Cat Repellent Effectiveness
July 25, 2009 6:21 PM   Subscribe

Do cat repellent sprays really work? Thinking of purchasing some expensive leather dining room chairs and I'm concerned about possible damage from scratching. I purchased a sisal scratching post a few months ago and my cat uses it constantly but I'm still nervous. He destroyed a cheap leather computer chair I purchased many years ago. The problem seems to be under control but I'm still worried. Any recommendations?
posted by reidfleming to Pets & Animals (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Our cat's don't scratch our leather couch, but just the fact they are on it means it has some scratch marks. One time one was sleeping on it and a sudden movement scared her and she dug a claw in it. That being said, when we first bought it she would try to crawl underneath and claw at the fabric. We got some No Scratch and it stopped her. It also stopped her from scratching at the carpet on the stairs.

But all cats are different. YMMV
posted by silkygreenbelly at 6:39 PM on July 25, 2009 [1 favorite]

Yeah, this is a definite cat-by-cat basis thing. Our cats do not bother new furniture. Furniture that has been around/sat upon/etc by other cats is fair game. They will scratch the shit out of it. Your cat may have a leather fetish. I'm not sure how you might inexpensively test for this. . . can the furniture store give you a sample of the leather upholstery?
posted by Medieval Maven at 6:51 PM on July 25, 2009

I train them not to scratch furniture as follows:
1. have a scratching post in same room as nice furniture. This is important. Other side of the room as much as possible.
2. catnip scratching post. Might want to do this every day for the first week. make it the focus of the room for them.
3. bring cats to post, and give them much affection when they scratch on it (if they don't feel like scratching I put the paws on it and pet them silly to make the association).
4. whenever they go near the nice furniture, pick them up and bring them over to the scratching post, much affection etc.
5. same if they start to scratch the nice furniture. Cats (in my experience) don't train well with negative reinforcement, so I don't punish them, just reinforce the positive association with the scratching post.

now my cats focus on the scratching post (and ask for petting when they use it, but it's a small price to pay).

May be difficult if they are already scratching other furniture.
posted by Billegible at 7:24 PM on July 25, 2009 [2 favorites]

Put tin foil on the chairs. Take off when you want to use them.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 8:46 PM on July 25, 2009 [3 favorites]

My cat has never shown an interest in scratching leather, however, if she's sitting on the couch and something scares her, she may dig a claw in when she jumps off. My current leather couch has some little claw marks from those occasions.

On the occasions where I have caught her scratching furniture, I will locate a scratching post right in front of the area that she likes to scratch. She redirects her behavior towards the scratching post, and I gradually move it away from the original piece of furniture.

My cat enjoys LICKING the leather, though. As far as I can tell, it doesn't seem to damage it.
posted by Ostara at 8:55 PM on July 25, 2009

I have a cat who was getting on the benches whenever cooking was going on. I got a SSSCAT spray which is a spray can with an IR sensor. For my cat it has worked incredibly well.

The downside is that if it is on and you walk past the spray will go off. This isn't too much of annoyance, it has no smell, but you wouldn't be able to sit on the couch while it's on.
posted by sien at 9:31 PM on July 25, 2009 [1 favorite]

Thinking of purchasing some expensive leather dining room chairs.

I'm gonna vote "no" on this one. Cats and leather furniture really don't mix, and even in the best case, you'll be worried all the time.

Cat sprays never worked for me, either.

Pick different chairs.
posted by rokusan at 10:55 PM on July 25, 2009 [1 favorite]

I would add to Billegible's good advice that cats love food rewards too. Whenever they scratch on the post offer a food reward. Over time you won't have to offer the reward every time - in fact, it seems more effective if the reward is randomly awarded.
posted by GPF at 6:52 AM on July 26, 2009

There is only one cat spray that works: water. Squirt them right in the face every time they approach something you don't want them touching. Keeps them away for up to 10 minutes. And eventually it will stick.
posted by rahnefan at 10:47 AM on July 26, 2009

Bugger it, they're just chairs.
posted by pompomtom at 11:50 PM on July 26, 2009

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