How to Fix the Worst Cat Behavior Problems

The old saying goes that nobody owns a cat—the cat owns you. Sometimes that means you can have trouble getting your cat to listen to you. Here are some of the worst cat behavior problems—from scratching to refusing to use the litter box—and how to easily fix them!

Bruce and Jeanne Lubin
2-minute read

Get a Cat to Stop Scratching Furniture

Cats like to keep their claws sharp, and unfortunately for humans, they seem to think furniture is one of the best things to sharpen it on. To keep your kitties from digging their claws into furniture, walls, or anything else, swipe a bit of VapoRub on their favorite scratching targets. Cats hate the cough medicine’s mentholated smell and they won’t get within a sniff’s distance. You can also try applying straight hot sauce and buffing thoroughly. For upholstery, try a mixture of 2 teaspoons cinnamon and 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper in a spray bottle full of water (just make sure to test in an inconspicuous are to make sure it won’t stain first!).

Keep Your Cat from Scratching Your Bed

If your bed’s box spring is what your cat likes to scratch, try putting a fitted sheet made of sateen over it. The silky material won’t feel as fun to scratch as the covering on the box spring, and your cat will soon find something else to scratch (hopefully his scratching post!).

Keep Cats Away from Houseplants

If your cat is nibbling on your houseplant—or worse, using its soil as a secondary litter box, here’s a tip you need: Simply scatter some coffee grounds on top of the soil. Cats hate the scent and go cause trouble elsewhere! Just be careful: While coffee grounds are, for the most part, good for your plants, too much of them can cause the soil to become too acidic. Another remedy we’ve heard about is using dried thyme instead of coffee grounds.

Make Cats Stay Away from a Sandbox

One of the worst things you can discover in the backyard is that your outdoor cat has (once again) used your garden or kids’ sandbox as his litter box! To keep him away (as well as bugs like ants and millipedes) mix a cup or two of ground cinnamon with the dirt sand. Your cat will hate the scent and stay away.

Get Your Cat to Go in the Litter Box Again

Your cat seems to have taken a vacation from the litter box, and you’re finding unpleasant surprises in interesting places like the bathtub. To fix this problem, try placing a bowl of food in the places where you’ve found those surprises. Cats don’t do their business in the same place that they eat, so she’ll hopefully find her way back to the litter box. If not, call your vet to make sure she’s not suffering from any health problems.

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Photo by Who Knew?

About the Author

Bruce and Jeanne Lubin

Bruce Lubin and Jeanne Bossolina-Lubin are the proud parents of three boys and more than a dozen books. After saving thousands per year using everyday tips and simple lifehacks, they started their own business in the hopes of sharing their knowledge with others. They have been known to go into their friends' refrigerators to turn their eggs upside down so that they last longer.