How to Train Your American Wirehair to Use Scratching Posts


As cat owners, one of the common issues we face is our furry friends scratching furniture instead of using designated scratching posts. This can be frustrating and expensive, with scratched up couches and chairs. Fortunately, there are prevention techniques and training methods that can help teach your American Wirehair how to use scratching posts instead of your furniture. In this article, we will explore step-by-step how to teach your cat to stop scratching furniture and use scratching posts. Let’s get started!

Overview of the Problem

It’s no secret that American Wirehairs are known for their love of scratching anything and everything in sight, including furniture. This can become a major issue for pet owners as it can lead to damages to their property and furniture. It can be challenging to teach them to stop scratching furniture without causing any harm or stress to the pet.

This article aims to provide you with step-by-step guidance[1] on teaching your American Wirehair to stop scratching furniture and start using appropriate scratching posts. Whether you’re a new cat owner or have been struggling with this issue for a while, we’ve got you covered. In the upcoming sections, you will learn various preventive techniques and training methods to encourage your American Wirehair to use scratching posts instead of the furniture.

Scratching is a natural behavior for cats, and they scratch for various reasons, including stretching, marking their territory, and keeping their claws in good condition. It’s crucial to provide them with appropriate alternatives to satisfy their needs and avoid destructive chewing and excessive scratching.

In the next section, we will explore some of the preventive techniques that you can use to ensure that your American Wirehair does not scratch your furniture.

Prevention Techniques

Prevention Techniques
Deteriorating furniture due to cat scratches is a frustrating issue that many American Wirehair cat owners face. However, do not lose hope as there are effective prevention techniques to stop your cat from scratching up your furniture. In this section, we will cover some of the techniques that will help your cat overcome this habit. By following these simple strategies, you can maintain your furniture and keep your furry friend happy and content. Let us take a closer look at some of them.

Choose the Right Scratching Post

It’s important to choose the right scratching post for your American Wirehair in order to ensure that they use it. There are a few things to consider when selecting a scratching post:

  • Material: American Wirehairs prefer certain materials over others. Some popular materials for scratching posts include sisal, cardboard, and carpet. It’s important to observe your cat’s scratching habits to determine which material they prefer.
  • Size: Scratching posts come in different sizes, and it’s important to choose one that is tall enough for your cat to stretch out on. Generally, scratching posts should be at least 3 feet tall.
  • Sturdiness: A scratching post that wobbles or falls over won’t be appealing to your American Wirehair. It’s important to choose a sturdy scratching post that won’t tip over.

To best fit your American Wirehair’s needs, try to choose a scratching post that fits all of the above considerations. Keeping these things in mind will make the scratching post a more appealing option for your cat.

Placement of Scratching Posts

When it comes to placement of scratching posts, it’s important to take your American Wirehair’s behavior into consideration. Cats typically scratch objects in areas where they frequent the most, so it’s important to place scratching posts in areas where your cat likes to spend time.

For example, if your American Wirehair likes to nap in a specific corner of the living room, it may be beneficial to place a scratching post near that area. Additionally, keeping scratching posts near areas where your cat previously scratched furniture can also be effective.

Another thing to keep in mind is the height and sturdiness of the scratching post. American Wirehairs love to stretch while scratching, so it’s important to choose a post that is tall enough for them to fully extend their bodies. Additionally, the scratching post should be sturdy enough to support your cat’s weight and provide stability while they scratch.

Lastly, make sure to avoid placing scratching posts in areas with high foot traffic or in dark corners where your cat may be less likely to use it. By strategically placing scratching posts in areas where your cat frequents and where they are easily accessible, you can help encourage proper scratching behavior and prevent damage to your furniture.

Pro tip: If your American Wirehair continues to scratch furniture despite having access to a scratching post, try placing double-sided tape or aluminum foil on the edges of the furniture. This can discourage your cat from scratching and redirect their attention to the scratching post instead.

For more information on dealing with aggressive behavior in American Wirehairs, check out our article on dealing with aggressive behavior.

Positive Reinforcement

One of the most effective ways to teach your American Wirehair cat to use a scratching post instead of your furniture is through positive reinforcement. This involves rewarding your cat every time they use the scratching post properly. Here are some tips to make positive reinforcement effective:

  • Use Treats: Keep your cat’s favorite treats near the scratching post. When you see them using the post, give them a treat to reinforce good behavior.
  • Praise: Cats need positive reinforcement and attention. Use a happy tone and pet your cat while praising them. This is very important and should be done even when your cat only sniffs the post.
  • Be Consistent: Reinforce good behavior every time. Consistency is important to make sure your cat understands the behavior you are trying to teach them.

Using positive reinforcement can speed up the learning process and it is essential to make it a successful technique. On the contrary, using punishment might scare or stress your cat and make it harder to teach them anything.

Some other training tips that can go along with positive reinforcement are to always provide praise and treat when you find your cat using the scratching post instead of scratching the furniture. It’s important to keep an eye on your cat and be attentive to their behaviors and when they show signs of wanting to scratch the furniture. With a persistent and positive approach, you can teach your cat to use the scratching post and protect your furniture.

If you want to teach your American Wirehair cat other behavior manners, you might want to read articles about litter box training, coming when called, or obedience training to help you understand your cat’s behavior and train them accordingly.

Discourage Furniture Scratching

As a cat owner, it can be frustrating to come home and find your once-pristine furniture turned into a scratching post by your American Wirehair. However, there are some steps you can take to discourage this behavior.

1. Cover the Furniture
One effective way to discourage your American Wirehair from scratching furniture is to cover it with something unappealing to them, such as aluminum foil or double-sided tape. This will make the surface uncomfortable to scratch and encourage them to seek out their scratching post instead.

2. Make the Scratching Post More Appealing
Another approach is to make the scratching post more appealing than your furniture. Try rubbing catnip on the scratching post or using toys to lure them to it. Additionally, make sure the scratching post is in a prominent location and easily accessible.

3. Provide Alternatives
Your American Wirehair may be scratching furniture because they don’t have enough scratching options available. Make sure there are multiple scratching posts or pads throughout your home so that they always have a place to scratch.

4. Use Positive Reinforcement
As mentioned earlier, positive reinforcement can be highly effective in training your American Wirehair to use the scratching post. Whenever you see them using the scratching post, reward them with treats or verbal praise. This will help them associate the behavior with positive outcomes.

5. Avoid Punishment
It’s important to note that punishment is not an effective way to discourage scratching behavior. Yelling at your cat or using physical force can lead to fear and anxiety, which can actually worsen the behavior. Instead, be patient and consistent with your positive reinforcement techniques.

By implementing these strategies, you can discourage your American Wirehair from scratching your furniture and train them to use a scratching post instead. Remember to be patient and consistent, and don’t hesitate to seek out additional resources or guidance if needed.

Training Methods

Training Methods
Now that you have set up the right scratching post for your American Wirehair, it’s important to train them to use it properly. This can be a bit tricky since cats are creatures of habit, but with patience and consistency, you can train them to stop scratching your furniture and start using the scratching post instead. Here are some tried-and-true training techniques that will help you achieve your goal.

Introducing Your American Wirehair to a Scratching Post

When introducing your American Wirehair to a scratching post, it’s crucial to make a positive association in their mind. Here are some steps to follow:

Step Description
Step 1: Choose a scratching post that is covered in a texture that your cat likes, such as sisal or cardboard.
Step 2: Place the scratching post in an area where your cat likes to spend time.
Step 3: Encourage your cat to approach the scratching post by placing treats or catnip near it.
Step 4: Gently touch your cat’s paws against the scratching post to show them how to use it.
Step 5: Give your cat positive verbal reinforcement, such as “good job,” while they use the scratching post.
Step 6: Repeat this process regularly until your cat understands that the scratching post is where they should scratch.

It’s important to note that if your cat continues to scratch furniture instead of the scratching post, you should not scold or punish them. Instead, simply redirect them to the scratching post and give positive reinforcement when they use it. With patience and consistency, your American Wirehair will learn to use the scratching post instead of your furniture.

Encouraging Use of the Scratching Post with Rewards

Encouraging your American Wirehair cat to use a scratching post may take time and effort. However, rewarding your cat when it does use the post can help reinforce positive behavior. Here are some ideas for rewarding your cat:

Types of Rewards Description
Treats Offer your cat a small treat, such as a piece of kibble or a cat treat, when it uses the scratching post. This positive reinforcement can encourage your cat to continue scratching the post.
Praise Verbal praise and affection can go a long way in encouraging positive behavior. Whenever your cat uses the scratching post, use a cheerful tone to give it plenty of praise and affection.
Play Playing with your cat after it uses the scratching post can help reinforce positive behavior. Use toys to engage in playtime and reward your cat for using the post beforehand

Remember to be consistent with rewards and only give them when your American Wirehair uses the scratching post. This can encourage your cat to scratch there more often, eventually making it a habit. Try to not rely too much on treats as a reward, as your cat can become dependent on them. Instead, use verbal praise and play as added incentives.

Redirecting Negative Behavior

Redirecting negative behavior is an essential step in teaching your American Wirehair to stop scratching furniture and use scratching posts instead.

Why Redirecting Negative Behavior is Important

Your cat will inevitably scratch furniture or other items that they shouldn’t at some point during the training process. It’s essential to redirect this behavior in a positive way to prevent them from continuing to scratch the wrong things.

Here are some steps you can take to redirect your American Wirehair’s scratching behavior:

Step Description
1. Interrupt the scratching behavior with a loud noise such as clapping or shaking a can of coins.
2. Immediately direct your cat’s attention to the scratching post.
3. Encourage your cat to scratch the post by rubbing catnip on it or placing treats on or around the post.

Preventing Negative Behaviors

Redirecting negative behavior is one way to discourage your American Wirehair from scratching furniture, but it’s also important to prevent negative behaviors in the first place. Make sure that your cat has access to scratching posts in the correct locations and use positive reinforcement to encourage your cat to use them.

Another way to prevent negative behavior is to use deterrents. You can use double-sided tape or aluminum foil on furniture to discourage your cat from scratching in those areas. There are also commercial deterrent sprays available that are safe for cats and will discourage them from scratching furniture.

By combining prevention techniques with positive reinforcement and redirecting negative behavior, you can effectively train your American Wirehair to stop scratching furniture and use scratching posts instead. With patience and persistence, you can have happy furniture and a happy cat.

Additional Tips

As much as we try, our American Wirehairs can sometimes be stubborn and refuse to follow our commands. If your furry baby is still scratching the furniture, don’t worry, here are some additional tips that can help you stop this behavior. Below we have gathered some useful advice on trimming your cat’s nails, providing distractions, and using deterrents. Let’s take a closer look at these techniques and see how they can help you and your pet live in harmony.

Trimming Your Cat’s Nails

Keeping your American Wirehair’s nails trimmed is an important part of preventing furniture scratching. Long nails can easily get caught on fabric and cause damage unintentionally. Here are some tips for trimming your cat’s nails:

  • Use the Right Tools: Invest in a pair of high-quality cat nail clippers to ensure a clean cut without hurting your cat. Avoid using human nail clippers or scissors as they can damage your cat’s nails or lead to injury.
  • Get Your Cat Used to Handling: Before attempting to trim your cat’s nails, get them used to being handled. Start by touching and gently squeezing their paws so they become comfortable with the sensation.
  • Choose the Right Time: Pick a time when your cat is relaxed, such as after a nap or meal. If your cat becomes agitated or resistant, take a break and try again later.
  • Clip Only the Tips: Clip only the white part of the nail, which is the tip, and avoid cutting into the pink part, which is the quick and contains blood vessels. If you accidentally cut the quick, apply pressure with a clean cloth and use styptic powder to stop bleeding.
  • Offer Rewards: Praise and reward your cat with treats and affection after each successful nail trimming session to make it a positive experience.

By regularly trimming your American Wirehair’s nails, you can help reduce the likelihood of them using your furniture as a scratching post and keep their nails healthy and neat.

Providing Distractions

One effective way to prevent your American Wirehair from scratching furniture is by providing them with distractions. By offering alternative activities, you can divert their attention away from the furniture and towards more acceptable behaviors.

Toys: One of the best distractions for cats is toys. Wirehairs, like many cats, love to play with strings, feathers, and balls. Be sure to choose toys that are safe for your cat to play with and avoid anything with small parts that can be swallowed. Interactive toys that require your participation, such as a laser pointer or feather wand, are also great for keeping your cat entertained.

Scratching Posts: Another approach to providing distractions is to give your cat more options for scratching that are not furniture. Scratching posts come in many shapes and sizes, and it’s important to choose one that your cat will actually use. Experiment with different materials such as carpet, sisal, or cardboard. You may also want to consider getting a multi-level scratching post that offers different types of surfaces to scratch.

Cat Trees: Cat trees are another useful distraction for American Wirehairs. They provide your cat with a place to perch and climb, as well as a variety of surfaces to scratch. Some cat trees also come with built-in hiding spots and toys. If you have the space and budget, a cat tree can be a great addition to your home.

Window Perches: Wirehairs love to observe their surroundings, and a window perch is a great way to give them a birds-eye view of the outside world. Choose a perch that suction cups to the window and is sturdy enough to support your cat’s weight. Your cat will spend hours lounging on the perch, watching birds and squirrels outside.

Providing distractions is an effective way to prevent your American Wirehair from scratching furniture. By giving your cat toys, scratching posts, cat trees, and window perches, you can offer them alternative options that will capture their attention and keep them engaged.

Using Deterrents

As mentioned earlier, providing your American Wirehair with a designated scratching post can be an effective way to combat furniture scratching. However, if your cat continues to scratch furniture even with a scratching post available, it may be necessary to use deterrents to discourage the behavior.

There are several types of deterrents that can be used to discourage furniture scratching:

Type of Deterrent How It Works
Double-Sided Tape Attach double-sided tape to the furniture where your cat usually scratches. Most cats dislike the feel of the sticky tape on their paws and will avoid scratching in that area.
Scents Cats have a strong sense of smell, so certain scents can be used to discourage unwanted behavior. Citrus and lavender are often effective at deterring cats.
Water Most cats dislike water and will avoid areas where they know they may get wet. Spray a light mist of water near the furniture when your cat begins to scratch, but be sure not to spray your cat directly.
Aluminum Foil Many cats dislike the sound and texture of aluminum foil. Cover the furniture with foil to discourage your cat from scratching.

Note: It’s important to remember that while deterrents can be effective at discouraging unwanted behavior, they should always be used in conjunction with positive reinforcement to encourage the use of the scratching post. Additionally, if your cat continues to scratch furniture despite the use of deterrents and positive reinforcement, it may be necessary to consult with a veterinarian or animal behaviorist for further advice.


In conclusion, teaching your American Wirehair to stop scratching furniture and use scratching posts requires a combination of prevention techniques and training methods. By choosing the right scratching post and placing it in the proper location, as well as reinforcing positive behavior and discouraging negative behavior, you can set your American Wirehair up for success.

Introducing your American Wirehair to the scratching post and encouraging use with rewards, as well as redirecting negative behavior, is an important part of the training process. Additionally, trimming your cat’s nails, providing distractions, and using deterrents can also assist in preventing furniture scratching.

It’s important to remember that training takes time and patience. Be consistent in your approach and reward good behavior. With patience and persistence, you can teach your American Wirehair to scratch only on the designated post and to stop scratching your furniture.

By following the techniques and tips outlined in this article, you can maintain a happy and harmonious relationship with your American Wirehair without sacrificing your furniture. Remember that positive reinforcement and consistency are key in training any cat.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why do American Wirehairs scratch furniture?

American Wirehairs scratch furniture to mark their territory, stretch their muscles, sharpen their claws, and relieve stress.

2. What type of scratching post is best for an American Wirehair?

The best type of scratching post for an American Wirehair is one that is tall enough for them to fully stretch, made of a rough material such as sisal or corrugated cardboard, and sturdy enough to not tip over.

3. Where should I place the scratching post?

The scratching post should be placed in a prominent location where the cat likes to scratch. It should also be positioned near the furniture that the cat is currently scratching.

4. How can I positively reinforce my cat to use the scratching post?

You can positively reinforce your cat to use the scratching post by rewarding them with treats, verbal praise, and playing with them in the area around the scratching post.

5. Should I punish my American Wirehair for scratching furniture?

No, punishment is not an effective way to train a cat and can cause them to become fearful or anxious. Instead, redirect their behavior towards a scratching post and reward them for using it.

6. How do I introduce my American Wirehair to a scratching post?

Introduce your cat to a scratching post by placing them near it when they are naturally inclined to scratch. Use a toy to play with them and get their paws on the post to encou