Cat scratching habits

Unfortunately it turned out that your favorite couch is also your cat’s favorite couch… to claw on….Most of  cat lovers got to experience this unpleasant  behaviour of the feline members.
Some people find this behaviour unbearable, therefore this is one of the most common reasons for surrendering cats to animals shelters.
Clawing by scratching animate objects is a part of a normal behaviour in cats. It is very important to remember that your cat does not scratch your furniture in order to spite you. They do that to sharpen their nails as a part of self grooming, mark their territory, to exercise, and yes, also out of pleasure. It would be unrealistic to expect your cat to stop scratching. You better accept the scratching as a part of your cat behaviour and try to guide it to scratch on legitimate items instead of on your furniture. In order to do that, you should supply your cat with an alternative options. Scratching post is your best bet. Some cats take after the post right away, others might need some training. I know,you won’t find the scratching post in home decoration magazines, and this is probably the last thing you want in your living room, but remember cats are social creatures. Because they use scratching to mark their territory I would place the scratching post in the common living area, preferably close to the area it is used to scratch on. The idea is to try to make the cat like and use the post. Different cats have different preferences. The post you choose should be tall enough for the cat the dig it’s claws in and to stretch. Cats tend to like it when there is a toy attached to the post and many cats adopt the post as their sleeping area. Avoid any fluffy posts, cats prefer rough and coarse consistency. Pet stores carry all kind of different posts. Buying more than one post, and placing them in different areas of the house, will increase the chances of your cat getting to like and use the posts. In order to make the post more inviting, you can rub some cat nip on it. Is in OK to place the cat on the post, but don’t
If your cat continues to scratch on your furniture you can try a few other methods. First, do not punish the cat. This will not help. The cat will continue scratching but not in front of you. Another way to try to break the habit is by placing an aluminium foil on the area. This makes the area not pleasant for scratching. Cats are also averted by citrus smell. Spraying the area with a citrus odor can help keeping the cat away. One more method I find successful is using a water spraying bottle to spray the cat every time it scratches the furniture. It is important that the cat will not associate the spraying with you. The idea is to associate scratching the furniture with a bad consequence that “comes out of nowhere”. This not a punishment.
Some cats are very stubborn. You are more likely to train the cat if you start from early age. It might be very difficult to break the habit in an older cat. In order to prevent the damage done by the nails you can apply soft plastic covers, that are glued on the cat’s nail. They should be replaced periodically depending on the cat’s nail growth rate. This should only be used on strictly indoors cats. Cats that are exposed to the outdoors need their nails for self defence.
Some people choose to surgically declaw their cat. This is a permanent drastic solution. This surgical procedure is very controversial and is not done by all vets. If performing this surgery crossed your mind, consult your veterinarian to learn all the aspects involved in this kind of procedure.
Protecting your furniture and other household items is not impossible but it may take a little effort and patience on your behalf. Perseverance and understanding that this process might take a while can lead to the desired harmony of sharing your home with your feline friend.