Why do cats scratch furniture?

Cats will often scratch furniture if you haven't declawed your cat. This is an instinctual way to sharpen their claws and mark their territory. This can result in shredded sofas and unsightly scratches along the legs of any furniture. Cats will also scratch leather furniture, depending on the cat, so that's not a way out. What can you do to stop your cat from scratching the furniture?

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First, get a water spray bottle and spray the cat once every time you catch it scratching. Make sure you get him in the act - don't see a scratch and then go find the cat and spray him. Yell "NO" very loudly at the cat. Don't hit it or do anything else. The goal is to associate water and loud noise with scratching - that's why it has to be done either during the scratching or immediately after. Cats hate both sudden noise and being sprayed with water, so it's a safe way to discipline the cat. Second, you can look at alternatives to declawing. There are some little plastic sheaths you can buy to stick on the cat's claws on that page. Get those, and your cat won't be able to damage the furniture with them on. That will let you train the cat using the spray method without having to let your furniture get scratched up - the cat will still scratch at it, but it won't make any marks. Keep spraying and saying "NO" anyway and the cat will learn not to do it - then you can stop messing with the sheaths.   

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