This behaviour has been happening for about a month now.
Ariel has this toy that she is just amazingly attached to. It's like a feather boa on a stick, and she carries it around the house with her and grooms it. She's learned that if she brings it to myself and my boyfriend, usually when we are studying at the computer table, one of us will get up and play with her. She's like a dog - she'll bring it over, drop it, and start meowing.
But, when we don't play with her, or when we're doing other things like eating dinner, and we don't pay her the attention she wants, she'll start scratching on the upholstered, tapestry-like chairs at the computer table. We live at my inlaws', so the chairs aren't even mine, and they're practically destroyed. My boyfriend's mum isn't really angry, but she would like something to be done about the situation.
Ariel is good about using her scratching posts (and she has a variety)... I don't feel like she's doing this because she actually really likes scratching there, but because when she does, she gets attention that we weren't giving her in the first place. We clap our hands and shout and spritz her with water but she just runs back five minutes later and starts scratching, unless we give in and play with her.
Possibly if we ignore her she'll learn that scratching the chairs won't work, but until she picks up on that, the chairs are just going to fall apart. Even with her nails clipped regularly, she still pulls threads out of the upholstery.
I'm thinking about trying those SoftClaws, but I'm worried she'll just pull them off and eat them. Are they non-toxic? Would they hurt her if she ate one... or five? Is there any way to discourage her from scratching the chairs to get attention?
Ariel and her "baby"