Cats love to scratch things. It removes the dead outer layer of their claws and keeps their claws sharp and conditioned. It’s a way for kitty to mark territory – cats have scent glands on their feet, and the scratching leaves a scent mark. Scratching also helps cats stretch while flexing their feet and claws.
Unfortunately, we humans don’t share the cat’s enthusiasm over scratching up the new sofa.
Observe in which rooms your cat likes to scratch, and on what. Then, substitute that object with something similar that’s okay for both you and the cat. For example corrugated cardboard, a log, or a carpeted post.
Cover the forbidden object in something cats don’t like, for example aluminum foil, cotton balls with perfume, or double-sided tape. Then, place the new and acceptable object close by.
Patience is key. Let your cat get used to the new acceptable object, and move it gradually – nor more than 1 inch every day – to a spot more suitable to you. The closer you can keep it to the cat’s preferred location, the bigger the chance this will work in the long run.
Keep the unappealing foil, tape, or cotton balls on the forbidden object until the cat has used the acceptable object in its right place for at least a month.
If you cat likes cat nip, looking for a scratching post with catnip hidden under the surface might help motivate him or her to use the “right” object for scratching.