My cat has been scratching my furniture. What to do?

Scratching is natural behaviour for cats. They sharpen their nails, lodge their claws into something while stretching after a nap or when they want to play with you. When your cat has been scratching your furniture, it is probably lacking a scratching post. Below a number of recommendations for preventing unwanted scratching behaviour in the house.

Make the scratching post appealing

A cat needs to sharpen its nails. It will do that by scratching something. This can be a sofa, the stairs carpet or the doormat in the hallway. A good scratching post will help prevent your cat from scratching furniture or other objects in the house. Put some treats on the scratching post at first to make it extra appealing. An alternative is to spray some catnip onto the scratching post. When you see that your kitten is scratching something it isn’t supposed to, pick it up and put it down next to the scratching post.

Reasons for scratching

A cat has several reasons to scratch. Understanding the reasons behind this behaviour will help you understand why your cat has been scratching your furniture.

• Sharpening their nails

Cats don’t actually sharpen their nails. Instead, they use the rough material to scratch off the outer layer of their nails, revealing the sharp nails underneath. This means that scratching is part of your cat’s natural personal hygiene regimen.

• Demarcating their territory

Cats also spread their scent by scratching, which demarcates their territory. The soles of their feet contain little glands that spread their scent. In the wild, cats prefer to use trees for this purpose.

• Reducing stress

Sometimes cats scratch out of frustration. For example, because other cats are in the vicinity or when it wants to go outside but the door is closed.

• Stretching the muscles

A cat will always want to stretch after a nap; this is often accompanied by scratching. Placing its front legs on a scratching post allows it to have a good stretch while exercising the muscles in its front legs. It is always a good idea to keep a scratching post near its favourite sleeping spot!

For this reason, a cat-friendly home will always have a scratching post.

Playing

Scratching you by jumping into your legs is an invitation to play.


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