Cats scratch – there’s no way around it. They also like to be in high places, such as your countertops. As his human companion, it is up to you to devise ways to teach him what is off limits. Using textures that he doesn’t like is a good start.
When kitty sticks his mitts onto something sticky, he’ll immediately remove his paw from the offending substance with an accompanying look of distaste, and likely try to shake it off. Several products with sticky sides are sold at pet supply stores. These usually are double-sided tape products that adhere to furniture or other items so that when kitty places his paws on the item to scratch, his paw get sticky and she decides there’s a better option elsewhere.
Most cats don’t like the sound or the feel of aluminum foil. They find the crinkly noise unpleasant and the texture of the foil, smooth, cold and shiny, is not their first choice for sitting or scratching. Some don’t mind it though, and have been known to curl up on a sheet, so you’ll have to try it on your own cat. If your kitty finds foil not to his liking, a month of placing it where you don’t want him to go should be long enough to retrain him.
Plastic is another smooth texture that doesn’t appeal to cats for scratching purposes. Cats scratch to sharpen their claws and to leave their scent, and they can’t really sink them into plastic. They especially dislike slippery vinyl plastic and plastic car mats with the nubby side up.
This soft, smooth synthetic material is polar opposite of the texture cats like to scratch. It is also tough, durable and hard to shred. While it won’t work to keep kitty off your countertops, a microfiber sofa is a good choice for pet owners because in addition to its undesirability as a scratching post, hair doesn’t get embedded in its smooth surface, and it is easy to clean.
Leslie Darling has been a writer since 2003, writing regularly for "Mississippi Magazine" and "South Mississippi Living," specializing in food and wine, animals and pets, and all things Southern. She is a graduate of the University of New Orleans.