Stop scratching without declawing

 Prevent damage to your couch and carpets with humane alternatives

Provide an outlet. Buy a cardboard scratching pad ($7; or a tall, sisal rope-covered post (available at pet stores). Felines have a natural urge to mark their territory, stretch their muscles and sharpen their claws. These objects can fulfill your kitty’s needs.

Introduce the item correctly. Don’t pick up your cat and force it to use the post or pad. Make the gadget enticing by sprinkling it with catnip or dangling a feather wand toy above it. She’ll pounce and discover it herself.

Clip or cap its nails. Ask your vet how to trim your cat’s nails. Or try plastic caps called Soft Claws ($22 for 40 caps; at PetSmart or Petco), which slide on over your pet’s nails and prevent damage to surfaces your cat may scratch.