I have one of those scratching posts with the levels and the toy hanging off it. It's fun to watch them play on it, but I don't really know how to train them to use it. The best I've come up with is moving them to it when they start scratching. I figure my furniture is all used anyways so its not like it's priceless and before I got them I was resigned to the idea that my satin sheets were going to get shredded. Actually, they're a lot better than I thought they were going to be.
I'm thinking about getting those nail cap things, but those still concern me because they still won't be able to defend themselves if they get out somehow.
Also, I've read several bad things about the de-clawing thing, but this is probably what sealed the deal for me:
(I didn't realize that the complication risks were so high)
50 percent had one or more complications immediately after surgery, such as pain, hemorrhage, lameness, swelling, and non-weight bearing. Of the 121 cats whose progress was followed after surgery, 20 percent had continued complications, such as infection, regrowth, bone protrusion into the pad of the paw and prolonged intermittent lameness and palmagrade stance (abnormal standing posture).
Also, from Dr. Nicholas Dodman:
The inhumanity of the procedure is clearly demonstrated by the nature of cats' recovery from anesthesia following the surgery. Unlike routine recoveries, including recovery from neutering surgeries, which are fairly peaceful, declawing surgery results in cats bouncing off the walls of the recovery cage because of excruciating pain. -- Declawing fits the dictionary definition of mutilation to a tee. Words such as deform, disfigure, disjoint, and dismember all apply to this surgery. Partial digital amputation is so horrible that it has been employed for torture of prisoners of war