them a little less likely to claw furniture, especially if they are entertained and have other options.

Why Do Cats Scratch Furniture?

The biggest reason for scratching is to sharpen their claws. They need to pull off the sheaths as their claws grow, and this is most easily done by sinking their claws into something soft but resistant – like a couch or armchair.

Often, cats that are scratching are sharpening their claws and making them feel good.

Scratching is also a means of marking territory, according to AnimalsA2z. Cats have scent glands in their paws. Therefore when they scratch at a chair or mat, they are saying, “this is my space; this belongs to me.”

Ragdolls are not particularly territorial cats, but they may still do this, especially if they feel threatened.

Boredom is another reason for clawing things. Cats will make their own entertainment if they aren’t given stimulation. And this may involve shredding stuff in their environment. It can also result from anxiety and stress, so if your Ragdoll is alone a lot, you might find they scratch your furniture for either of these two reasons.

How Can I Prevent Furniture Scratching?

The best way to prevent your Ragdoll from scratching the furniture is to provide it with a dedicated scratching post. Which is more tempting than your favorite armchair.

MyRagdollCats suggests buying a scratching post that is tall and sturdy. Because the breed is large, they need more height on their post than many other cats.

I’ve put together a post with the best cat trees for big cats, especially if your cat loves to climb.

They won’t like it if the post topples on them when they try to scratch. You will need to choose a post that won’t fall over or fix it down in some way. If you don’t, they may go back to your armchair. As they know it won’t try and fall on their heads when they sharpen their claws on it.

A good scratching post will often do the trick, but how else can you encourage your cat not to scratch at the furniture?

Declawing is quickly becoming a banned practice in many places and would never be recommended. It is extremely unpleasant and painful for the cat and can permanently affect their personality. Do not get your Ragdoll declawed under any circumstances. Like all cats, they need their claws.

However, you can try a little invention called Soft-Paws. You will probably need a groomer to help you get these on unless your Ragdoll is particularly placid. The Soft-Paws simply cover up the claw and will prevent scratching for about a month.

You should see how your cat responds to them. Some cats may hate them, in which case you should discontinue use. Others may not mind, and being unable to scratch your furniture for a while could break the habit.

You can also buy scratch-repellent sprays. These usually contain a smell that the cat doesn’t like, such as citrus. 

They might be reluctant to get this on their paws, and it can also help to cover up their scent from previous scratching, which may help to discourage them from scratching further. If they can’t smell their scent on the chair, they may not be inclined to refresh it.

Alternatively, if you think your cat is bored, think about ways to keep them busy. Toys and games, especially when you are out, will keep them occupied and discourage them from scratching. Ragdolls, in particular, like to be entertained, so if you work and they don’t have the companionship of other felines, this is a good idea.

Give them newspaper to play with, screw up balls of paper, tie a string around a door handle, or try hiding treats around the room. Any of these things can help to stimulate your cat and keep it happy while you’re out or busy.

Putting duct tape sticky-side out can also deter cats. They will seriously dislike the feeling of stickiness on their paws and will be reluctant to put their feet on the furniture again.

Finally, you could try a slipcover for your furniture. Cats are attracted to surfaces that they can really dig their claws into and pull against, and if you put something that slips around on your furniture, they won’t be as keen to scratch it.

You can buy slipcovers, or you can use a piece of slippery fabric, or even plastic, to cover the surface. See how your cat responds, and make sure you leave it on for long enough to break the habit.

All of these suggestions should be combined with the purchase of a suitable scratching post so that you are deflecting your cat’s need to scratch, but it is still being met. 

Cats need to sharpen their claws regularly, so you must provide something to scratch on.

Training Your Ragdoll To Use A Scratching Post

Fortunately, Ragdolls are very intelligent cats. You should be able to train them away from your furniture more easily than some other cats. Positive reinforcement is usually the best, so encourage your cat to pay attention to the scratching post by spraying some catnip on it or rubbing a cat treat over it.

Offer your cat treats when it uses the post, and move your cat away from your furniture if it puts its claws back on the fabric. Avoid shouting at your cat. Any sudden noise or sharp ‘No’ can be enough to distract them from scratching furnishings. 

Which is why some cat owners will use loud noises to deter their cats from scratching.

Transfer their paws to the scratching post when they start on the furniture, and they should soon get the idea.

You should also position the scratching post near to the sofa or part of the wall your cat likes to scratch. Ideally, put it right in front of the scratching area, and your cat will come across it before it gets to its favorite spot. You can gradually move it away once your cat is used to using it.

A determined cat will push past the post at which point you may need to combine the new post with deterrents such as the unpleasant spray, duct tape, or a slipcover to protect your furniture and encourage your cat to transfer its attention to the new post.

Make sure that the post is firmly fixed down and tall enough to allow your kitty to stretch. They like to pull against their claws with the weight of their bodies, and as Ragdoll cats are large, they need more height than most domestic cats.

Final Word

Like all cats, Ragdolls will scratch furniture if they are bored, lonely, stressed, or do not have other alternatives. You need to discourage this behavior by providing your cat with a good scratching post.

Praise your cat when they use the correct post, and discourage them gently from clawing the furniture. Because Ragdoll cats are very intelligent, they should be reasonably easy to train away from scratching your furniture.

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