Training your kitten is as important as training your dog or your dragon: it makes life better for both of you when you set perimeters. You could let them run amuck and do what they will to both your furniture and your home space, but, like any relationship, boundaries are the key to a successful life together. The most important training to start with? Scratching.
Kittens and cats love to scratch. It not only feels good but helps maintain nail health for your furry companions. All day and everywhere, those little ones will scratch away with that happy grin on their faces. But how do you stop them from shredding the furniture and making a mess of your rugs or carpeting. Especially for those in rental/lease agreements, giving your cat set spaces and objects to scratch is important, but it need not be your stuff.
Firstly, set boundaries by placing double sided tape on the edges of your furniture. Cats HATE sticky surfaces, especially on the pads of their paws, and the strength of the pet-specific tape called Sticky Paws is low enough that it won't hurt them if they touch it. Regular double sided tape will! Test a small patch of this tape on your couch or other furniture item first to make sure the tape will come off entirely. When in doubt... Goo Be Gone! I've personally used this and it works wonders. My cats never scratch at my furniture and never have.
Secondly, set up special scratching areas for them. It's the same as setting up a play room for your children. Cats need their own space too. If you can find a nice cat tree or cat condo (if so inclined) or even just a corner where you can house a nice scratching post that won't be disturbed.
Thirdly, cardboard scratching pads from the pet store are your best friends. Cats go CRAZY for them, and they're both inexpensive and super simple. Buy several at a time and replace every three months to ensure maximum kitten grins.
Lastly, it's always nice to have several posts or scratching waves (when you go to the store, you'll see what I mean- it's a scratching post that lays down, in a wave shape) dappled around your house. That way if your cats are playing away from their designated area, and they're getting rambunctious (as you know they do) then they always have a surface to play with.
Introducing them to their scratching posts etc. is easy. Pick them up, places them next to it, take their paws gentle and start making a scratching movement (much as you would do when introducing the to their litter boxes for the first time). Then, after you release them from your parental hold, kneel down and start scratching at the post etc. Not a crazy amount like a crazy person. Just enough so they can see "Ah ha! This is what we do with this!"
If your cat is already scratching at your furniture, still keep on them if they seem to be eyeing up that couch of yours, even with sticky tape and scratching bits around. They'll start to blame the couch, and not you, if they do still go for it (because it will seem the couch is fighting back by being sticky), but by keeping them with a "no!" or a clap of the hands, they'll know you and the couch are in co-hoots, and you're in charge!
Hope these tips help! They've certainly worked for my little ones. They have healthy nails, and happy, lives, and my furniture thanks me every day.