Cats can bring so much joy to an owner but also plenty of frustration when they decide to claw the furniture or carpet. But there are a number of reasons why cats perform this behaviour, and ways you can help minimise it.
Why do cats scratch?
First of all, this is not a deliberate attempt to destroy your beautiful belongings at home. The cat is not being malicious and thus you shouldn’t get angry at your furry feline.
- Scratching is a way that cats remove the dead outer husk of the claws, which is important to keep them sharp.
- Scratching exercises the muscles of the forelimbs and spine which helps keep the cat in prime condition for hunting.
- Scratching is a form of territorial behaviour (commonly used in the wild on trees). Scent and sweat glands on the feet mix to produce a unique smell, helping them mark their territory.
Cats commonly scratch your furniture because it is a convenient vertical surface for them.
They will also often scratch vigorously when their owner is around. This is a sign of territorial confidence.
How can I stop my cat clawing?
A number of countries allow owners to de-claw their animals. But this is illegal in Australia as it is painful for the animals and considered cruel.
A more humane way to reduce scratching is to trim your cats claws regularly. If you are not confident doing this, your local vet can take care of it for you.
Investing in a scratching post can also help wean your kitty off your furniture and carpet. If you have multiple cats it might be worth buying one for each animal – think territorial.
And if you’re worried about having your fancy couch torn up still, think about using a few strategically placed throw rugs, or spraying a commercial scratching deterrent onto the surfaces you want to protect.