Cats can be wonderful pets. They can also destroy your furniture and walls. Cats scratch objects naturally, and this can be a significant problem for some cat owners. Many cat owners can be completely lost when it comes to getting their cats to stop scratching things they aren’t supposed to. Pet cats have been known to tear up couches, beds, chairs, curtains, and even the paint and wallpaper on walls with their scratching habits.
Why Do Cats Scratch?
Scratching is an entirely normal behavior for cats to have. Here are some of the reasons for scratching.
Cats will often stretch up on your furniture or walls and lock their claws into whatever it is. When they do this, they are scratching to stretch out all their muscles and tendons.
Maintaining their Claws
They will also scratch to maintain the health of their claws. Cats need to shed a layer of their claws called the husk every so often. The husk of a claw can become uncomfortable when it is time to shed the husk and cats seek relief by scratching anything to get them off. If cats don’t scratch, they may even experience ingrown claws, which can become very painful over time.
Relief from Stress and Anxiety
Scratching also releases positive brain signals and chemicals in a cat’s brain, which leads them to scratch to relieve stress or anxiety.
Cats will also scratch things in their home to mark their territory. Whether tame or wild, indoor or outdoor, feral, or friendly, all cats will mark their territory in specific ways. Cats even mark their territory when they are the only cat around. It can be a relief that your cat scratches to mark territory instead of urinating, but you still don’t want them to ruin your home’s look either.
Managing a Cat’s Scratching
Here are a few options to help manage a cat’s desire to scratch.
It’s simple, although many cats may make it more difficult. Trimming your cat’s nails is essential to the health of their claws and paws. Even if your cat isn’t scratching excessively, you should still trim their nails regularly. Cats are prone to having ingrown nails, which can be painful and cause problems walking and even joint pain. If you trim your cat’s nails on a regular basis, not only does it help their overall health, usually, they will feel the need to scratch less often. They will still need to scratch sometimes, so you will have to combine this with other methods.
Many people don’t know that a scratching post is a necessity for a cat and not just a toy. Cats need scratching posts just as much as they need litterboxes. There is a rule that goes for both litterboxes and scratching posts. You should have at least one per cat. If you have two cats, you should have two; if you have three, you should have three.
How to Choose a Scratching Post
The next step is having the correct type of scratching post. The post should fit the size of your cat. Your cat should be able to stretch to their full length on the post and still have room above where their claws can reach. If your cat can’t stretch up all the way on the post, they may choose to scratch something they can stretch on. You also need a scratching post that is sturdy at the bottom and doesn’t wobble when they use it.
Where to Place the Scratching Post
If your cat is scratching things that they shouldn’t, you should place their scratching post in a place they are already scratching. Usually, this is enough to teach them to use it instead of your furniture or walls. Otherwise, another strategy is to place the scratching post near where they sleep because most cats like to scratch right after waking up.
My Cat Has a Scratching Post and Doesn’t Use it
You can train your cat to change their behavior. Many people don’t realize that cats can be as trainable as other pets like dogs. Cats can learn up to 500 human words, especially the most used ones directed at them. You can teach your cat “no” or something similar to tell them to stop what they are doing. When your cat scratches something you don’t want them to say to them “no” and redirect them either to a toy or another area of the house to get their attention away from the bad behavior.
You can also use interactive toys near scratching posts to draw your cats to use it. You can even play with your cat near the scratching posts with toys they can pounce on and direct them to the scratching post.
Change the Surface they are Scratching
Another easy way to keep cats from scratching things you don’t want them to is to change the surface of what they’re scratching. You can apply many household items to what your cat is trying to scratch. Using double-sided tape, tin foil, plastic covers, and even sandpaper to cover the areas they usually scratch will quickly get them to avoid that area. A cat will try to scratch these things, and it will make a noise or not feel good to their claws, and they will learn not to do it again.
Cats Can be Taught What to Scratch
Cats all scratch and will continue to do so. They must scratch for several reasons, and you’ll never get your cat to stop scratching completely. All you can do is offer them alternatives to scratching things you don’t want them to and train them to use these. Once you take the time to teach your cat, there are things they are allowed to scratch and things they aren’t allowed to scratch; your life will be much easier. Your home will stay looking nice, and your cat will be able to enjoy all the benefits of scratching without the downside of upsetting you.