In the cats vs. dogs debate, one of the biggest points against cats is that these pets scratch. While we have seen dogs do the same, we still feel that cats do more of this regularly. If you never had a cat for a pet, the chances are high that you will not be able to relate with even half of what we will discuss in this article. So you can get off this page, you aren’t missing anything! But if you are someone who had their furniture destroyed recently by the incessant cat scratching, we dare say you will find plenty that will interest you a lot. This reading is all about cat scratching, the reasons why they do it, and of course, how can you stop cats from scratching. So, without further ado, let us have a look at the reasons why cats scratch!
Do you know why cats scratch?
Assuming that you don’t know the answer to this question (or else why wouldn’t you jump to the next section), we are going to list the most common reasons for cat scratching. We reckon some of these will surprise you!
It must have made you a little more bitter as you read these words, sitting over the leather sofa that depicts claw marks painted all over it. But it is what it is. Cats do this scratching act, sometimes, purely for the sake of stretching. You would think they would wise up once their moms and dads start throwing tantrums at their ridiculous antics but again, it is what it is. Your sofa is ruined already. Don’t you want to know what muscles got stretched due to this destructive bit of flexing? Well, pretty much every muscle from neck to toe gets a little warmed up as claws get into the action.
This will sound a bit like Morse code, but we got to say since it is what it is. Humans use fancy stickers, gold ribbons, or little spotting pins to pin something important. Why shouldn’t cats use some method of marking down what sounds important to them? If you are new to pet care, or more like petting a cat, you should know that a cat’s paws have scent glands. So, when your cat is scratching and tearing down the surface of that leather sofa you love so much, the intention is to mark down something important. It is just your misfortune that what your cat thinks worth marking is also something costly. It will mentally upset your cat if you grab the pet by claws every time it raises its claws. Please wait a bit more; we will tell you some good ways of stopping cats from scratching!
We understand that the word maintenance alone might have sounded a bit ambiguous to you.
So, let us explain this and build upon it. What do cats maintain by scratching? Claw health. This is something important to your cat, and the sooner you grasp the idea, the better it is for your cat’s health. Understanding how scratching helps your cat’s claws isn’t complicated to understand. You see, a cat needs to shed the outer regions of its nails, a practice common in other animals as well. This is one of the simplest ways in which a cat maintains its claw health, and we are glad that you got the point so quickly!
4- Relieving stress
What do you do when you feel restless and listless? What is the most common involuntary action that any human performs when they are feeling stressed? The answers can vary, but we feel that the most common reflex is to scratch the head or pull out some hairs. Some chew nails when they are anxious. Well, the feline way of releasing stress is to scratch. It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that cats do go through phases of depression where they don’t eat up or play a lot. In such a state of depression, scratching can become violent as well.
There are two angles to this. Your cat might be scratching just because you denied a treat on offer. To express resentment or anger, your cat can take it out on the branded chintz fabric that you just bought. Conversely, just for the sake of pure fun, your cat might be scratching on purpose to annoy you. We admit that sounds a bit far-fetched, but observation tells us this much. In any case, it doesn’t sound fun at all.
How to stop cats from scratching
Right, where is the antidote? How do you stop your cat from scratching and ruining your precious possessions? We will discuss a seven-step plan that will help you at least minimize, if not prevent, scratching completely. Follow these steps for some peace!
The first step in this plan is to go shopping. What are you going to shop for? Well, to solve the problem of scratching, you will have to buy the opposite. Enough beating around the bush; we are talking about cat scratching toys. Well, toys stretch the imagination a wee bit since scratching posts are also available in the market. However, we will leave that up to your imagination and, instead, focus on how these artifacts can be helpful to your cause. Your cat will have a place to scratch instead of your furniture, isn’t it great? The features you should be looking for when you buy a scratching post are length, strength, and sturdiness.
Now that you have your perfect scratching post, the next item on the list is its placement. Where are you going to put it? We hope that you bought more than one since you need to place them strategically all around the house. Anyhow, the places where your cat loves to hang out the most are prime targets for the placement of these posts. You might also want to move around the furniture a bit as well and place one of these posts over there.
Linking to the previous point, you would want to do something to your valuable furniture that makes it look an unappealing spot rather than for your cat to scratch on. You can use smells, e.g., citrus, that cats don’t like or wrap the most exposed area of the furniture with some sheet for the time being.
4- Setting the trap
You have sprayed the averting stuff on your furniture. What do you do with the scratch posts? Exactly the opposite. It would help if you sprayed something on these scratch toys which will allure your pet towards them. Catnip is a good option, but we dare say you need to factor in the preferences of your pet as well.
5- Fathoming the feline instincts
This is going to sound odd, but you need to scratch on the posts first. Your cat will follow suit if everything goes well. This is one of the oldest tricks in the book when it comes to grabbing the attention of your pet. You can pretend to scratch on the post while your cat watches you suspiciously from the corner of the room. Ten bucks say the pet will follow suit!
6- Observing the change
You have done your part, now is the time to wait and see. Does your cat respond to your strategy or not? The important thing to consider here is, of course, the time. You need to be patient throughout this scheme of events!
Well, if everything goes right, you have every reason to celebrate this marvelous feat. On the other hand, if things don’t work out for you, you will have to think about something even more innovative. Or, as we discuss in the next section, get the vet!
Get the vet
We have discussed a strategic plan which can prevent excessive scratching on your cat’s part. However, if nothing works for your cat, the wisest thing to do would be to consult a veterinarian. A professional can diagnose your pet’s problem in a much quicker and efficient manner. The chances are high that you will still have to follow the plan we have discussed elaborately in this discussion. It is one of the most successful plans out there! Yet, the vet might have a magical pill saved up his sleeve; you can never know for sure!
Well, that will be all from this discussion, folks. We wish we could go on a bit more, but the limitations of time and space force us to conclude this discussion. Nevertheless, we feel we have covered enough aspects of scratching to give you an insight that isn’t so easily available in the 21st century. At this point of conclusion, you must be able to recall at least three reasons why cats scratch. Not only that, but you should also be able to follow the plan that we have described in detail. What is that sound? Claws and paws? Your cat is coming, we better rush. Bye!