Cats can be low on the list of pets that people want to have in their house because they have a reputation for scratching things. This can be a behavior that some cats do display, but it is not a universal behavior for cats. Cats can scratch for a lot of reasons, and not every cat will be prone to displaying this behavior.
If you do have a cat that is scratching things, you probably want to know why they are doing this and how to stop it. No one likes their cat to scratch up things that they care about, and it can be really frustrating when you don’t know why your cat is choosing to do this. Cats might not scratch everything in your home, and they usually tend to come back to the same areas again and again to sharpen their claws.
Why Do Cats Scratch?
Cats scratch for lots of reasons, and your cat might be doing so for a lot of different reasons. You might need to consider if anything in your home or your group of pets has changed and might have been the reason for this change in behavior. Changes of various kinds can spark new behaviors in any pet, and your cat is not exempt from this. Many cats scratch out of instinct, and there can be some instincts that are hard to overcome if you don’t like your cat’s scratching behavior.
To Mark Territory
Cats scratch things in the wild to mark their territory. When a wild cat scratches something, the scent glands in the pads of their feet leave behind their musk on the items that they have scratched. This is a great way to warn away other animals that might be encroaching on their territory and protect their den.
While your cat does not actually need to do this in your house, they might not know this. They might be thinking that they are asserting dominance over other pets in the home or even just protecting the house from intrusion. This can be one of the hardest reasons to attend to when your cat is scratching to protect their territory.
It is a common cat behavior to claw things as they stretch their bodies. This probably feels good to them, and it can be a way to get more purchases to enjoy the full ability of their body to stretch out full-length. Cats love to stretch out when they have been sleeping or even when they are just crossing the room, and you might have noticed that this scratching can leave marks on your floor or your furniture.
Most cats will not display this kind of scratching behavior too often, but in some cases, it can be a regular event. This is the kind of situation that is best handled by providing your cat with a scratching post that has platforms or secret areas to sleep. This way, when your cat wakes up and wants to stretch, it will not be hurting anything of yours.
To Sharpen Claws
One of the primary reasons cats scratch things is to sharpen their claws and strip off dead nail tissue. Some cats are prone to scratching for this reason, and an indoor/outdoor cat will probably show this behavior more often than an indoor-only cat. Sharpening claws is an instinctive behavior that your cat will want to display, no matter how much you discourage them.
You will want to provide your cat with an acceptable place for them to sharpen their claws. This will prevent conflict between you and your pet about this natural behavior. Your cat will thank you for giving them a place to sharpen their claws, and you will have the peace of mind that your house and possessions will be safe from damage as well.
Some cats will scratch as part of playing with the other pets in the house or even when being wild and playing alone. You will not have consistent issues with this behavior in most cases, but your cat might be more playful than most. A scratching post or tree will allow your cat to play in peace without worrying about damaging things that might get them into trouble.
Play is often one of the cutest things that your cat can do during the day, and you don’t want to have to be mad at them for having fun. Playful high spirits are important to allow your cat to indulge in, and you can eliminate conflict with your cat over a little bit of fun by giving them toys to play with and a scratching spot that is just for them.
There Are Many Reasons That Your Cat Might be Scratching
If you have a cat that is scratching things in your house and you want them to stop, you will want to be sure that you consider all of the reasons that your cat might be scratching things. A lot of cat scratching is driven by instinct, but you can give your cat someplace that is safe to scratch so that your home and possessions are safe from damage. Most cats are not that driven to scratch when they live inside full time, but indoor/outdoor cats can be more prone to this kind of behavior.
Make sure that you consider all the reasons that your cat might be scratching and do what you can to make sure that they feel secure in their home and have their own unique cat spaces to enjoy. You will want to be sure that you give your cat a tree or scratching place that is their own so that they are able to enjoy sharpening their claws in peace. Scratching is normal behavior and one that you can usually manage by offering your cat a place to scratch that is just for them.
Welcome to Kryder & Harr Veterinary Clinic! Our animal hospital has been a fixture in the Granger community since 1981, practicing full-service veterinary medicine for all our pet parents and their furry family members. At KHVC, we pride ourselves on our history, of providing excellent customer service for our clients, along with dedicated, compassionate, and exceptional medical care for all of our patients.