Last Updated on: April 3, 2023 by Crystal Uys
Cats love to climb, and it’s deeply rooted in their feline DNA. In my experience, cats will climb just about anything to enjoy a bit of vertical fun. For whatever reason, curtains seem to attract feline attention regularly. Some cats limit themselves to using thick curtains as an occasional extra scratching surface, but others enjoy indulging in a good climb. If you have a feline curtain climber at home, you may wonder if you can do anything to convince your cat to stop.
Cats climb out of instinct, so the best way to move your cat away from curtain climbing is to provide them with an appropriate way to engage with the world as they naturally would. Below I’ll review four possible ways to stop your cat from climbing the curtains.
Why Do Cats Climb Curtains?
To change your cat’s behavior, it’s essential to understand why they climb curtains, to begin with. Cats are natural climbers. In the wild, kitties climb trees to survey the area for prey and danger. They also use vertical spaces to rest and relax, as being up high allows them to quickly see danger and react while the problem is still relatively far off.
While we may find the damage kitties do when scaling the heights of our curtains irritating, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with cats who climb things—they’re fulfilling a natural feline need. The best way to convince cats to stop climbing curtains is to give them a more attractive way to meet the same need. Many cats will happily pivot to napping in cat trees or exploring mounted cat shelves if given the opportunity (perhaps nudged in that direction with a few tasty treats).
Punishment doesn’t work and often results in stressed-out and confused cats who don’t understand what’s expected. Without alternative activities, cats don’t have the physical resources required to meet their basic needs, which can lead to stress and anxiety. Keep reading to learn more about steps you can take that may reduce your cat’s curtain climbing.
My 4 Tips to Stop Cats From Climbing Curtains:
1. Provide Vertical Alternatives
My favorite way to handle this problem is to introduce fun alternatives to appropriately fulfill your pet’s need for a bit of vertical fun. Cat shelves and trees are excellent products since they give pets places to hang out and keep tabs on things. With just a few cat shelves and a hammock, you can create an outstanding play and relaxation area where your cat can jump, climb, and relax.
Cat shelves, in particular, are an affordable DIY option (great for a Sunday afternoon project!); look for designs that are wide enough for your cat to comfortably rest and select materials that can safely hold your cat’s weight. If you’re in the mood to treat your cat to something spectacular, consider purchasing a catio that attaches directly to your window to give them a nice perch from which to watch outdoor activities.
2. Invest in Scratchers
Cats often enjoy digging their claws into thick curtains, which can lead to climbing if they’re having a good time. Scratching is another one of those activities firmly rooted in your cat’s DNA. Cats have scent glands in their paws and often scratch to mark their territory and provide information about themselves. They also do it to keep their claws sharp and healthy.
Scratching posts and horizontal scratchers provide felines with less destructive ways to meet their need to unfurl their claws. You can look for products with different textures to give them options; some cats adore the feel of cardboard, and others can’t resist carpet. Put a version of your cat’s favorite scratcher in the room with the curtains you’d prefer your pet to avoid, so they don’t have to go far to enjoy a good scratch.
3. Reduce Accessibility
Some cats don’t respond at first when provided with alternatives, so it often helps to make it difficult for your cat to get to the curtains. Tying back heavy curtains discourages some cats from climbing as much. If your buddy insists on climbing the curtains after you’ve pulled them back, calmly remove them and move on.
Consider adding an extra treat or two to the cat tree or other place you’d prefer them to hang out. But let your pet gravitate there on its own. Reward your companion with treats and praise when you see them investigating their new vertical playground or hanging out in their new cat tree.
4. Make the Area Unpleasant
Another trick I recommend trying is using unpleasant smells and textures to make your curtains unattractive to your cat. Cats intensely dislike certain smells, including citrus and certain varieties of Irish Spring soap. Consider spritzing your drapes with a product designed to deter feline interest. Many cats dislike the feel of tape and aluminum foil and will take active steps to avoid walking over either product.
Placing tin foil or tape in the areas your pet uses to access the curtains and the spaces immediately around the drapes may reduce the total enjoyment your cat gets from the activity, increasing the likelihood they’ll naturally begin gravitating towards the fun catnip-laced alternative you’ve provided.
You can convince your cat to practice its truly incredible climbing skills in ways that don’t involve your curtains. It’s sometimes as simple as providing cats with a more enjoyable alternative that meets their physical and social needs.
Because cats are predators and prey, they often feel most comfortable when perched high above everything, where they can keep an eye on the world. Giving cats alternative ways to enjoy the heights often helps reduce curtain climbing.
Featured image credit: Inga Gedrovicha, Shutterstock
Cat mom to Ivy – a feisty little rescue kitten that is her one and only child. For now! Throughout her life, she has been introduced to the special love that can be found in the bond with a cat. Having owned multiple felines, she is more than certain that their love is unmatched, unconditional and unlike any other. With a passion to educate the public about everything, there is to know about felines, their behavior, and their unique personalities, Crystal is devoted to making sure that all cats and their owners know the importance of conscious living – and loving!