Cats will scratch their claws on what's available, so give them options. Cats love scratching things. It’s part of their natural behavior patterns. And honestly, it’s not a thing you want to stop. Scratching gives cats an outlet for their excess energy and helps them stay healthy and happy. However, there’s a big difference between appropriate scratching and ruining your new IKEA couch. Cat owners have suffered this dilemma for years, with many opting to simply declaw their cats to get rid of the behavior altogether. Scratching is important. Cats do it to flex and to remove dead layers of claw. Instead of trying to stop the scratching, it’s better to redirect your cat to proper scratching behavior. First, pay attention to the things your cat likes to scratch. Most cats enjoy textures but every cat will have his own unique preferences. Next, invest in a few appropriate scratching items (scratch posts, for example) that mimic those materials. Often cats scratch up furniture because they have nothing else to scratch.
Corregated fiberboard scratchpads can satisfy your kitty's scratching urges. A few scratching posts around the house can make a big difference in your cat’s behavior. If you catch your cat scratching up the couch or another inappropriate object, make a loud noise to startle the cat and then redirect it to an appropriate scratching item. Do not ever punish your cat for behavior that isn’t actively occurring; yelling at your cat for something he did an hour ago will only frighten and confuse him. The end goal is simple: Teach your cat that scratching the post is awesome and scratching the couch is bad. Simple positive reinforcement is all it takes, just like potty training a dog. With supervision, the right tools, and consistency in your approach, your cat will eventually learn to scratch appropriate objects and stop shredding your belongings. A final note: Considering declawing your cat? Please don't.
As explained on WebMD by Drew Weigner, an Atlanta veterinarian and a past president of the Academy of Feline Medicine, to declaw a cat "you have to remove the claw, and you have to remove the little piece of bone that the claw grows from. If you don’t, the claw will try to grow back...So it’s like cutting the tip of your finger off."