No matter how well you cat-proof your home, there's still a chance your cat will destroy everything in sight. Given their killer hunting instinct, cats don't hesitate to use both their claws and jaws. To keep scratching and chewing to a minimum, be sure to do the following:

Have lots of toys around. Unless you consider a $100 silk tie a "toy," you'd better have lots of backup. Toys can be store-bought or home made. An empty paper bag, a ping pong ball tied to a string and hung tantalizingly from a door knob, a rubber ball too big to swallow, a wadded up ball of paper, a ball of yarn, or a feather on the end of a wire are all good cat toys. And make sure that what you give them is always theirs. It's no fair letting them play with your shoelace, but then getting upset when they eat the rest of your shoes.

Get a scratching post. Cats also need to scratch to loosen the exterior layer of their claws to let new growth come through. Buy a scratching post and encourage the cat to use it. At first, sit with your cat, and lightly hold their paws against the scratching post so she can get the feel of it. You can't really blame your kitty for tearing the stuffing out of your couch if it's the only thing around she can sink her claws into. Whatever you do, be consistent, fair, and give your cat lots of praise and attention when she gets it right. When you witness your cat chewing or scratching something she shouldn't, squirt her suddenly and immediately with a water pistol. This is a tried and true (and relatively humane) method of discipline for cats, who usually hate getting wet. You can also startle her by clapping your hands, shouting "No!" or hissing.

SoYouWanna know more? Check out our full-length article SYW have a well-behaved cat?