Cat Scratching
Dr. Anna avatar
Written by Dr. Anna
Updated over a week ago

Scratching is a natural behavior for cats and while most cats who have outdoor access will scratch on fence posts and trees, many still like to do some scratching indoors, on the carpet or furniture.

Cats scratch to remove their claw husk and keep their muscles fit. They prefer rigid surfaces like carpets and may scratch to get attention.

Excessive scratching may be due to anxiety, e.g., multiple cats, noisy building work, etc.

In this article, we’ll discuss how to control this behavior, especially if they scratch your house furniture.

Here is some advice to control your cat's scratching:

  1. Alternative scratching surfaces such as cat scratching boards and posts, multi-level furniture, and flat panels with rough surfaces can be bought or made.

  2. Horizontal scratching boards made of corrugated cardboard are also available.

  3. Pheromone scent and marks left behind will encourage more scratching in the same spot so providing suitable surfaces early is important.

  4. Avoid punishing them after scratching since it’s their natural habit and we can’t stop it.

  5. Make sure to clip their nails periodically so they don’t need to scratch frequently.

Here are some other tips to encourage your cat to use the new scratching posts.

  1. Place the new scratching surface in a location where your cat spends a lot of time or near where they have previously scratched.

  2. Cats will accept the new object more readily if they have decided when and how to use it on their own terms.

  3. Encourage their claws to make contact with the surface by playing a game with a rod and string.

  4. If you have purchased a tall scratching post or multi-platform ‘cat tree’ make sure it is rigid and doesn’t wobble (attach it to the wall if necessary).

  5. Place treats on the different surfaces to encourage them to explore.

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