To understand why our beloved cats scratch we first need to understand what their sharp claws are for. They do not intentionally scratch furniture to annoy us or to cause damage.
Cats have retractable claws to allow them to balance, turn, run, climb, jump and defend themselves with sheer accuracy. An alternative to declawing or re-homing your favorite friend is simply teaching them the rules of the house.
There are a few simple techniques that are proven to work in regards to this ongoing dilemma.
First, invest in one or more cat scratching posts or cat trees covered in either ropes or carpet. Once you have acquired the posts or houses rub a bit of catnip on them to lure your kitty to them so they will know it is ok to investigate.
You may even need to take their paw and do a scratching motion or scratch on it yourself to show them how it works. When they go back to the furniture, which at first they will, pick the post up and put it infront of the furniture where they were scratching.
Secondly, try double sided tape. It may sound incredible, but it does work. Cats despise anything sticky on the pads of their feet. When they go to claw the furniture and feel the tape they will immediately stop. However, you will need to replace the tape as it is pulled down from time to time.
If both of the above fail another option is to use a water spray gun. When your feline friend goes for the furniture, simply say ‘No’ in an authoritative voice and squirt them once on the rear end with the water gun. Do Not spray them in the face as it is very easy for a kitty to lose their breath for a second if this is done.
If practised with consistency and authority your new scratching friend will soon be a non-scratcher in no time. The key is not giving up! It will not happen overnight, but it can be taught. Good Luck!