For most cat owners, the sight of their kitty scratching away at the furniture can be quite upsetting. Unfortunately, it is a common behavior that cats will do to sharpen their claws and mark their territory. While it may seem like there is no stopping your furry companion from causing irreversible damage to your furniture, there are some ways to try and deter this unwanted behavior.
Firstly, make sure you have proper scratching posts available that are tall enough for cats to stretch out while they scratch. These posts should also have different textures so that cats can choose what they find more appealing. Cat trees with multiple scratching posts and platforms are great too - not only do they give cats plenty of different places to scratch, but they also double as fun climbing structures that keep cats entertained and active.
To further discourage your cat from using furniture as a scratching spot, you can place double-sided tape or tin foil on the surfaces - both of which provide a sensation cats don't enjoy when they touch them with their paws. Consider sprinkling some citrus-scented oils on top of the adhesive material for extra deterrence. Cats tend to not like citrus scents.
You could also try plugging in pheromone diffusers or plug-ins near the affected areas. These devices release smells that mimic those that mother cats produce when nursing their young or marking areas as safe spots for their kittens - calming scents for cats that can help reduce stress and anxiety levels which can lead to destructive behaviors such as scratching furniture.
You could also consider trimming your cat's nails regularly to reduce the amount of damage caused by scratching. Either purchase nail trimmers and do it yourself or take your cat along to get it done professionally at the vet or groomer if you feel uncomfortable doing it yourself. It's important to remember though that even if you trim down kitty's nails, they still need regular opportunities to scratch since it's an instinctual behavior for them - make sure those outlets are available in appropriate places!
Finally, make sure you're paying attention when your cat is exhibiting signs of wanting to scratch something - whether it's rubbing against objects with its face or pawing at things around the house - and redirect its attention away from unauthorized areas towards designated scratching posts instead (with treats as incentives if necessary). Providing positive reinforcement each time kitty uses an approved surface will help establish good habits over time and remind them where they should be scratching instead of getting into mischief!