Scratching is a natural behavior for cats but unfortunately it can ruin your furniture. The first thing to do is give the cat a scratching post of its own. Scratching posts are essential for a cat's well being: A good stretch and scratch tones up the muscles and keeps the claws in trim by stripping off the outer layers and sharpening them up. The blissful look on your cats face as it claws stretch and pull show you how deeply ingrained and how necessary the scratching behavior is.Out of doors a cat will usually find its own scratching place but inside a scratching post is essential. Some of the posts in shops are too small. They should be at least 30 in high so that the cat can reach its full height. Some manufacturers make posts that stretch from floor to ceiling.
You can also make your own scratching post by gluing a piece of high quality carpet to a piece of wood. This can then be fixed to the wall. A concealed corner is a good spot. You could even wrap sisal rope closely round a table leg. If you are using a scratching post position the post in front of the favorite area for scratching and rub some dried catnip into it as an extra incentive. As the cat gets used to the post start moving it towards its permanent position. If the cat then uses the post and your favorite chair you will have to employ deterrent methods. The simplest is to wrap a piece of plastic around the corner as cats dislike the feel of plastic under their paws. If the fabric will take it an alternative is a couple of strips of double sided sticky tape which are guaranteed to discourage your cat.
A more elaborate method is the balloon method. Buy a packet of balloons and sit on the floor blowing them up. The cat will soon come over to see what you are doing. Once it begins to sniff at the balloon burst one in front of it. Repeat this couple of times until the cat realizes they are bad news then attaches a couple of them to the scratched area of furniture. The cat will walk around them warily and you can remove them after a week or two when the habit has been broken. Any of the deterrent methods may have to be reinforced from time to time if the cat goes back to his old ways.
Kathy is an Health lecturer in a college in the UK. Here she lectures on Human Health, Animal Health and Behavior [http://www.YourDogMyCat.com]