I firmly believe it’s possible to train cats not to scratch furniture. I’ve trained mine by providing nearby alternatives for scratching and gently but firmly moving the kitty from the “NO” area to the “GOOD KITTY!” area. I hold their little paws up and make scratching motions with them on the good scratching area.
A few tips for making this work:
- Do not scare them by shouting, etc., when they scratch in the bad area. Just firmly say “NO,” move them to the good area, and then kindly show them what you expect of them. Try not to humiliate them too much.
- Make sure the new scratching area is something they will really like — a carpet-covered post, a sisal mat, a cardboard scratching box, a wooden milk crate or rough board. It needs some texture and should be something that will stay put and not slide across the floor. Rub some catnip into it.
- You can temporarily protect and discourage scratching on your furniture by covering it with aluminum foil or plastic tape.
- Be sure to be effusive when they use the new area. GOOD kitty!
- Remember that they’re not just sharpening their claws, they’re stretching their back muscles. It’s important and instinctive.
I promise you, this works. Luna was scratching the heck out of my cute little loveseat when I first got her — now, she has forgotten it’s there.