If your cat has been using your furniture or door trim to scratch, you can use a cat scratching deterrent to modify this behavior. Many experts recommend trying options other than declawing to deal with scratching, and the best deterrents can do the trick.
Natural Cat Scratching Behavior
Scratching is a natural behavior for cats. They do it for a couple of reasons. First of all, cats have glands between their toes. When a cat scratches something, this effectively marks the territory. In nature, a cat will scratch a tree trunk or some other item to leave its scent and let other cats know that the territory is taken.
Cats also scratch as a natural way to groom their nails. As they scratch, old cells are shed and the nails are naturally trimmed. When a cat does this outside, it isn't necessarily a problem. It isn't until a cat has completely shredded the arms of your favorite chair that the scratching becomes something that needs to be dealt with.
Finally, cats scratch to stretch and exercise.
Scratching is instinctive, so you will never be able to keep your cat from scratching things, but you can keep her from scratching important items with the following tips.
Offer an Alternative
You will probably need to try more than one cat scratching deterrent in order to find which one works best for you. Basically, you are looking for something your cat prefers to your chairs since she will use what appeals to her the most.
Cat Scratching Posts
Cats prefer scratching at rough bark, wood and things with texture, so make sure that any scratching post you choose is covered in something your cat will like. Sisal, burlap and carpet are all good choices.
The post or cat tree should be at least two and a half feet tall, or tall enough for the cat to fully stretch her body against it. It should be firmly affixed to a stable platform. Your cat will eventually shred any fabric used on the post, but you should not replace it. Cats prefer cottage chic.
Rugs for Scratching
A rug can be perfect for your cat's need to scratch. The back side of a rug is usually attractive to your cat. You can often get discontinued carpet samples from flooring stores for a very low price or even for free. Just make sure the scratching rug is always kept in the same place so your cat doesn't confuse it with the rest of your carpeting.
Other Cat Scratch Deterrents
If you can't get your cat to stop scratching items that she shouldn't, you can try covering her inappropriate scratching places with a scent or a texture that she doesn't like.
Double Stick Tape
Cats do not like stickiness on their feet. You can stick rows of double stick tape to the arms of sofas and other areas where your cat likes to scratch. Often the feel of the tape will be enough to discourage scratching. You should eventually be able to stop applying the tape once she has learned her lesson.
Aluminum foil makes noise, and most cats don't care for the feel or the sound of it. Some plastics or cellophane will also work. Cover off-limit areas with one of these deterrents to train your cat away from them.
You can deter your cat from scratching if you can catch her in the act and squirt her with either a spray bottle of water or the stream from a water gun. However, you'll need to be quick and persistent to make this deterrent effective on a long-term basis.
Spraying citrus scents on the areas that you don't want your cat to scratch may also keep your pet from tearing up your furniture. Cats dislike the smell of citrus.
Punishment Doesn't Work
One thing to be aware of is that punishing your cat by swatting or yelling will not work. Your cat is not scratching due to bad behavior or a discipline problem. Scratching is an instinct, and you can't discipline instinct out of your cat.
By using textures your cat likes on the areas that you want her to scratch and using textures and scents that she doesn't like on the areas you want her to stay away from, you can encourage her to scratch in areas where she is permitted to carry out her natural urges..