The Cat Owner’s Survival Guide for Wicker Furniture

© Ivonne Wierink

Having a pet, and especially a cat, comes with numerous joys and benefits; from a furry companion to a source of stress relief, cats never fail to bring a smile to your face. Unless, of course, your cat is in the process of shredding your prized wicker furniture — a sight that no cat owner wants to come home to.

Cats are well known for scratching any available surface; they do this to sharpen their claws as well as gain some exercise and mark their territory, and wicker furniture serves this purpose better than most because of the natural material and rough surface. Many cat owners give up hope, believing that they can’t have a cat without sacrificing their wicker furniture. However, this does not have to be the case! Take a look at these four ways to protect wicker furniture from the scratching claws of cats, while keeping your pets happy at the same time.


1. Furniture Covers

Investing in covers for your wicker furniture can protect it from scratches, as well as other forms of deterioration.

For outdoor furniture that is placed in your patio or backyard, covers can shield the wicker from cats that venture outdoors as well as from sun, wind, and rain damage. Design Furnishings offers covers for each of their wicker furniture products, so you can order as many as you need. You can take off the covers when the cats are being kept inside!

If you have indoor wicker furniture, you can cover it with plastic sheets or fitted covers; since the smooth material does not provide much traction for cats, they tend to avoid it, and your furniture will be safe. You can try different materials until you find one that is especially unappealing to your cat.


2. Deterrents

If you don’t want to cover your wicker furniture completely, you can try methods that deter your cat from scratching it; these can come in several forms.

One deterrent is to train your cat to avoid the wicker furniture by using a simple squirt gun or spray bottle filled with water; every time your cat approaches the furniture, spray your pet with water. Cats find this unpleasant and will soon learn not to come near the wicker, as they will associate the location with the sensation of being sprayed with water.

If you are not sure that you can catch your cat every time he/she comes near the wicker furniture, you can try using an automated deterrent; this device uses a motion sensor to determine when the cat is on or near the furniture, and emits a loud noise to scare the cat. As with the water, cats will associate this location with the unpleasant noise, and will avoid it.

You can also purchase a deterrent spray that has the same effect, but without the noise; simply spray the substance onto your furniture, and cats will avoid it due to the unpleasant smell. You will have to repeat sprays several times, but eventually, cats will learn to avoid the area.


3. Claw Covers

If you cannot stop your cat from scratching by using deterrents, you can try allowing your cat to scratch, but in a way that does not damage your furniture. One way to do this is with claw covers, small plastic pieces that slip on over your pet’s claws and attach with pet-safe glue.

Claw covers can be purchased at any pet store or online, and last for about six weeks; after that, you will have to trim your cat’s claws and attach another set. Claw covers are a humane alternative to declawing your cat, which is considered by many to be a cruel practice that harms the animal.


4. Scratching Posts

Ultimately, one way to address the problem of cats scratching wicker furniture is to understand why they do it; the reasons can include a need to stretch out, an instinct to sharpen claws, or a desire to mark their territory. Cats also need to have some way to wear away their claws, which otherwise can grow too long and harm the paws.

In order to satisfy these needs, you can provide your pet with an alternative source for satisfying his or her scratching needs, such as a scratching post or other cat furniture. When cats have a way to relieve their tension through scratching, they will be less focused on shredding wicker furniture.

This method is best when used in combination with another of the methods listed above, as cats may still be drawn to wicker even with another source of scratching present. At the same time, cats should always be provided with a harmless way to scratch; this allows the other methods, such as deterrents, to be much more effective.