One of a cat’s basic necessities in life is to scratch things. When they pull their nails through an object, they are not only trimming them, but they are also leaving behind their scent. This can be bad news for your furniture and while you can’t train your cat to stop this behavior, you can direct it to more appropriate objects.
If you own a kitten you must begin to train them NOW. Kittens are far more capable of learning what you like and what you don’t like and actually caring. Training a kitten not to scratch furniture is simple, you just give them the okay to scratch something of their own. If you live in a house or an apartment with many rooms, you will want to provide the kitten with a scratching item in every room where items can be ruined (bathrooms and bedrooms are usually okay to ignore). You will notice the kitten’s main room for wanting to scratch is the room that is most lived in by you. This is usually the family room or dining area.
You want to also peak their interest in the objects you want them to use. You can do this by putting catnip on each surface or regularly feeding them treats by this object. What you choose to offer your kitten is also important. There are many items out there to choose from such as carpeted scratching posts, cat trees, and cardboard pads. You will have to see which your kitten likes best. A kitten favorite seems to be the Turbo Scratcher with the cardboard center. These double as a play area and you only ever have to replace the center which will save you money in the long run.
As for training an adult cat, the same rules apply, only this time you will have to keep them away from the furniture until they willingly to only use their items. Offer your cat a scratching place in every room just as you would for a kitten. Peak their interest with catnip and treats. To keep your cat away from the things you do not want them scratching can take time, it certainly does not need to cost a lot of money though. Felines naturally hate the smell of citrus fruit. To keep your cat away from your sofa or whatever it is they are scratching, simply use a fresh lemon squeezed in half a cup of water. Lightly mist the area every other day until your cat no longer goes to it to scratch. If your furniture is sensitive to bleaching, using double-sided tape or Sticky Paws Furniture Strips is an option that works well for most cats.
If you think declawing your cat will solve the problem, I encourage you to reconsider. This can not only lead to behavioral problems but cause physical harm to your cat. Read Declawed: Peeing Outside The Litter Box for more information.