Destructive Scratching in Cats

by catfood

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While all cats scratch, some can be particularly destructive, irritating their owners and making them question if they should actually live in the same house as a particular cat. Scratching is actually one of the top reasons cats get their claws removed, are abandoned, or are donated to shelters. Cat lovers often find themselves in a predicament when they also appreciate their nice furnishings and thick, silky carpeting. Few of us are also willing to give up our cats. Nobody loves to live with ripped and torn sofa arms, curtains, or carpet strands.


Why do cats scratch?

Scratching is a completely normal behavior for cats, and it rarely means that they are anxious or upset. Cats instead scratch because.

  • They mark their territory with both their claws and the smell glands on their paws.
  • By stretching their bodies and moving their claws and feet, they are having fun and burning off energy.
  • They are removing the sheath, or the dead tissue layers, from their claws.


The American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) and the American Animal Hospital Association both consider cat declawing unnecessary and even “ethically problematic,” despite the fact that it is technically possible (AAHA). This is because declaws are optional (not necessary) and can harm cats since they take a bit of bone out of their paws. It’s also possible for long-term complications like pain, nerve damage, or infection. It is far preferable to consider scratching alternatives that will let you coexist peacefully with your cat. Cats can be trained to scratch with claws that are shorter than usual.

  • Removing claws. Your local veterinarian may sell cat claw cutters, which are often easier to use than human nail clippers. Start with a peaceful, dozing cat, sharp clippers, and an appropriate light source for best results. Hold your cat firmly in your lap and clip each paw one at a time. If you press the paw pad, your cat’s claws will spread. Only remove the hooked, razor-sharp portion of the claw in order to prevent nicking the quick (flesh).
  • Learn where and what your cat likes to scratch. Since every cat has a particular preference, keeping a watch on your cat may help you discover what surfaces it prefers to scratch and where it tends to cause the most harm. Then, you can duplicate comparable surfaces and scratching posts in equivalent spots to entice your cat to the proper scratching sites.
  • Take away the lure. When purchasing scratching posts, price is often unimportant because some cats enjoy the inexpensive corrugated cardboard pads.
  • Consider incentives and sanctions. It is ingrained in them to preserve their primary line of defense by growing powerful, sinewy muscles and connective tissue. Treats that promote appropriate scratching can be quite beneficial. If it is absolutely necessary, think about using a squirt bottle or another consequence to teach your cat to avoid particular regions.

In relation to Scratching Posts

Scratching posts are the ideal tool for providing cats with the activity they need, much like people. The scratching surfaces are used by cats to limber up and “sharpen” their claws (by removing the sheaths that cover them). Put many scratching posts around the house because cats like and need a variety of surfaces and planes to play on.

Every cat should have several scratching posts with various shapes, heights, and surfaces. Cats require scratching posts for claw maintenance, exercise, and stress relief. Additionally, they will stop carpet and furniture damage. Wash, cover, or relocate items your cat routinely scratches to make them less accessible and enticing.

There are many different designs for scratching posts, so ideally you can pick one that matches your cat’s tastes. Others have sisal coverings, while others have thick carpeting or corrugated cardboard (a natural fiber). Consider the following ideas:

  • There’s no real need to invest in expensive towers; a modest scratching post would do.
  • Wherever your cat has been scratching previously, place the scratching post there.
  • If your cat like the scratching post, try rubbing some catnip on it to tempt them.
  • Give your cat treats, encouraging words, and cuddles as rewards for utilizing the scratching post.

Techniques to Prevent Scratching

Cats must scratch, thus rewarding good behavior with goodies is always preferable to punishing misbehavior.

Destructive scratching need not be a problem if you recognise and embrace this need to scratch and provide suitable alternatives to your furnishings. You can also trim claws, cover nails with soft nail caps, and take other precautions to stop destructive scratching.



If you suspect your pet is sick, call your vet immediately. For health-related questions, always consult your veterinarian, as they have examined your family pet, know the pet’s health history, and may make the best recommendations for your dog.

READ NEXT: Dealing With Dominant and Pushy Cat Behavior


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