As a cat owner, you must have noticed that cats like to scratch. Scratching is natural and instinctive for these felines. This action helps to stretch all of the muscles and tendons in their toes, paws, legs, shoulders, and backs.
Scratching also keeps their claws healthy and removes dead outer layers of the nail. It helps them mark their territory, both visually and with scent glands in their paws. It also feels good for your cat!
But, the important thing is, where do they do it? Outdoor cats can scratch their claws at the tree, but what about indoor cats? It can be frustrating if your cat likes to scratch on inappropriate objects such as your furniture, sofas, rugs, carpets or walls.
It’s not as though your feline will definitely obey you if you disallow it from scratching them. So, what can you do? Well, simply direct your cat to scratch at the right object – a scratching post.
Why Do Cats Like to Scratch?
Wondering why your cat likes to scratch the furniture and carpet, or even the floor after eating?
First, it’s important to understand a little bit about the physiology of the paws and claws.
Paws, including the toes’, support the muscles, tendons, and entire body, and help the cat balance. The footpads contain scent glands and the claws contain blood vessels and nerves.
Cats’ claws are used in a variety of ways. Here are some reasons why they enjoy scratching:
Stretching and Exercise
Like us, humans, cats need to do a stretching every once in a while because it feels good! By stretching, they tone their back and shoulder muscles.
Sometimes, cats feel itchy too. They can scratch their own bodies with their claws easily.
When you play with your cat, you might have noticed that it always tries to catch the toys with its claws. It is actually demonstrating its predatory nature. In the wild, their claws are also an important tool in catching and killing their prey.
Helps in Climbing and Running
Cats love to climb to high places, either up on a tree or to the top of a cat condo. The claws help a cat to climb and provide traction for running as well.
A Sign of Fulfilment
Have you ever been “massaged” by your cat? When a cat rhythmically moves her paws on people, clothing or bedding, she is “re-enacting” her mother nursing her as a kitten.
This generally signifies contentment! Clawing is often involved in kneading.
Marking Their Territory
Scratching leaves a visual cue to other cats that this location has already been claimed. The footpads also contain scent glands to show that this territory is marked.
Cats use their claws to scratch when fighting with other cats or animals to protect themselves. When scared or upset, they also may use their claws to scratch you.
If you pay attention, claws might be a way of communication between you and your cat. Many cats will gently extend their claws as a warning that they are annoyed by current interactions (for example, if you’re hugging them too hard).
Claws are an extension of a cat’s skin made with keratin. Their claws grow continuously and must be removed to accommodate new growth. You can see the old nail coverings they have loosened nearby the scratching post.
Have you ever scolded your cat or seen it go berserk working its way at its scratching post after a fight with another animal? This is not your cat being an ungrateful kitty or getting back at you.
When your cat is stressed or conflicted, it can frequently resort to scratching as a “displacement” behavior. These behaviours occur when an animal is stressed or conflicted, for example.
It is often observed that a cat will choose to scratch shortly after an incident that has stressed it out – such as a negative interaction with another animal or after being punished.
This behaviour is often wrongfully interpreted as the cat being “spiteful” or “getting back at the owner”.
Why Do Cats Scratch Cardboard?
Cardboard boxes give cats a sense of security, allowing them to feel safe and secure. Cats also love the texture of cardboard – which is why so many of cat scratchers in the market are made from this material.
The corrugated edges of cardboard are excellent for scratching, sinking their claws, and stretching.
Do Cats Scratch When They Are Happy?
Yes, cats can scratch when they’re happy and excited.
Does a Scratching Post Really Work for Cats?
Yes, a cat’s claws are continuously growing and must be removed to accommodate new growth. Scratching a scratch post erodes the old claws.
It is better to put a scratching post inside your house rather than let your furniture suffer damage from being your cat’s go-to for scratching.
Like every animal out there, cats like to mark their territory, be it your belongings or even yourself.
This is why you should place a scratching post in the area where you spend a lot of time. They also like to scratch and stretch after nap time, so place it near where they sleep.
Why Does My Cat Scratch Everything Except But the Post?
Some types of scratching posts are too light to resist scratching or cannot be placed securely because of inflexible surfaces.
Such scratching posts are disliked by cats because of the absence of resistance when used.
You should also consider the location and make sure that it’s located in a spot where your kitty frequents.
How Do I Get My Cat to Use a Scratcher?
Remember, location is important. Your cat wants to mark the area that you both use often, not somewhere it doesn’t frequent.
Place the scratching post in a prominent area like in the corner of the sofa until your kitty begins using it. After that, you can move the post an inch towards a less obtrusive location. This might take days or weeks.
Make the area fun and interesting for your cat. Provide perches to climb on, hideaways to snuggle, and toys attached to ropes. Place a toy or treat on the top of the post as a reward for your cat climbing on them. Encourage it to chase a toy or laser light to the post.
Using catnip works too! Rub it on the post or spray the post with a catnip spray. Give them a treat whenever you see them using the post.
You can also try to show your cat how to do it by taking her to the post and gently rubbing her paws on the post, but don’t try this with a fearful or anxious cat. One cat can have several scratching posts in a different area in your home. If you have multiple cats, you definitely need more than one post!
If you catch your cat scratching the wrong spot, don’t discipline them because this could make things worse.
Simply redirect the cat to its scratching post and praise your cat when you see appropriate scratching.
Make favourite furniture scratching spots undesirable by covering them with double-sided sticky tape or aluminum foil, or lightly spraying the area with a lemon scent or a cat repellant spray.
Does a Scratching Post Dull a Cat’s Nails?
When a cat scratches, what they want is something they can really dig into with their nails so they can remove those outer layers.
Their nails or claws grow continuously. Cat’s claws are an extension of the cat’s skin made by keratin. They must be removed to accommodate new growth.
The first thing you should do is to keep your cat’s nails trimmed short. If you are unsure of how to do it, ask your vet to show you. Trimming your cat’s nails will prevent it from damaging furniture or your skin.
Some cats may only need clipping every few weeks or a few months. It is important to check your cat’s toenails at least once a month. It is easier to clip it often. Scratching on a post helps to remove the “dead” parts of the nail, thus making the nail thinner and sharper.
What Is the Best Cat Scratcher?
Paws, Whiskers, and Claws explained the criteria of a good scratching post for your cat.
A good scratching post shouldn’t be too short, too unsteady, and it should be covered with the right material.
A good scratching post should be at least 30 inches high: tall enough for the cat to scratch while standing on her hind legs with the forelegs extended.
It must be sturdy, with a wide base, so that it does not wobble or topple over easily when used by your cat. Stability plays a big role in determining whether a cat will use a particular scratcher.
For the material, the best coverage is sisal fabric or a tightly wound sisal rope. Remember that scratching is also a form of marking behaviour and cats want to leave a visual mark.
Its tattered scratching post may not look good to you, but to your cat, it’s perfect. Don’t rush to replace it!
Some cats prefer a horizontal or slanted surface rather than a post. If you don’t provide an appealing scratching option, then don’t blame your cat if he starts to scratch your sofa. Provide several scratching posts with a different type if you can.
It’s Natural to Scratch
Scratching is a natural instinct that allows cats to mark their territory, play, release frustration, and keep their claws healthy.
It’s better to use a cat scratching post as a safe, economical, simple way, and allow your cat to continue all of his natural, daily routines without doing any damage to your furniture, carpets, or drapes.
If you want to buy a good one that has perches, playhouse, swinging ropes, climbing ladders, hammocks, baskets, platforms, running ramps, check out PetFoodCare!