For cats, scratching is an essential part of daily life, and grooming their claws is just one reason. Cats also scratch to stretch the muscles in their backs and to mark their territory with the scent in their paw pads. Favourite indoor materials for scratching are firm and have some texture. Favourite locations are near the entrance to a room or a defined space, like a flight of stairs. While deterrents will keep your cat from scratching your furniture and carpeting, providing alternatives is often a more effective solution.
Give the cat its own stairs. Most pet supply stores sell carpeted stairs for older and arthritic animals. Put your cat's stairs next to yours and sprinkle catnip on each step.
Try a scratching pad that's elevated on one end. The incline will give your cat a good stretch while scratching and will seem the same as standing on one step and scratching another. Put the scratching pad next to the stairs and sprinkle it with catnip.
Put a wall-mounted scratching pad at the top or bottom of your steps. If your cat is a vertical scratcher, the cardboard pad will be more satisfying than the steps. Rub catnip into the pad.
Protect your steps by securely attaching an extra piece of carpeting to the step where your cat scratches most often. The cat will have the satisfaction of scratching in its favourite place without ruining your carpet.
Put an electronic device that causes a tingling sensation when stepped on your cat's favourite step. Pet supply stores sell them. While the deterrent will not harm your cat, it could discourage the cat from using the steps to go up and down.
Attach bubble wrap to the step where your cat scratches most often. The sound of claws popping the bubbles will startle the cat and prevent it from scratching.
Apply double-stick tape to part of your cat's favourite step. The cat won't like the sticky feeling on its paws and won't scratch there.
Never spray water on your cat. Using a spray bottle as punishment will just teach your cat to scratch the stairs when you're not looking and could make the cat afraid of you.