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Why do cats scratch?

While it can be bothersome to owners, cats scratch for many different reasons. Scratching is a healthy, instinctual behaviour that owners should encourage. Here are just some of the reasons scratching helps our feline friends.

Exercise

Think of cats scratching like we think of yoga. While scratching, a cat will stretch their entire body from fingertip, or claw, down. It’s relaxing and is good for their overall health.

Grooming

When a cat scratches, they’re sharpening their claws and helping to remove their nail sheath. This is a good hygiene practice that helps prevent damage or ingrown claws.

Instinct

Cats have scent markers in between the pads of their paws. When they scratch, your cat’s leaving behind their scent to show others they’re in this area.

Mind games

Cats scratch to cause micro-tears to furniture, letting other cats know they’ve been around. They’ll also scratch to relieve stress.

How to stop cats scratching

You can stop cats scratching furniture by directing your pet to a scratch-friendly location and making the furniture less appealing.

  1. Buy a scratching post. 
    Cat posts come in all sizes and materials. If your cat doesn’t like the post they have, try another one. Change the size and try a different material like rope or carpet. Cat posts come both horizontal and vertical so keep trying until you find one they like. Place the scratching post near the place your cat’s been scratching furniture.
  2. Place double sided tape or products like sticky paws over the places they’ve been scratching. 
    Your cat won’t like the feeling of the tape on their claws.
  3. If your cat’s scratching under the bed buy a bed skirt to cover up the base and apply tape here too.

Trim your cats nails or take them to a groomer for a manicure.

Above all, remember that cats scratching is a natural, instinctual behaviour. If your cat’s excessively scratching it could be worth contacting your vet who could find out if your cat’s stressed or has claw damage.

Want to reduce your vet fees? Get an online pet insurance quote now and get up to 80% back on approved vet costs with RACQ Pet Insurance.

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