Everyone who shares their home with a feline knows that cats need to scratch. This is a normal, healthy cat behaviour which they undertake for a variety of reasons.
Reasons cats need to scratch:
- It helps their physical condition. This includes maintaining strong claws as scratching helps dislodge the old outer claw. It also serves to strengthen pusscat’s shoulder muscles, along with stretching the tendons in their feet
- It marks a cat’s territory both visually and through scent. Particularly for outdoor cats who scratch on trees, this will be a visual cue for other cats in the neighbourhood that there is already a cat in residence. When cats scratch against a surface they leave behind pheromones which act as another sign of the presence of a cat
- It’s an emotional release. That’s not to say that when your cat scratches that they are necessarily frustrated, they could equally be excited, happy, or wanting your attention.
Most of us have a couple of scratching posts available for our Favourite Felines covered in what can only be described as the ugliest carpet offcuts on the planet. When we buy them we think that they will also double as places where our pusscat’s can get up high and sit. Neither Pussa nor Soph are particularly sold on that concept, although they work a treat for when we need to brush them. We’ve found the best scratching posts to be those that are wrapped in sisal rope. It’s probably because the rope’s soft enough for them to dig their claws in, but strong enough to withstand the force of being pulled on. You might also find that your cat is like Soph and has a preference for a horizontal surface instead of a vertical one. We tried those compressed corflute cardboard ones, but according to Soph these don’t cut it. We ended up having to make our own, and yes I’m aware that we have probably given her an inadequacy complex by putting Pussa’s name on it. Oh well, she’ll get over it.
If you are one of the unfortunate ones whose cat is clawing up the sofa, expensive rug, or the curtains, they’re probably doing it because there’s either nothing else on offer, or they don’t like what or where the alternative is. Get yourself a new post (or move one you already have) and place it right next to where your cat is currently scratching. With a bit of luck and perseverance they’ll give up attacking your soft furnishings and discover the joys of the new post! Otherwise, you can also try some commercially available anti-scratching products like Sticky Paws. This is basically double sided tape which adheres to your furniture and it deters your cat from scratching because they don’t like the feeling of stickiness under their paws. There are also sprays which you squirt on and around furniture you don’t want them to go near. They contain non-toxic ingredients that cats don’t like the smell of and so will avoid. Of course, keep their claws trimmed too which will reduce their inclination to scratch as well.