Why does my cat scratch? (And what you can do about it)
Every cat owner has been there: wrecked furniture, scratch marks on the wallpaper, carpets that have been torn loose ... Scratching - it’s just what cats do. But why? And what can you do about it?
Scratching is a natural behaviour for cats. They do it as a means of claw care, to mark their territory or to relieve stress. They certainly don’t do it to challenge you or because they just feel like being naughty. That’s why you should never punish your cat for scratching - they simply would’t understand. So what can you do? Here are some tips:
1) Make your furniture unattractive
Discourage your cat from scratching your favourite furniture. This is achieved by thoroughly cleaning any scratchmarks that are already present, as cats like to return to their “marked” spots. You could use an anti-smell detergent to get the spot entirely smell-free. You can also make rough surfaces that are irresistable for cats (temporarily) unattractive, for example by sticking on double-sided tape and aluminium foil or by spraying Feliway on them.
2) Offer enough alternatives
Offer your cat enough places where she can scratch to her heart’s content. It’s best to put up at least one scratching post per cat. You can also mount scratch boards on your walls. Make sure to mount them at the right height for your cat: she will be a lot longer when she stretches all the way :-) You can also buy cardboard scratch boards and replace them regularly. The scratching post or board can be made especially attractive by applying catnip or valerian.
3) DIY: Make your own scratching board or post
Scratching posts can be quite pricey, but you can simply make one yourself using a solid board, a cedar post and some sisal rope or old carpet. Attach the post to the plank and wind the rope or carpet tightly around the post. Secure the post well using small nails or tacks. Always make sure to attach your scratching item well, so there will be enough resistance when the cat is scratching them. Also, check for any nails or tacks that may be sticking out. Safety first! ;-)
4) Relaxation and fun
Always take into account that your cat’s scratching may be a sign of stress. Is she perhaps afraid? Are there too many cats or other stressful aspects in her life? Provide a safe and quiet place where your cat can shelter, and offer enough distraction and play.
You don’t have enough time to entertain your cat? Or are you looking for a playmate for your cat? You can always book a loving cat sitter on Pawshake!