PetMd reports that the average cat sleeps 15 hours per day. Some even stretch it to 20 hours. Since felines enjoy comfortable places, soft furniture is a favorite resting place. Yet some human companions are not so keen on having the cat on the sofa. So how do you keep a cat off the furniture?
Should You Really Make a Big Deal About the Cat on the Couch?
There is more to keeping a cat off furniture than just preventing unsightly fur from attaching itself to the seat of your pants. Ctenocephalides felis, the cat flea, carries a variety of parasites that can affect humans.
As outlined by the University of Florida, flea eggs are initially laid on the host animal – the cat – but soon fall off to develop on the cat’s favorite pillow, sofa cushion or wherever else the animal likes to sleep. While these fleas do not actually infest humans, they do have the potential to transmit their parasites to them. Some of the diseases associated with the cat flea are the murine typhus and plague.
Keeping a cat off the furniture for this reason alone makes sense. Unfortunately, cats – unlike dogs – are rather resistant to obedience training. It behooves the feline companion’s owner to work with the cat’s nature rather than against its stubborn will and disposition.
From the Cat’s Perspective: Why Sleep on the Furniture?
Cats prefer comfortable sleeping quarters that are safe and quiet. Ohio State University experts note that cats are most vulnerable when they sleep. Thus, if there is a small dog or child in the household, the animal will seek out a resting place that is sufficiently high off the ground (or difficult to reach) so that curious pets and kids will not bother the cat. The sofa is a perfect location.
Tips and Tricks for Encouraging Feline Compliance
- Restrict access to target furniture early on in the cat’s life with you. If the cat favors the bed, keep the bedroom door closed.
- Offer cat condos and other elevated sleeping areas. In keeping with the cat’s need to be safely away from curious hands and creatures, a tall cat condo is more appealing than a low couch.
- Spray the cat with water or make a loud sound when it jumps on the furniture. Depending on the animal’s disposition, it will quickly make the connection between the behavior and the unwanted attention. Stubborn animals may refrain from jumping on furniture in your presence but continue the problem behavior in your absence.
- Sprinkle the target furniture with black pepper. The irritation to the nose discourages cats from resting on furniture sprinkled with pepper; of course, if you are not willing to vacuum the furniture every night, this is not a feasible solution.
- Spread aluminum foil over the furniture. Fanciers explains that cats do not like the sound and feel of the foil under their paws; spreading it over the couch or bed in your absence discourages some animals from persisting – if you can keep up the regimen for about a month.
- Apply double-sided tape to the items. Double-sided tape does not harm most fabrics but should not be used with wood furniture. Cats do not like getting their paws or fur stuck and will frequently jump down at the first inkling that there is something sticky on the couch. Unless you change the tape frequently, it will lose its stickiness and therefore its effectiveness as a deterrent.
The goal of keeping a cat off the furniture has spawned a cottage industry that manufactures sprays, static mats, vibration alarms and other gadgets to help feline aficionados train their animals. Frequently these items are a waste of money, especially with very obstinate pets that quickly discover work-arounds.