Hi all! I have a kitty dilemma I’m hoping you can suggest some solutions for.

My cat’s approximately 3 years old, very smart and ornery and manipulative. He scratches my couch when he wants to get my attention. It doesn’t seem to be because he wants a place to scratch as a natural cat thing. He has a big scratching post and he knows what it’s for and does use it occasionally, like when he wakes up and stretches. Instead, when he’s being needy or just generally shitty, he scratches the couch; I believe he does it specifically because he knows it’s wrong and wants me to come stop him and then give him attention.

When we’re all out in the living room hanging out this isn’t a big deal because we either play with him (although sometimes he doesn’t want to play, so we honestly have no idea what he wants or needs from us and just wait for him to calm his shit) or just show him the anti-scratch spray and he backs off. He hates the spray, but it doesn’t do anything long term and hasn’t worked to associate a gross smell with the areas he likes to scratch.

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BUT at night when we are trying to sleep and he’s restless, he scratches the couch. It’s a catch-22 because if I go the totally ignoring him route, he destroys my couch. If I go out and placate him to get him to stop, he learns he can get what he wants that way.

We’ve done the double sided tape as well and it helped for the time it was up, but he was right back at it as soon as we took it off.

I keep his claws trimmed to minimize the damage and my solution thus far has been to cover the areas he likes to scratch with a blanket while we aren’t home or awake. Which works I guess, but I’m interested in a way to actually change the behavior.

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as a thank you in advance, here’s a shot of the little darling trying to help us pack the other week (we moved):