You love your new kitten, but he loves to climb and sink his claws into whatever he climbs—especially on expensive furniture. Kittens, even more than cats, have a curious nature that can be hard to curtail. Instead, you need to redirect it.
In the following article, we will look at several things that you can do to stop a kitten from climbing on all the furniture.
Understanding Why Kittens Climb Furniture
In the wilderness, cats climb and leap over long distances. This climbing allows them to avoid danger and hunt for food. Because of that wild and natural instinct, even friendly house cats will climb on furniture much to your dismay. Cats love to hunt birds, and they do this in the trees. Meanwhile, they can hunt rodents from the ground much easier.
Try as you might, you will struggle to fully eliminate this. I know from firsthand experience.
Kittens prove especially difficult to stop their climbing on furniture because of their high enthusiasm for life. You do have strategies that can minimize or contain the damage. I wouldn’t say that you will stop it entirely, however.
Cats will also climb as a way to escape predators. Think of dogs and the first place that cats will climb—they go to either a tree or a fence where the dog can’t reach.
Never Do This to Stop Kittens from Climbing
One of the cruelest and most inhumane actions that you can do to a cat is to take them to a vet to have them declawed. Most vets won’t even consider declawing a cat because of the health implications and how it takes away their natural defense and climbing abilities.
As animals of prey, they feel defenseless and vulnerable on the ground. Cats were made to climb.
If you want to do this to stop a kitten from climbing, don’t have a cat. It’s as simple as that. Either don’t have the cat or get rid of the cat because you’re poorly suited for a kitten. Cats need to be able to climb, and there’s a ton of issues that arise from declawing. Check out this article to learn more about why declawing a cat is so bad and why most reputable vets won’t even think about it.
In contrast to the United States where it is still legal, in Great Britain, they even banned the practice of declawing cats in the Animal Welfare Act 2006. However, even before that, few pet owners would have their pets declawed.
Give Him a Piece Furniture That He Can Climb
Cats do learn, but they don’t always obey. You find that common with them. Instead of scolding him and trying to get him to stop climbing the furniture, you might hand him a piece of furniture that he can climb.
Kittens, because of their questioning nature, climb out of curiosity. They love being up in high places. You’d have an easier time redirecting this curiosity than you would fighting it.
The FEANDREA Cat Tree, XL Cat Tower offers your kitten the perfect space to redirect his enthusiastic energies onto a piece of furniture meant for climbing. The best cat trees promote exercise and a safe place for climbing. Your kitten will also feel safer up high. Kittens have boundless energy and love to play, which makes this the ideal choice.
In case you have any doubts about getting your kitten a cat tree, check out this video of kittens playing in a cat tree:
Along with a cat tree, you will want to provide him with several other suitable and exciting places where he can climb. The goal is to create so many good areas to climb that your kitten doesn’t even think about climbing on the furniture as much. This may not stop it altogether, but your furniture won’t wear down as quickly.
With a cat, you can do your best to stop them, but at the end of the day, you may find it difficult to keep them from doing it entirely. Every kitten and cat wants to climb, so you have to redirect their energy, not squash it.
Place the cat tree near the window so that he can enjoy the outside world. Kittens love to sit and observe.
Try Comfort Zone
Comfort Zone is a pheromone formula that calms your kitten to stop unwanted behaviors like climbing on the furniture. Some of the other things that you can use it for include stopping catfights, reducing tension in the home and it comes veterinarian recommended.
Keep in mind, people have had mixed results with this. It has worked for some people and not worked for others. You might try it if you feel tired of trying to get your kitten to stop.
Use a Spray Bottle?
Treat the spray bottle as the last line of defense for your furniture from the kitten or don’t use it at all. The spray bottle has a few drawbacks that I feel deserve a mention. I wouldn’t call it cruel, but I wouldn’t call it highly effective either. First, it only works when you see your kitten climbing on the furniture. The effect will almost immediately stop him from climbing, but it never stops him from trying again later. Cats were born climbers.
The second danger of the spray bottle comes from its overuse. Eventually, if you overuse it, your cat will stop reacting to it. It won’t have the same effect as before.
With all of that said, a spray bottle offers you the fastest way to immediately stop the behavior of climbing on the furniture. Granted, you want to design a space where your kitten feels more compelled to climb other things because it will go further in the long run.
Some people also don’t like the spray bottle. You have to decide for yourself. Water is harmless and won’t hurt your cat, but some believe that it may not be as effective as it appears. The one thing that I would point out is that it doesn’t stop the behavior. It does stop it for a time, but he will often go right back to it later leading to an uphill battle.
Discourage by Design
Environmental deterrents will go a long way to stopping your kitten from climbing the furniture. Examples include the use of unpleasant smells and textures that your cat dislikes. Cats also tend to not respond well to punishment, which makes discouraging them by design better.
For example, you could place tape the sticky side up so that when your kitten jumps on it, he will learn to avoid it. Cats don’t like sticky things. You could also place a towel near the furniture so that when they try to climb it, they will fall back down.
You can block the furniture to keep your kitten from resting easily on it. This can go a long way to stopping him. A determined kitten, however, will climb the furniture no matter what you do to stop him.
Understand Your Kitten’s Psychology
Most often, kittens will climb the furniture as an act of play and exploration. They may do it because they find that armchair comfy.
Whatever the reasons, you want to make it less appealing to them. Figure out why they do it and offer an alternative. For example, if they snuggle in an armchair, you may want to give them a comfy piece of furniture of their own like a cat bed.
Does your cat climb the furniture to access the view from the window? Move the chair farther from the window and provide them with a better alternative for viewing out the window like a shelf.
You can also use shelves so that your kitten can jump around and play without needing to go on the furniture.
Use a Clicker Device
Your kitten will learn better through positive reinforcement than it will through punishment. Whenever your kitten jumps on the things that you want him to jump on, click the device to give him a treat.
Eventually, your kitten will learn that the clicker means treats. He will try to do the things that give him a treat, and he will hopefully climb less on the furniture that you don’t want him to climb.
Punishment like yelling and the spray bottle usually have the opposite effect—it makes your cat fear you. However, it may prove difficult to get them to understand why they shouldn’t do that because a cat’s brain doesn’t work that way.
Give Your Kitten More Toys
Kittens do things for the fun of it, and if they have taken to destructive behavior, it often happens because of boredom. Give him some toys to keep him from feeling bored. Put a few toys on the floor and see if it will redirect his interest onto the toys over climbing on the furniture.
Some of the suggested toys for a kitten include:
- Ping pong balls
- Sisal-wrapped tubes
- Plastic balls with bells
- Bottle caps
Pay Attention to What Works
Trial and error will help you to figure out what works with your kitten and what doesn’t. Be prepared for a determined kitten that wants to climb. You may need to move him off the furniture 25 times before it works.
Avoid scolding your cat if possible because this often has the opposite effect. Repetition is the key to teaching your kitten not to climb on the furniture. Every cat will have a different personality, which means that some things will work and some won’t.
Training Takes Time
Cats don’t learn as effectively as dogs. You need to train them many times before it seems to go through, and oftentimes, you will find it easier to make what appeals to them less attractive. Take away what motivates them to climb instead of punishing them.
If you enjoyed this article and you’d like to keep learning more about kittens and climbing, check out this article I wrote on how to stop a kitten from climbing your legs. A painful stage in the parenting process for pet parents.