Human interests do not mesh quite well with the natural instincts of cats. For a case in point, cats scratch furniture. According to experts, it is possible to train your cats to not scratch, but it is important to understand that certain behaviours are very normal for cats and there are a few reasons behind the scratching behaviour.
Here are dos and don'ts when your cats scratch the furniture:
To remove old nail sheaths from the claws
To exercise and tone muscles
To relieve stress, frustration and boredom
To mark territory
Cats like to mark the entire territory as their own. Having scratching posts/pads in several places also allows you to experiment with types of posts/pads and see which ones your cats like best.
Be sure you place a scratching post/pad in a great location - a place that is central to your home. Scratching is also a form of territorial marking and it does make sense that cats need to carry out the action in a central location.
This is the best way to entice your cats to use the scratching post/pad and reinforce the behaviour in a positive way. Give your cats whatever they like such as praise, petting, or treats when they are scratching the pos/pad instead of your furniture.
Cats do not like to be held against their will. Not only are your cats not likely to learn how to use the post/pad, but they could also become fearful of it.
Cats do not respond well to negative reinforcement. Your cats could become more stressed out by your yelling.
One thing that experts want to stress is that you should not declaw your cats. It is very painful to cats and can cause arthritis, and because of the pain, cats can develop other behaviour problems like not using the litterbox.
Punishing your cats for engaging in behaviour that is natural to them can escalate the scratching behaviour.
Instead of punishing your cats, give them a better alternative!