Cats scratch for a variety of reasons, on of which is plain enjoyment. Scratching also provides an outlet for your cat to mark her territory. There are glands in her paws that leave her scent behind when she scratches. Scratching also keeps her claws in shape. Overgrown, neglected claws can get snagged in carpet and cause pain or injury.
So, instead of trying to make her stop, redirect your cat toward more suitable scratching outlets. You’ll save your furniture and keep your cat happy.
Punishment is not a solution. A cat’s urge to scratch is too strong. If you punish your cat, she will most likely wait to claw your furniture until you are not around. And there is a good chance that she will be afraid of you. Instead, provide your cat her own scratching furniture. Congratulate her each time she sharpens her claws on it. She will quickly learn that the couch belongs to you , but that nice block of wood or carpeted scratching post is one hundred percent her property to shred.
Scratching is a wonderful form of exercise for a cat. It works and stretches her front legs and manicures her claws. If your cat goes outside and likes to climb, a good scratching post inside can help her get ready for the big tree hunt. If she is an indoor cat, it is recommended to put up a cat gym to facilitate appropriate climbing as well. It will very likely save your furniture for being treated like trees.
Indoor cats should have at least one acceptable outlet for her scratching desires. Scratching posts are sold in pet and department stores and can be relatively inexpensive. Be sure to pick one that is secure. it should have a sturdy base or be heavy enough so that it won’t tip over. If it topples or sways under her pull, she won’t use it again. The post should be tall enough to allow her to fully extend, so that she can stretch. Its surface should not be substantially different in texture from the fabric of your furniture or living room rug. Many cats enjoy posts covered in sisal which is a thick natural fiber rope. Sisal shreds into a fine mess, which means you’ll have to do some sweeping up, but your cat will be very happy.
You can make your own scratching post or surface by wrapping sisal around a block of wood and attaching it to a base or wall. You can also duct tape or staple an old piece of carpet to the wall or a door frame. if the cat has already started destroying a section of the wall, you can cover the space with a nice rectangle of carpeting and she will most likely love the addition.
Many cats will recognize a scratching post without any help from you. Other cats may need a little coaxing. To teach your cat to use the scratching post, you can:
-spend your playtime by the post and attach toys to it. Play chase the string up and around it so her claws dig in and she can experience it by accident.
-rub some catnip onto the new post
-place the post near her sleeping area. When she wakes up, she has a suitable spot for her full body scratching stretches.
-add your scent to the post by mock scratching it yourself that will show her interest in the new structure. Do not pick up her paws and show her what to do. She will find that quite insulting.