Step One: Understand the problem
There are many reasons that cats scratch. If you can understand just why your cat scratches then it may be easier to find a solution.
Step Two: Be prepared for scratching
Since scratching is part of the feline natural repertoire of behaviour, you are not going to be able to stop it. Instead you need to direct it on to something more appropriate than your furniture.
So, if you don't already have some, purchase some scratching posts.
You can approach this problem in two ways:
1. Take your cat to their scratching post at times they are likely to need to scratch - on waking, after a meal, after a play session or every hour or so.
2. Wait for your cat to use the post and reward them with your attention "Good cat!" or a treat when they do.
Most of all, be patient!
Step Three: Be ready
Owners often place the cat scratching post where they would like it to live, usually in the corner, perhaps in a room they don't even use. Guess what - your cat doesn't use the scratching post!
You need to place the scratching post where your cat likes to scratch. This will often be where your cat enters the room, where guests sit or where belongings are placed when you arrive home. This is where unusual scents have gathered and your cat scratches near them to cover this scent with their own.
If you do not wish your cat scratching post to be located in this area you can gradually move it towards your desired area, once your cat is in the habit of using it. Otherwise choose a cat scratching post design that you are willing to live with.
If you have precious areas of your home or pieces of furniture that you do not wish your cat to scratch and you cannot be there to supervise your cat, close the door.
Punishment vs reward
If you punish your cat for scratching, you are punishing their natural behaviour This makes no sense to a cat. They need to scratch. They will continue to scratch, probably on your furniture.
Instead you need to provide appropriate scratching places and reward your cat when they scratch these.
About cat scratching posts
Cat scratching materials
There are three types of cat scratching materials:
Cat scratching post shapes & styles
Many different types are produced and some cats will have a preference for one or more types. Others will scratch anything. A few choose not to scratch any! Available types include: