Why Do Cats Like to Scratch?
17 July, 2017
cat scratching

Cats love to scratch. It’s that simple.  They don’t just scratch to annoy us, but scratching is essential for their well-being and just part of being a cat! Therefore, when a cat scratches your favorite couch or chair, it’s hard to train them not too.  The key is to redirect their scratching to something more appropriate to scratch.

Cats scratch to stretch their backs and muscles

Scratching on your arm chair or even your bed is a way for cats to stretch and exercise. We all know how they are big on stretching and scratching is any effective way for the cat to stretch his or her back and shoulder muscles.

Scratching removes the worn and outer layer of their nails

By scratching, cats remove the worn and fraying outer layer of the nail and hone and sharpen the claws, keeping them in excellent shape and having them ready for self-defense or hunting. The clawing habit is innate, so you will still your cat always scratching on a daily basis.  As our cats age, their scratching needs tend to lessen and sometimes diminish altogether.

Cats scratch to mark their territory

Even though your cats may not scratch your furniture any more, rest assured, there is no stopping when it comes to marking territory. By rubbing and pawing on any piece of furniture or even a cat post, they are leaving their body scent emitted from the pheromone glands situated on the paws and their face. Marking with their scent will help them familiarize with the area next time they come around. Their scent tells them that they are within their own territory and assures safety of themselves.

Cats scratch to relieve stress or if they are excited

When your cat is anxious, happy, excited or frustrated, he or she will scratch to release some of that built-up emotion. Think of the times you’ve seen your cat scratching an object after a nap or when you’ve come home from work.  Or when you come home at night, your cat is so excited they scratch away on their scratch pad as they release endorphins.

What you can do to have your cat scratch the right place and not your furniture:

Find the CORRECT scratching post or scratch pad for your cat

Your kitty will not stop scratching and therefore you need to find a viable alternative that meets your cat’s needs.  Try to find a post or pad that has appealing texture, tall enough, stable, and placed in a good location. In general, the most appealing texture for cats is sisal. The rough texture makes it easy for cats to dig their claws in and get an effective scratch.

For cats who like to scratch horizontally, there are inexpensive cardboard scratching pads available at your local pet store.  My cats love to horizontally scratch.

Where should you put your cat post or scratch pad?

When a cat needs to scratch he’ll look for the closest object that meets his needs. Keep the post where your cat likes to spend the most time.  If you have more than one cat, you’ll need more than one scratching post.   If you place the posts in areas where the different cats tend to spend the most time, you may find they may just claim the posts on their own.

Make your cat’s favorite piece of furniture an after-thought

If your cat has been scratching a specific piece of furniture, place the scratching post right next to it.   You can also cover a piece of furniture with a sheet or small textured rug off the side.  If the scratching is limited to one specific area, place a few strips of Sticky Paws on it. Sticky paws is a double-faced tape made specifically for this purpose.

Cats love to scratch and won’t stop doing so !  If you give them a viable alternative and make sure it’s properly placed, the scratching should move to the right place!

What about biting : Here’s what you need to know about cat biting!



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