Your cat is scratching up your fine furniture and you want it to stop. Cats typically scratch as a means for marking their territory. This is a natural instinct that not only leaves claw marks but leaves their own special scent on the scratched item. This is why they scratch the areas of your home that are easily accessible. Scratching is also a form of exercise that helps to keep the cat in shape. If you watch your cat when it is scratching you will notice that he is stretching his muscles. This stretching also pulls and works the cat’s muscles.
There are several options available to help you to get your cat from using your furniture for marking his territory. Physical punishment is not one of the ways to teach him to stop scratching. Hitting your cat just doesn’t work and may cause him to scratch more because he doesn’t understand why he is being hit and it might make him insecure.
The first thing you need to do is to provide your cat with an appropriate place to scratch. There are many different types of scratching posts available. You’re sure to find one that your cat will like. Cats usually don’t like the soft and pretty scratching posts, they usually like the kind that are coarse and can be shredded to pieces. Whichever scratching post you choose your cat should be able to fully extend its body. You also want one that is stable, if it falls over your cat may not go back to it.
Getting your cat to choose the scratching post instead of your furniture will take time and effort. Remember that your cat is marking his territory so you will need to place the scratching post in the area where he has been scratching, not hidden in some out of the way corner. As your cat gets used to the post you can slowly move it to a corner of the room. You can encourage him to use the post by feeding him around the post and playing around it as well. Putting catnip on the post or tying a toy to it will also encourage him to scratch on the post. Rewarding your cat with a treat every time that you see him using the post is a great way to get him to use the post instead of your furniture. If you have trouble getting him to give up its old scratching areas there are ways to discourage him. You can put aluminum foil or double-sided tape over the areas where he scratches. This discourages him because he doesn’t like the feel of the foil or the tape. You can also trim his claws so that they don’t do much damage. Claw trimming is a two person job, however, and will have to be repeated eventually.
If you are starting out with a kitten, then you have an easier task ahead of you. It is much easier to create a good habit than to try and correct a bad habit. From the very start show your cat the place where you want him to be scratching. Use the methods that were mentioned above to make the scratching post attractive to your kitten. Don’t make him scratch the post. Cats really don’t think they need any help in knowing where to scratch.