It is a natural behavior of cats to scratch surfaces. Some may prefer soft surfaces where they can sink their claws in while others may prefer hard surfaces and leave scratch marks. Unfortunately, your valuable furniture or household materials may be at risk of getting damaged from this behavior if you have some feline companions.
Why Do Cats Like to Scratch Surfaces?
There are several reasons why your cats scratch not just your furniture but other surfaces in your home such as carpets and posts as well. Here are the reasons for this particular trait:
- Grooming, which is to loosen or remove the outer layer of their claws known as the “husk” and uncover the sharp claws underneath it.
- To get rid of their excess energy.
- It can be for their health when they flex their claws and feet as well as stretch their bodies. It helps them exercise the muscles on their front legs. It also helps them stretch their spine which keeps them fit.
- To mark their territory with a visual mark and with their scent from the scent glands found on their paws.
- When playing, cats also tend to scratch on surfaces.
- Sometimes, they try to catch their owner’s attention by scratching.
- The scratching can also be anxiety-related which can be caused by some factors in their surroundings.
How Do You Stop Cats from Scratching?
The scratching that your cats do around your house may, unfortunately, cause your furniture and other surfaces to be ruined or damaged. You would need to divert or direct your cat’s attention or scratching onto other acceptable targets like scratching posts or scratching pads. But what if your cat ignores these scratching posts and pads?
The following are some tips that you can help to keep your cat from scratching surfaces in your home:
Cover the spots in your home where your cat usually scratches.
If you can, move the piece of furniture or household material that your cat usually scratches on. But in cases where you can’t move the piece of furniture, cover it or place a scratching post or scratching pad on your cat’s favorite scratching spot. You may also use some double-sided tape as a deterrent to keep your cat away from a certain spot.
Fill the area with scent.
You may use feline pheromone products such as a plug-in or spray around the area where your cat usually scratches. Cat behaviorists have stated that the feline pheromone content in such products can deceive your cats and make them believe that another cat has already “marked” the area. Thus, they avoid the area and so they will not scratch on any part around the marked territory.
Add more scratching pads and posts in your household.
Putting more scratching posts and pads with different types of texture and materials is ideal as it will also provide your cat with various options of scratching surfaces that would fit their needs. It also helps them to avoid scratching your carpet or other household furniture and materials. Make sure that the posts and pads that you put around for your cat to scratch on are strong and heavy so they stay in place. Also, keep in mind that the cat likes to have multiple types of scratching surfaces, so it would be ideal to have at least one inclined, one vertical, and one horizontal or flat scratching material.
Get a horizontal scratching pad.
Scratching preferences vary in cats as well. There are those who usually scratch on carpets as they prefer flat and horizontal surfaces. It would be best that you place a flat scratching mat or pad for your cat to use.
Things You Should Avoid Doing
- Cats do not like feeling forced to do something. Do not hold them near the scratching post you placed for them because this would make them feel forced and threatened, and this may trigger fear and anxiety as well, resulting in them possibly avoiding you.
- Do not declaw your cat as a means of resolving their scratching issue. Declawing has not been proven to be an effective remedy for behavioral issues from cats. It may even cause harm to your cat and you may accidentally injure them in the process.
- When your cat’s scratching post is no longer looking presentable, do not throw it away. Keep in mind that most cats prefer torn and shredded surfaces as they can actually get their claws into them. Also, these used posts are more appealing to them as they are already familiar with them.