Scratching is a normal and necessary behavior for cats. Scratching allows them to shed the outer layer of their claws, mark their territory (cats have scent glands on the pads of their feet and when they scratch they leave their scent behind as their way of saying "this is my territory") and provides a great way for them stretch out their muscles. Scratching is such an instinctive behavior in cats that even cats who have been declawed scratch on a regular basis.
Of course, knowing that scratching is a normal part of cat behavior is all well and good and does nothing to prevent you from tearing your hair out when your cat is using your couch as his favorite scratching post. Here are some tips for keeping your cat happy and your furniture and drapes intact. First, keep your cat's nails trimmed to help blunt damage to the furniture.
Second, provide your cat with a good quality scratching post. This is frequently the easiest and cheapest solution to solving the scratching problem. Quality scratchers are easy to come by, and can cost as little as $12-16 dollars. Offer your cat two or three quality cat scratchers and make sure they're well positioned! Cats love to scratch right after they wake up from a nap, so it is a good idea to put a scratcher near where your cat likes to sleep.
Third, use a harmless deterrent like Sticky Paws on your furniture. These simple steps will save your furniture and greatly improve your relationship with your cat.
Tara Nemeth is the Director of Field Development for Petlane, a pet product company offering the best toys, treats, gifts, and health and safety items for dogs, cats and birds. People, pets and pet products are Tara's passions. She lives in California with her husband and her 6 year old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Jade. She invites you to visit her website at http://www.petlane.com