Tips and Education
- Pet Training with Q- Clicker
- Electronic Collar Training
- AVMA Recommendations
- Why do cats scratch?
Why Do Cats Scratch?
You probably don't agree with your cat's ideas for remodeling your living room. But your cat doesn't claw the couch or scrape the drapes because she's a bad kitty or to spite you for not feeding her at 3 a.m.
Cats scratch objects in their environment for many reasons: to remove the dead outer layer of their claws, to mark their territory by leaving both a visual mark and a scent (they have scent glands on their paws), and to stretch their bodies and flex their feet and claws.
Scratching is a normal, instinctive behavior, one that you don't want to discourage completely. Instead, the goal is to get your cat to scratch acceptable objects, like a scratching post, instead of the furniture, carpet or curtains.
Step 1: Watch and learn What do cats scratch? Most cats are attracted to anything with a nubby, coarse or textured surface, or something they can really sink their claws into.
When do they scratch? When they wake up from a nap, when they want to mark their territory or when they’re excited about something, like you coming home from work.
How do they scratch? Some cats like to stand up against a vertical surface; others get horizontal and stick their butts in the air for a good stretch.
Step 2: Don't scratch here! Once you've figured out your cat's preferences, you're halfway to the finish line
Put the scratch where your cat wants them—next to her sleeping spot for a quick stretch after a nap, or by the front door for a really intense session after she greets you.
Put a post on each level of the house so she doesn't have to go far to indulge.
Once your cat is regularly using her post, you can move it little by little to where you'd like it. But, really, why tempt fate? Better to leave it in her favorite spot so she leaves your favorite things alone.
Scolding your cat only works if you catch her scratching an off-limits object. If you correct her after the fact, she won't know what she’s done wrong and could learn to fear you.
Cats who are sedentary may not wear down their claws through exercise, and their nails can become overgrown. Left untrimmed, claws can grow into your cat's paw pads, leading to infection, pain and difficulty walking and using the litter box. Check your cat's claws every couple of weeks to see if they need to be clipped