The first thing you need to understand is that scratching is normal cat behavior.

It isn’t done to destroy a favorite chair or to get even. Cats scratch to remove the dead husks from their claws, mark territory, and stretch their muscles. Here’s a cheat sheet of solutions from this article for you to clip and keep:

1. For items resistant to staining: Citrus sprays or scents; chopped chili mixed with water and used as a spray

2. Do-scratch mats and posts placed near items you don’t want scratched

3. Sisal (or fake sisal) rugs and cheap woven mats as “do-scratch” mats

4. Scratching posts placed all over the house (added bonus: many makers of such items donate part of their proceeds to animal causes and/or shelters)

5. Treats and rewards for when Kitty scratches the right thing

6. Cheap slipcovers for expensive furniture

7. Weekly trims for kitty’s toenails (always cut only at the end and never cut anywhere near the red part of the nail!)

8. Why not try using a squirt gun filled with water? You just spray Kitty every time s/he scratches something inappropriate.

9. Ask your vet about the rubber or soft plastic caps that can be attached to Kitty’s claws to keep him or her from scratching inappropriately.

This story appeared in Animal Scene’s March 2015 issue.