Cats need to scratch. They have retractable claws, which means there is a sheath within their paws that the claws retract into. They need to regularly shed these sheaths so that new claws can grow, which is one of the reasons that scratching is so necessary for them. Another reason cats have such an urge to scratch is that there are scent glands located in their paw pads, so when they scratch an object, they are essentially identifying it as their own personal property. Scratching also provides necessary exercise for a cat’s paws, and it usually also gives them a full-body stretch.
One of the best ways to keep your cat from scratching everything in sight is to provide him with a scratching post or kitty condo. Placing the post near your cat’s bed is a great idea, because cats love a good stretch when they first wake up, and a scratching post can provide both a stretch and some scratching for your kitty. Most cats will make multiple daily visits to their scratching posts.
Even with a scratching post, some cats will still scratch the furniture. So how can you put an end to this bad habit? Some cats just need more options, so try providing multiple scratching posts in different locations throughout your home. You can also try varying the type of scratching post (cardboard, carpet, etc.). If your cat doesn’t seem particularly interested in using his scratching post, try putting some catnip on it or dangling a toy from it. You might even need to physically place your cat’s paws on the post and show him how great it feels to use it.
If all else fails, try covering an often-scratched furniture piece with a thin sheet of plastic or some double-sided tape in the spots your cat most frequently scratches. Cats dislike the feel of these materials and may stop scratching there rather than touch the plastic or tape.