10 Reasons Why Your Cat Like To Scratch
As a cat owner, you must have noticed that cats like to scratch. Wadford Humane Society explains that scratching is natural for cats. Scratching helps to stretches 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. And it 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? I know it’s frustrating if your cat likes to scratch on inappropriate objects such as your furniture, sofas, rugs, carpets or walls. It’s hard to tell them not to do it, because of all the reasons above that cat enjoy. So what can you do? Well, all you need to do direct your cat to scratch at the right object. What is that? You need a scratching post.
Why Does Cat Like To Scratch?
The SF/SPCA Cat Behavior Department explains why the cat performs scratching. First, it’s important to understand a little bit about the physiology of the paw 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. Why do cats like to scratch?
- 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.
- Grooming: Sometimes cats feel itchy too. With their claws, they can scratch their own bodies.
- Play and Hunting: When you play with your cat, you might have noticed that they always try to catch the toys with their claw, actually it is demonstrating their predatory nature. In the wild, their claws are also an important tool in catching and killing their prey.
- Climbing and Running: Cats love to climb to high place either it’s 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.
- Kneading: Have you ever been “massaged” by your cat? When a cat rhythmically moves her paws on people, clothing or bedding, she is “re-enacting” the times of nursing her mom as a kitten. This is generally a sign of contentment! Clawing is often involved in kneading.
- Marking 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.
- Defense: 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 claw to scratch you.
- Communication: If you pay attention, claws might be communication from your cat to you. Many cats will gently extend their claws as a warning that they are annoyed by the current interaction (for example if you’re hugging them too hard).
- Shedding Claws: Claws is an extension of the cat’s skin made by keratin. Their claw is continually growing and must be removed to accommodate new growth. You can see the old nail coverings they have loosened nearby the scratching post.
- Stress Relief: Have you ever scolded your cat or when she just got out of a fight with another animal, you see her go mad right into her scratching post? Well, this is not your cat being an ungrateful child or getting back at you, but they do have their reason. When your cat is stressed or conflicted. Cats often resort to scratching as a “displacement” behavior. These behaviors 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 behavior is often wrongfully interpreted as the cat being “spiteful” or “getting back at the owner.”
Do Scratching Post Really Works For Cats?
Yes, the cat’s claw is continually growing and must be removed to accommodate new growth. By scratching a scratch post, the old claw will be eroded. It is better to put a scratching post inside your house rather than becoming your furniture becoming your cat’s scratching place.
Like every animal out there, cats like to mark 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 your time. They also like to scratch and stretch after nap time, so place it near where they sleep.
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 in a secluded place like the garage or your basement. Place it in a nice prominent area like in the corner of the sofa until she begins using the post. After that, you can move the post an inch toward 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 her to chase a toy or laser light to the post.
Using a 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 rub her paws on the post, 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!
Baltimore Animal Rescue and Catch Center also added that if you catch your cat scratching the wrong spot, don’t discipline them – this could make things worse. Simply redirect the cat to their scratching post and praise your cat when you see appropriate scratching. Make favorite furniture scratching spots undesirable by covering them with double-sided sticky tape or aluminum foil, or lightly spray 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. Nails or claws in cats grow continuously. Cat’s claws are an extension of the cat’s skin made by keratin. It must be removed to accommodate new growth.
The thing you should do first of all 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 cat’s nails will prevent cats 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 marking behavior and cats want to leave a visual mark. Her 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, click here.
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