Cat owners frequently gripe that their pets scratch their furniture and other possessions, causing damage. Despite how unpleasant scratching can occasionally be, it’s important to remember that it’s a normal and natural habit for cats.
Although cats have a natural urge to scratch, when they do it on objects we deem inappropriate (such as our couches and stairway posts), it becomes detrimental behavior. Fortunately, this is easily avoidable and manageable.
Why do cats scratch?
Cats instinctively scratch because it meets their physical and psychological demands. You may prevent damaging your home by being aware of your cat’s scratching behaviors. Cats scratch for many different reasons.
- Maintaining the essential claw action for climbing and hunting requires: Cats are skilled hunters who can grab and hold their prey with their claws. They also employ this motion to strengthen their forelimb muscles and spine to maintain them robust for hunting.
- Cats use their claws to defend themselves from other cats or animals both offensively and defensively.
- Cats scratch to let off steam and to show that they are excited or stimulated. Perhaps you’ve seen your cat approach another cat in your home with caution before beginning to scratch it. The cat scratches to express their anger. When you got home from work, have you ever noticed your cat scratching? Scratching is done out of excitement in this situation since it can be a joyful expression.
- It is a type of exercise that lengthens and strengthens their muscles at the same time: Scratching keeps your cats in shape and is a healthy kind of exercise. They have the ability to spread their bodies out and grow or cut their nails. Cats enjoy stretching when they first get out of bed, just like many of us do.
- Cats use scratching as a form of communication when they are defining their territory. When they scratch, they also leave odor and audible traces. Cats therefore scratch to release tension or in tight situations. Cats leave tiny scratches on objects as they scratch them, which act as visual indicators for other cats nearby.
- cat nail care When your cat scratches something, the dead outer covering of the nail is exposed, revealing the vibrant new growth. Crescent-shaped nail sheaths are frequently found around your cat’s favorite scratching spots.
- Fun: Cats like to stretch, massage, and play.
How Can I Prevent My Cat From Scratching?
Simply put, you cannot. Scratching by your cat is common behavior. It is ludicrous to assume that these actions simply do not occur. We must provide cats with the appropriate outlets for engaging in and expressing their basic, natural behavior of scratching.
Never correct your cat when it scratches. This involves sprinkling water, shaking a can of coins, etc. Punishment can make fear, anxiety, and tension worse, is unsuccessful in teaching the cat the appropriate behavior, and may even damage your bond with your cat.
Putting an end to Destructive Scratching Methods
By offering enough scratching surfaces since cats must scratch, we wish to provide the proper outlets for this activity in cats.
Always give your cat with a variety of acceptable scratching surfaces and textures. Scratchers are available in a range of styles, sizes, and materials.
It’s important to experiment with a variety of surfaces to discover which scratchers your cat prefers. The majority of cats like to scratch on posts or pads made of sisal rope, cardboard, wood, and sisal fabric. Both horizontal and vertical scratching surfaces are the best to offer. Scratchers should be sturdy and not unstable or tilt over when your cat typically scratches them. Cats need tall scratching posts. Your cat should be able to stretch out up the side of the post while standing on its hind legs to get a full-body stretch.
Scratcher placement is essential. Since our cats want to be with us, put them in places where you and your cats both like to be. Due to cats’ propensity to stretch or scratch when they wake up, you might want to place one near where your cats sleep. Their paw pads include scent glands that release odors when they scratch, alerting other cats to their presence in your neighborhood. Scratchers should be installed in all the places you think your cats would enjoy them the most.
Make the appropriate areas for scratching appealing
Holding your cat close to the scratching post will just encourage it to drag its claws on it. Both cats and people loathe being forced to do things. This may startle your cat, causing it to completely avoid the scratcher.
Instead, make the places you want the cat to scratch more alluring. You can accomplish this by placing catnip or silvervine nearby, or you can attach toys to the scratching post. You can give your cats food and play with them on or near the scratcher to help them create a pleasant relationship with it.
Finally, since one of the reasons cats scratch is to communicate by scent, you can utilize Feliscratch. Feliway created Feliscratch in order to create a product that mimics the scent that cats leave behind when they scratch other cats. By mimicking their signals, Feliscratch encourages your cats to scratch there once more.
You can find out where your cat likes to scratch furniture by watching where she unintentionally scratches. That horizontal, is it? Vertical? What substrate does it resemble the most? Cardboard? Wood?
Depending on your cat’s preferences, purchase scratching posts or pads that are comparable to their preferred scratching configuration. Depending on your cat’s preferences, put a good scratching post next to something that’s not okay (for example, couch).
You can very carefully move the scratching post to a location that is more convenient for you after your cat starts using it frequently (no more than a few inches every day). However, it’s best to keep the appropriate scratching materials as close as you can to your cat’s favorite scratching areas.
When your cat uses its scratchers, reward them with a treat, some vocal praise, or a pet. Always give your cat a reward that they enjoy because what one cat finds motivating may not be motivating to another.
Regular claw trimming
Because their claws don’t naturally erode, your cat must groom them by clawing a hard surface, such your furniture or carpets. Regular toenail clipping prevents her nails from getting snagged on things and inhibits destructive clawing.
- Remain composed and in control
Take a deep breath and be courteous and at ease. Get specialized cat nail trimmers with a rubberized coating to prevent slipping before you start. They should have a stainless steel blade.
- Sit down
Trim your cat’s nails in a quiet area without any disturbances. Giving cats a non-slip surface to stand on is essential, similar to a yoga mat. It is best to cut your cat’s nails when they are quiet rather than, say, when they are playing.
- Take things gently and with caution.
Give the dog a treat and clip one nail at the same time. While the cat is eating, you can trim the second nail if it’s still quiet. You can eventually trim five nails at once if your cat is still quiet. As your cat adjusts, be prepared to first only trim one paw or even only one or two claws.
- Be beneficial
The majority of cats dread having their nails clipped because they’ve generally had really bad experiences with it. Prepare some delectable, extra-special gifts that your cats can only receive when having their nails trimmed. Examples include canned food, whip cream, tuna, and anchovy paste. You can also play with, groom, or cuddle with your cat according on their preferences.
- Don’t Rush Things
Inside a cat’s nail, higher up, there is a pink area called the quick. If you cut into it, your cat will bleed and experience pain because it contains all the nerves and blood arteries. When you trim your nails, you can plainly see where the quick starts, which will help you avoid nicking it. Styptic powder can be used to quickly halt the bleeding if you unintentionally cut it.
- Request assistance
If your cat is resistant to having her claws trimmed or to having her paws handled, a skilled training specialist can help you teach her to tolerate and even enjoy the process.
Giving cats enrichment is essential to avert destructive scratching and other behavioral issues that may develop in a dull environment. By receiving enrichment, your cat is able to exhibit these behaviors. A diversity of scratching surfaces, opportunities for predatory and prey behavior, safe areas, and a setting where an animal has choice, control, and variation over their daily activities are all components of an enriching environment.
The Difficulty of Declawing
Your cat’s physical and mental wellness depend on its natural instinct to scratch. Unlike human nails, which grow from the epidermis, cat claws begin at the end of each toe bone. Declawing (onychectomy) is the amputation of this distinctive bone, which also involves cutting the tendons, nerves, and ligaments that connect the bone to the rest of the body. As a result of the extensive surgery, your cat may develop a variety of physical and behavioral problems. Declawing is illegal in many countries because it is thought to be inhumane.