Indoor-only cats feel an innate compulsion to scratch, but sometimes they do it in inconvenient places — like the leg of a chair or your favorite couch.
They often choose a few items that are easily visible in their environment to scratch. They mark their territory for anyone walking by.
Important: There’s no way to stop a cat from scratching You shouldn’t. However, you can teach an indoor cat how to scratch in acceptable places. For the cat to scratch properly, a scratching post or cat tree are necessary.
Here’s what you should know about scratching, and what you can do to redirect your cat’s clawing behavior.
Why do cats scratch?
Cats usually scratch to accomplish these things:
- Communicate: I live here.
- Mark territory: Sweat glands in the cat’s foot pad leave a scent reminder that this is a cat’s area. Other cats smell it and know where their friend – or enemy – has been.
- Exercise: Cats scratch to get exercise. The act of stretching and scratching is pleasurable and keeps the cat’s muscles toned. Imagine how great it feels to stretch your cat first thing in the day.
- Shape your claws. Scratching removes the outer layer of the front claws and allows the new nail underneath.
How to use Scratching Posts to Redirect Behavior
This will stretch their spines and muscles, and also strengthen their claws. A cat tree with space to scratch, climb, and cubby holes to burrow in gives cats multiple opportunities to exercise their claws and muscles.
Make sure you have Scratching post and cat tree are sturdy and balanced so they don’t topple over when your cat jumps or climbs on them. Your cat might become afraid if a piece falls on the floor and scares you.
Make sure to inspect the material on the scratching posts. Sisal, a rope-like material cats love to scratch at, is a common covering for scratching posts.
If your cat is scratching on your carpet or couch, you don’t want a scratching post covered in similarly textured material. This will confuse your cat and make it unsure where to scratch.
Some cats like to scratch horizontally — for them, there are inexpensive scratchers made of corrugated cardboard.
Catnip can be used to encourage your cat’s curiosity to scratch at the scratching posts. To reinforce this behavior, reward your cat by giving them a treat each time they use the scratching board.
With any luck, your cat can quickly get used to it. Your favorite chair, curtains, and couch will all be intact.
Is your cat fond of scratching? How can you ensure your cat sticks to the scratching post and not the furniture? Comment below to let us know your thoughts!