Cat Behavior: Scratching
Cats tend to inflict the most property damage by scratching. In a survey of cats not presenting for behavioral problems, owners reported 60% of the cats scratched furniture.
Why cats scratch
Scratching is a normal feline behavior. It serves a variety of purposes including scent marking, social interaction, visual marking, muscle stretching and claw grooming. Cats should be given and taught appropriate places to engage in scratching behavior.
Provide permitted scratching items
- Cats should be given and taught appropriate places to engage in scratching behavior.
- Place both vertical and horizontal posts and scratchers near areas of rest or previously scratched targets.
- Praise proper use of the permitted items. Encourage your cat to scratch on these items by placing treats or catnip on them and playing with your cat with toys near or on them.
Deter inappropriate scratching
- Cover surfaces you do not want scratched with double-sided sticky tape.
- Nails should be trimmed regularly to decrease the damage inflicted upon the items the cat scratches. Nail caps are another option; they are glued onto the nail and prevent destruction from scratching.
Inappropriate scratching can be frustrating to deal with. Your veterinarian or a veterinary behaviorist can help!
Updated: May 11, 2023