Destructive Scratching

Why Do Cats Scratch?

  • To remove the dead outer layer of their claws.
  • To mark their territory by leaving both a visual mark and a scent – they have scent glands on their paws.
  • To stretch their bodies and flex their feet and claws.
  • To work off energy.

Scratching is a normal behavior, and one that cats are highly motivated to display. It is unrealistic to try to prevent them from scratching. Instead, the goal in resolving scratching problems is to redirect scratching onto acceptable objects.

Train Your Cat to Scratch Acceptable Objects

You must provide objects for scratching that are appealing, attractive and convenient from your cat’s point of view. Start by observing the physical features of the objects your cat is scratching. The answers to the following questions will help you understand your cat’s scratching preferences:

  • Where are they located?
  • What texture do they have?
  • What shape do they have?
  • How tall are they?

Now, considering your cat’s demonstrated preferences, substitute similar objects for her to scratch Place the acceptable object(s) near the inappropriate object(s) that she’s already using.  When your cat is consistently using the appropriate object, it can be moved very gradually to a location more suitable to you. It’s best, however, to keep the appropriate scratching objects as close to your cat’s preferred scratching locations as possible.

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