Scratching is a natural behavior for our feline friends, and furniture is a tempting target for their fabric-shredding claws. Save your furniture with these tricks.

Domesticated cats still have strong instincts from life in the wild. Despite your best efforts to curb them, attempting to stop a cat from scratching and climbing is a nearly impossible task. By taking a multi-prong approach to modifying their behavior, you can save your furniture and keep your cat healthy and happy. The following tips are ordered by ease of implementation; start at the top of the list and work down if earlier solutions haven’t fully solved the problem.

Provide Appropriate Scratching Surfaces

You will have absolutely zero success training your cat not to scratch your table legs or the arm of your couch if you don’t provide something appropriate the cat can scratch instead. An appropriate scratching surface for a cat has several important characteristics.

The most important characteristic is weight. If a scratching post or climbing tree feels wobbly or unsteady, the cat will almost always abandon using it. Make sure that any scratching post you intend to build or purchase will be stable enough to present a sturdy scratching surface. The scratching surface also needs to be at least tall enough for the cat to fully stretch itself out while scratching. In other words, a short scratching post will be ignored for the nice tall table leg. If you have the space, a scratching post should be tall and sturdy enough for your cat to also indulge its climbing instincts. While most cats prefer to stretch up and scratch, some are just as fond as stretching out horizontally. A flat scratching surface like this DIY cardboard scratching pad is ideal for those cats.