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Why Does My Cat Scratch on Things?

Cat-ScratchThere’s nothing worse than coming home to the surprise redecorating of your kitchen table’s legs or living room upholstery, courtesy of your cat’s scratching instinct.  That doesn’t necessarily mean your cat has some inexplicable scratch problem that most other cat owners don’t experience as well.  There are many reasons why a cat will scratch anything sturdy enough to take a beating.  Let’s examine this further.

 Cat Scratch Behaviors

A cat will naturally want to scratch structures for reasons that cannot be avoided.  These include the molting of their own claws, so no matter how well trained or mannered your cat is, it will need to quell this itch at some point.

Scratching is also territorial, this leaves a mark both physically and chemically through pheromones that are released while scratching.  Getting your pet spayed or neutered can reduce this activity, at least.

Shaping your Cat’s World

First thing is first, investing in cat scratch posts is the most effective way for teaching your cat early on to favor designated scratching areas.  If your cat is older, you can still get it to use scratching posts through a little training.  The key is to discourage your cat from choosing your enticing furniture that it has already had a feel for.  It won’t care about a newly introduced scratching post if it already knows the couch or chair can do the job.

What you’ll need to do is temporarily cover your furniture that your cat likes to scratch with some unfriendly textures like plastic covers, aluminum foil, sandpaper, or double-sided tape.  That should cover all types of furniture and carpeting.  If you want to try an alternative solution that allows you to stay comfortable while deterring the cat, try some strong smells like peppermint menthol or citrus, cats respond instantly to pungent smells.

Adding Extra Incentives

Cats sometimes just like to scratch for fun, too, so you’ll need to make sure you’re doing your best to keep them occupied while you’re MIA.  Cat toys can be expensive, but the good ones are more than worth it.  Cat perches with ropes to climb are good mainstays.  For new cat scratch posts, add a little more reward for using it by rubbing some catnip at the top of the post, so that at least gets them to feel the difference when they climb on it.

One last tip: when it comes to placing scratching posts, always try to position them near a window looking outside.  Cat scratch posts can go near their bed, so they can get a nice stretch in after naps, or in a corner away from any furniture to help establish boundaries, which is very important for all house pets.