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If you’re a long-time cat owner or if you’re a first-time cat owner, you may wonder why do cats scratch? Do they scratch your furniture because they are somehow “angry” with you? Do they claw the carpet or your curtains because they’re bored? Maybe, but probably not.
Cats scratch because it’s an instinctual behavior. Sure, a cat may scratch inappropriate items like the curtains or the sofa, but they can be trained to scratch items that are cat-friendly and that won’t destroy your belongings.
Why Do Cats Scratch?
Before you can redirect your cat’s scratching, you should understand why they do it.
Scratching is natural behavior. If you want to protect your belongings, remember cats claw up your belongings, not because he is mad or out of spite, but because it’s instinct.
Cats scratch because they cannot stop themselves. You can channel the scratching from the furniture to a scratching post. Yes, cats can be trained!
Don’t punish a cat for scratching
Your cat will not understand physical punishment. Don’t tap her on the nose or butt with a paper or your hands. Don’t holler. Don’t shake a bottle of pennies or spray her in the face with a spray bottle. Cats don’t understand punishment and will not equate what you’re doing with her scratching. You will not teach your cat not to scratch when you punish her, in fact you may make the situation worse.
What your punishment for scratching may do is lead to bigger behavior issues like litter box avoidance. She may even begin to avoid you because of the punishments you’re meting out that she simply doesn’t understand.
Here are ways to redirect your cat’s scratching
In our house, we have a wooden kitchen chair that is more than twenty years old. For whatever reason, every cat we have ever owned has scratched that particular chair and because of that we have taken that beaten and scratched up chair with us every time we have moved. Although our cats do scratch their scratching posts, this chair has been, and remains a popular scratching post for them.
If you don’t have a chair your cats can scratch, here are other ways to redirect the scratching.
When choosing a scratching post, you may want to offer a variety.
Not all cats will want to scratch a carpet covered scratching post, nor will they all want to scratch a vertical post.
When you’re playing with your cat and working with her to get her to scratch on a scratching post you’re also helping to keep her safe and happy. An obese cat is one who is prone to other health issues that may require more frequent veterinarian visits. If you have cat health insurance you can rest easy that your cat can receive the care she needs, but you may be able to avoid vet visits by keeping your cat healthy and active. Get a quote today.
Robbi Hess is a full-time pet blogger and multi-published author. She shares her life with a diva Poodle, a goofy Goldendoodle, two Devon Rex, a senior ginger kitty and three reptiles!