Why does my cat scratch? (And what can be done about it)

Why does my cat scratch? (And what can be done about it)

06/11/2015

Every cat owner has been there: Wrecked furniture, scratch marks on the wallpaper, carpets that have been torn apart ... Scratching - it's just what cats do. But why? And what can we do about it?

Scratching is a natural behaviour for cats. They do it as a means of claw care, to mark their territory or to relieve stress. They certainly don't do it to challenge you or because they're just simply naughty. That's why you should never punish your cat for scratching - they don't understand why they are being told off. So what can you do? Here are some tips:

1)  Make your furniture unattractive

Discourage your cat from scratching your favourite furniture. This is achieved by thoroughly cleaning any scratchmarks that are already present, as cats like to return to their favourite marked spots. You could use an anti-smell detergent to get the spot entirely smell-free. You can also make rough surfaces that are irresistable for cats (temporarily) unattractive, for example by sticking on double-sided tape and aluminium foil or by spraying Feliway on them.

2) Offer enough alternatives

Offer your cat enough places where she can scratch to their heart's content. It's best to put up at least one scratching post per cat. You can also mount scratch boards on your walls. Make sure to mount them at the right height for your cat: He will appear a lot taller when he stretches up on his two furry feet :-) You can also buy cardboard scratch boards and replace them regularly. The scratching post or board can be made especially attractive by applying catnip or valerian.

3) DIY: Make your own scratching board or post

Scratching posts can be quite pricey, but you can simply make one yourself using a solid board, a cedar post and some sisal rope. Attach the post to the plank and wind the rope tightly around the post. Secure the rope well using small nails or tacks. You can also make a scratching board using a piece of carpet. Cover a board with a piece of carpet (preferably carpet with loops so the claws will get caught - if the claws just slip through, the cats won't like it) and mount the board on a wall using wall plugs and screws. Always make sure to attach your scratching item well, so there will be enough resistance when the cat is scratching them. Also, check for any nails or tacks that may be sticking out. Safety first! ;-)

4) Relaxation and fun

Always take into account that your cats scratching may be a sign of stress. Is she perhaps afraid? Are there too many cats or other stressful aspects in her life? Provide a safe and quiet place where your cat can get shelter, and offer enough distraction and play.

Do you not have enough hours in the day to always entertain your cat? Or are you looking for a playmate for your cat who can give you cat the time and company she needs? If this is the case you can always book a loving cat sitter on Pawshake!