Scratching is a natural activity for cats so clawing on household furniture and furnishings is not destructive behaviour in their point of view. It’s natural for them and it is their way of keeping their claws in shape and it’s also a way of communicating territory boundaries to other cats and animals. Clawing leaves visual and scent markings on the object. Scratching is also a source of exercise for cats, by doing this they stretch and retract their shoulders, legs and paws.
By following these steps it may be possible to protect your furniture and other household items:
Be patient and understanding. Cats love their human companions and will try their best to please them once they know they have support and are praised. Overtime with a fair amount of repeated practice your cat will learn to leave the furniture alone and find alternatives to scratch on.
Purchase at least one scratching post or other apparatus. When purchasing any scratching post consider a few things first; look for one that is the same height as your cat and not too heavy, make sure it’s sturdy so that it wouldn’t topple over when your cat puts pressure or leans on it. Some cats prefer a horizontal scratching area like a carpet so place the scratching post in a way to match your cat likeness, this way they will be more likely to use it. Whatever you choose, avoid anything fluffy. A scratching post is usually like a tree bark, rough and coarse.
Where to place your cat’s scratching post. You must have an idea of all the furniture and household items your cats like to scratch so place the scratching post next to these items. If your cat scratches more than one item it may be best to have more than one scratching post, especially if you have more than one cat or if you live in a large house. Placing the scratching post next to the cat’s favorite sofa or chair will make it even more enticing.
Train your cat to use the scratching post. Like anything else your cat will find this to be a strange object so you will have to show your cat how to use it. Whenever you see your cat scratching any furniture, gently place him in front or on the scratching post depending on the position it is in. Gently stroke your cat until he responds to the post. Every time your cat uses the scratching post praise him with gentle strokes or a treat.
You can also use a cat scratching board that can be placed directly onto the furniture which will prevent your sofa from being destroyed. Again, this may be a strange object to your cat and he may not know what it’s used for. A quick trick will be to apply a little catnip onto the scratching board and this will help with your cat getting acquainted with it.
Hope this helps!