Scratching is a really normal behavior for cats. Cats might scratch for a variety of reasons, and they don’t realize that they are causing problems for their owners by doing so. For some pet owners, this can be a very significant issue related to owning a cat while other people know that this is part of cat behavior and work around it.
Cats scratch out of instinct. They might scratch to express emotions, or they might be scratching to mark items and areas with their scent from the scent glands in their paws. They also scratch for health and do so to remove dead parts of their nails. Scratching can also be part of a nice, deep stretch for a cat.
If you want to learn more about why cats scratch everything, you should read on!
Reasons Why Cats Scratch
As mentioned above, there are some common reasons that cats might scratch. These are almost all based on instinct and behavioral issues related to scratching are not that uncommon. Cats don’t view scratching as right or wrong and instead simply scratch because their body and instincts tell them to do so.
This is a behavior that is observable in wild cats as well and scratching a little at the end of a nice big stretch is a common feline behavior. Cats like to stretch out their bodies after a nap or sometimes just because they feel like stretching. Sharpening their claws a few times at the end of the stretch can be thought of like when people open and close their hands when they stretch their hands overhead.
This might still lead to damage to your rugs or furniture, but your cat is only trying to wake up from their cozy nap and doesn’t realize that they might be damaging something.
To Mark Their Territory
This is the original basic reason that cats might scratch items around your home. As wild animals, cats will scratch at items at the borders of their territory to let other animals know that this is their space. Cats have scent glands in their paws that mark the spots that they scratch to warn others that they shouldn’t come closer.
While your housecat might not need to be marking anything in your home for protection, they don’t know this and mark out of instinct. This can be a common problem if you get a new kitten, and your older cat is feeling threatened by the change. This is a hard scratching behavior to address because it is linked to your cat’s deepest instincts.
Removing Dead Parts of Nails
Cats view their nails as a necessary part of their defense mechanism, and they will seek to take care of their claws when they need to. Sometimes broken claw bits can become uncomfortable to your cat and they might try to scratch the furniture to remove these dead pieces of the nail. You might not want them to be engaging in this behavior, but they don’t know that they are damaging anything. There are some easy ways to offer a better place for your cat to scratch if this is the reason for the behavior.
To Express Emotions
Many cats, particularly young ones, enjoy scratching as a way to show that they are excited or happy or eager to play. Excitement scratching might more closely resemble jumping and running around quickly, but it can damage items in the same way. Excited scratching is more common when you own more than one cat, or your cat feels like playing with a toy or another pet in the house. Excited scratching is not as hard to deal with as other forms of this behavior as it is usually something that happens briefly.
What Can I Do About Destructive Scratching?
If your cat is ruining your furniture or your rugs, you will want to provide them with a better outlet for their scratching needs. Cats have certain kinds of items that they like best for scratching and it would be good to make sure that any cat that you own has access to a good scratching location so they can take care of this need.
Scratching Posts and Houses
There are many kinds of scratching posts, houses, and boards that are marketed to people with cats and you will find that your cat might like one type of scratching post while another will want a different style and design of scratching post. Many cats like round and cylindrical scratching locations which is why cat trees and houses that use these kinds of connectors are such a good choice in most cases.
There are also flat scratching boxes that contain cardboard sheets that cats seem to really enjoy. These are the perfect scratching solutions for cats who scratch to clean and repair their claws. Older cats will be more likely to use this kind of scratching solution than a cat tree or a cat house while kittens seem to love climbing and scratching at taller objects.
No matter what scratching solution you choose, your cat will enjoy the scratching location that you set up more if it is away from high traffic areas and away from where other pets might interfere with the scratching behavior. This will make your cat much more likely to go to the scratching location to take care of their needs.
Scratching is a Natural Cat Behavior
Cats scratch because they feel called to do so by their instincts. Try not to be mad at your cat for scratching and instead give them a place to enjoy their scratching time that won’t harm your furniture or other possessions. Trying to stop your cat from scratching is not reasonable and you should be sure that you are instead giving them the chance to enjoy their natural scratching behavior on a daily basis.
Cohabitating happily with a cat requires that you accommodate their cat needs and offering them a safe place to scratch is one of these needs. You and your cat will live happily ever after if you make sure they can scratch to their heart’s content without damaging your home.