Let’s just say, “cats gotta scratch!” How can we say that so definitively? Because it is in the nature of cats to scratch. Cats scratch because it’s an instinctual behavior – like meowing, eating, sleeping in a patch of sunshine and snuggling their pet parents. Okay, maybe not all of those are instinct, but scratching certainly is.
Why do your cats scratch the furniture, walls, carpet, doors, curtains, couches… you get the picture? Here are some of the reasons WHY cats scratch and later we will tell you HOW to get them to leave your furniture alone and scratch where you want them to!
Why Do My Cats Scratch The Furniture?
Here are the reasons for scratching:
- It helps them shed dead layers on their claws
- It’s a way to get a really good stretch
- It simply feels good
- It shows they’re happy
- It is a stress reliever (scratching on vertical surfaces or horizontal surfaces feeds different urges)
- They’re frustrated
- They are marking their territory. When your cat scratches, she is leaving her scent behind. This scent lets other cats in the house know, “this is my scratching post. Back off!” or something like that!
To get all scientific on you, “when cats scratch they are leaving a visual and an olfactory marker behind.” The glands in the paws of your cats’ paws leave an odor behind (you probably have never noticed it) and this warns the other cats off. You will probably notice, though that more than one cat will scratch the same post – the cat to scratch the most recently will leave his scent behind and cover up the other cat’s scent – yes it can be a dominant behavior.
As we said, cats just gotta scratch! How can you protect your home and still keep your feline purring? Did we mention you can train your cat to scratch where you want them to? It’s true, read all about it.
First, keep in mind that your cats don’t scratch just to spite you. Let’s keep that in mind, even if they are staring right in your face as they’re doing it!
- Give them scratching posts and place them around your house.
- Give them vertical scratching posts
- Give them horizontal scratching posts
- Give them scratching posts of a different material (it feels really good on their paws). Choose sisal rope, sandpaper, corrugated cardboard, carpeting, or even an actual log from outdoors with the bark still on it.
- If your cats have been scratching a particular item in the house, put a couple of scratching posts by that item. Giving your cat options might just save the furniture. When you hear your cats start to scratch, gently move their paws from the item you want to save, to one of the scratching posts. Reward your kitty when he or she scratches the post. Positive reinforcement will get you much further than spraying your kitty with water or shaking a can of pennies (please, don’t do that!)
- Sprinkle Meowijuana cat nip onto the scratching posts to entice kitty to scratch there. Reward her with a tasty treat when she does just that.
Show us what your kitty has been scratching! We just might send him or her a tasty treat to help you train them to scratch the post, not the furniture! Share your photo on our Facebook page.
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