Remember the first time you walked into your living room and noticed series of fierce lines engraved on your favorite couch? On that same scene is an innocent-looking furry little fellow standing just beside the couch. Immediately, you’ll be confused as to what to do.
If you haven’t had this experience, in particular, I’m sure you’ve heard stories. Cats scratching furniture and surfaces in their reach is a common dilemma cat owners battle. Thankfully, several cat owners have found ways to navigate such experiences.
A handful of these measures are proactive. Applying them can help you avoid such occurrences altogether. One of the renowned methods is using vinegar to discourage a cat from specific spots and objects. Does this work? And if it does, how can you apply it? These are questions we are addressing in this article.
Why do cats hate the smell of vinegar?
Vinegar is a household substance with strong organic composition. Its smell alone is a strong indicator that a solution of vinegar contains strong active ingredients. Most times, the vinegar we use in our homes is watered down. Of all these, it’s the strong smell that does the trick for cats – especially when it’s still concentrated.
Have you ever tried to sniff a bottle of apple cider vinegar directly? The choking sensation that follows that experience is one you never want to try again. It can be dangerous to one’s health if persistently done. That choking feeling is small compared to what cats feel when they perceive strong vinegar. Why?
Felines have a strong sense of smell. Cats use their nose as a combination of their smell and taste senses. If a cat would eat food or would be deterred by it is determined by how appealing the food smells. They have about 14 times the olfactory cells as humans. So, it’s understandable that cats navigate their environment by perceiving.
So, when you put up a substance as pungent as vinegar, a cat is naturally turned off by the smell. Many cat owners have noticed this and now use the substance to keep their feline pets at bay from certain areas in the home.
How to use vinegar to prevent cat scratching furniture
While scratching is a natural and instinctive behavior for your cat, those furry little creatures can overstep their bounds and destroy your household furniture in the process. No matter how much you love your feline friends, in situations like you just feel like scolding your cat badly. While that might work, it wouldn’t suffice to change your cat’s behavior.
Vinegar to the rescue! You can use vinegar to deter your cat from areas you don’t want its claw in action. But before you do this, bear in mind that your cat also needs to scratch. That’s as important to him as your furniture is to you. So, the ideal thing to do is provide an alternative object and area where they can stretch and claw at without destroying your prized possession.
With that done, you crown your efforts with the use of a natural deterrent like vinegar to keep your cat away from further scratching any furniture surface.
The first step is for you to get a bottle of apple cider vinegar. You also need an empty spray bottle to do this properly. Next, you need to dilute the concentrated vinegar solution in a 50% water mixture. To do this you mix one part vinegar with one part water. Then turn the mixture into the empty spray bottle for application.
Some cat owners feel like applying the apple cider vinegar directly without diluting. While the solution isn’t directly considered toxic to cats, it just would be too much to use something as concentrated as this in your home. A strong undiluted sensation like that won’t only deter your cat, it would also affect you and other occupants of your home. Hence, the best approach is to dilute the vinegar in a mixture before application.
For effective use of the vinegar mixture, applying directly on the surface of the furniture you’re trying to protect. In case you’re afraid it might stain the surface of the furniture, you can apply the mixture on a piece of clothing and spread it on the target furniture. Either way, it should work to keep your cat at bay from that area.
Alternative options to vinegar
While most cats would find the smell of vinegar repulsive, there are bound to be exceptions. Probably your cat has grown used to the smell. It could also be that you don’t fancy the smell of vinegar in your home, there are few alternatives to explore as a natural deterrent for your feline housemates.
Generally, cats don’t like any smell that is sharp and pungent. Remember the olfactory senses in cats we talked about earlier? It’s the reason behind this theory. So, any floral or citrusy scent should do the trick. Here are a few options I would recommend;
If you are finding it difficult to lay your hands on any of the solutions prescribed, or you have no interest in cooking a mixture for yourself, there are premade options you can go for. You’ll find these anti-scratch sprays at most local pet stores.
These mixtures have been premade with any of the common home-friendly scents but not vinegar. Other benefits for the sprays include that they are non-toxic to cats and leave no stain on surfaces. Overall, any of the options listed so far are safe options to use as a deterrent for cats to stop clawing at your furniture.
Other uses of vinegar for cat owners
After a while when cats stop scratching furniture surfaces and get used to the cat furniture and alternatives provided, many cat owners are stuck with a bottle of vinegar without what to use it for. There are several uses you can use a bottle of vinegar for as a cat owner. Here are a few;
- For cleaning litter box, feeding bowls, and other hard-surfaced care materials
Vinegar is a natural disinfectant and cleaning agent. Apart from the cleansing power, vinegar also leaves a strong scent behind which can overshadow other pungent smells and leave your home smelling fresh.
As we well know that cats can be messy animals especially when it comes to their use of a litter box. Cat food also can be pungent when left for a while. Use and reuse of cat care materials like feeding bowls, water bowls, toys, among other hard surface pet materials; can easily make these materials develop an odor.
Another angle is that these materials can easily harbor germs and bacteria. These are prerequisite infections and diseases, which you don’t want for furry little friends. It is, therefore, important that you take good care of these everyday materials.
An easy way is to use a mixture of vinegar and water to wash the litter box, feeding bowls, toys, and other hard surface materials. Another method is to deep clean the materials. Although this can be done only a couple of times per month.
For deep cleaning, immerse or bath the materials in a solution of vinegar. Leave for a couple of months, then wash off with warm water. This method keeps the materials clean, sanitized, and scenting as fresh as ever.
- Use to mop the floor your catwalks
Don’t forget cats walk around the house on bare paws. The more reason you should keep your surroundings as clean as possible. One of the ways to do this is to make the floor clean and disinfected always. You get to keep the bugs away while also promoting cleanliness.
Instead of using chemical agents that can be harmful to pets. You should opt for natural alternatives like vinegar to clean the floor. This is especially important for areas where your cat grooms herself often. Nothing beats a freshly scented environment for your pets and yourself as the owner.
- Do laundry with a pint of vinegar
Cat beddings and other pieces of clothing used by your furry friends must be washed regularly. While washing with detergents is a no-brainer adding a strong cleaning agent like vinegar takes cleaning up a notch. What purpose does the solution serve here? It gets rid of strong odors, kills bacteria, and doesn’t put off your pet like chemical disinfectants tend to do.
General tips to prevent cat furniture scratching
Like we pointed out at the beginning of this article that cats find scratching surfaces appealing. It’s good for their physical fitness and social interaction. Still, you don’t want your kitty to practice claw usage on your priced furniture.
So, as a firsthand solution, be sure to provide your feline companions with enough options to stretch on, tug and claw at. Here are few options to set up;
- Scratching posts
- Interactive toys
- Cardboard scratchers and ramps
- Cat condos and trees
- Cover up the household furniture
- Use cat nail protectors