Why Do Cat Scratch and How to Stop them from Scratching Furniture?

Why Do Cat Scratch and How to Stop them from Scratching Furniture?

It is so frustrating to live with a cat that keeps scratching your walls, sofa, or even clothes. The wolverine-worth set of claws can be so destructive, and the behavior won’t stop even after replacing the items with new ones. There are several reasons why cats scratch.

Your feline friend has developed the scratching behavior because of some reasons like:

  • Scratching is part of self-grooming
  • Scratch to scent mark their territory
  • Scratching is entertaining and relieves stress
  • Scratch to seek attention
  • Instinctive nature

Cat scratching is a biological behavior that has health importance and lots of benefits. It would be detrimental for your feline friend to stop the behavior. All you can do is help them relocate or train them on where their scratching behavior should occur.

If you pay attention to the scratching behavior, you will notice that your cat has specific door frames, furniture, or stairs. You can also find the behavior done on substrates indoors like fabrics, softwoods, carpets, or rough wallpapers.

Here’s a comprehensive insight as to why feline scratching is part of their inmate behavior.

1. Scratching is part of self-grooming

You might have seen a crescent-shaped nail on the mat or beside your cat’s scratching point. The cat sheds outer sheaths of the nail to introduce new sharp claws. Beneath the old shell of your cat’s claws, there are new healthy, sharp claws.

Cats have no way to trim their nails like we humans do it. To perform that, cats have evolved in a behavioral pattern that helps them trim their outgrown claws. So it makes sense to see your feline friend scratching the mat, door frames, or furniture.

The new sharp claws are essential for your cat in various ways. Cats use their nails in digging deep into the wood when trying to climb high points. Remember, cats can only jump about 5 to 6 times their body length.

However, sharp claws come in handy when trying to climb tree trunks or any other high point they desire.

2. Scratch to Scent Mark Their Territory

Scientist research shows that cats possess scent glands in their paws. Through kneading behavior, cats release a unique smell to the object they are kneading as a way of territory marking.

They are known to release a cat scent to the scratched object making territory marks. However, the kneading behavior is often accompanied by cat scratching. That offers a visual symbol that shows other felines that a cat has been there before.

It is a biological behavior that feline is born with, and it a never-ending itch to scratch objects.

3. Scratching is entertaining and relieves stress

Similar to a cat stretch, cat scratching behavior helps relieve stress and as well entertain themselves. When scratching, there is a lot of body movement that takes place. That makes scratching a full-body experience.

Have you ever seen a cat wake up after long hours of sleep? Whether yes or no, cats will always stretch, showing off their sharp claws. They will often visit their scratching point to make a whole-body exercise of scratching.

The behavior helps them relax their muscles increasing the blood flow, flexibility, and motion wise. In the process, stretching out is another way of feline relieving stress. The scratching process also works in calming feline down, thus keeping stress levels low.

4. Scratch to Seek Attention

When felines find out there are abandoned, you will find them scratching objects accompanied by catcalls. They are doing that to seek your attention. Cats will also call out for help by scratching. The behavior is visible when the door is locked, and they have no access to getting out.

The behavior can also be part of defense in case they feel threatened. It can be a defense warning to stop what you are doing. Touching a cat’s tummy can be irritating so beware of not getting your hand scratched.

Cats can aggressively scratch and when the behavior is persistent, consider speaking with a certified behaviorist about the issue. Behaviorists can train out the cats’ behavior, but it will take time to succeed.

5. Instinctive Nature

Felines are instinctive scratchers inherited from their ancestors. Therefore, the spontaneous itch forces them to scratch items. The primary purpose is just the need to scratch. Additionally, the need to keep their claws clean and disinfect makes them scratch items.

The urge is irresistible which has no signs of ending soon. Cat parents should consider promoting natural behavior by providing cats with scratching objects like scratching posts or mats. That will keep them off from destructive behavior on house furniture.

Home Hacks To Stop a Cat from Scratching furniture.

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The appropriate way to tame your cat from scratching furniture is by teaching her on a new scratch point. That can involve providing your feline with a new surface or objects to scratch. You can design things such as scratching mats, poles, or pads.

A cat scratching is a normal behavior found across all feline families. It is a behavior that cat parents can manage with plan and patience. No feline is on a mission to revenge when they destroy your door furnishings but instead want to satisfy their needs.

Let’s have a look at a few hacks that will help you change your cat’s destructive behavior. The steps will help tune the cat’s behavior to define the locations that you want.

1. Provide some different post textures on various designated locations

Since it is a try and error method of tricking your cat, consider providing posts from different materials. You can select materials like softwood (pine), cardboard, sisal, carpeting cover, or upholstery.

Also, consider placing the post in horizontal and vertical positioning. The positioning will promote the natural environment that would turn into a favorite for your cat. You will find that some cats prefer slanted posts while others prefer vertical positioning.

Keep a close eye on the preferred scratching position to add more in the same design in various locations. Remember to provide firm posts that will not collapse when the cats begin sturdy on them.

A taller post than your cat’s scratch orientation is the best to help the cat stretch out fully. Some will climb and scratch, requiring a much taller post. When you know which scratching position excites your cat, the quicker it takes to adopt your newly designed scratching posts.

2. Encourage Regular Visits to New Scratching Points


The whole feline family likes playing, and thus, an opportunity that cat parents can use to track them down. You can opt to hang playing toys or to scent the posts with catnip. That will prompt your cat to climb on the bars.

Besides, it will minimize boredom and keep the cat occupied most of its free time. You can encourage playing by tossing or dangling ribbons. Additionally, your cat needs to forage, and you can promote that by providing toys that give back treats when scratched.

3. Cover-up the Favorite Scratching Points

If you relocate or cover the favorite scratching point, your cat will begin searching for new better scratching points. For instance, when the cat likes scratching the speakers, consider placing them at a higher end or make them face the wall.

You can also consider covering the place with hard plastics, double-sided sticky tape, or sandpaper. You can also use cat scratch spray to trick your feline friend that it has already made territory markings.

Provide your cat with scratching options next to whatever you covered. That will encourage your cat to try the new objects on sight. They should be much better to win your cat’s desires.

That will discourage it from scratching points that you do not desire. You can either opt to buy a cat spray or make a homemade cat scratching spray. All you need is vinegar, garlic, citrus oils, and peppermint to end scratching on furniture.

4. Consider wearing your cat plastic caps on its claws

Plastic claws are known to be efficient in protecting couches and other home furniture. The plastic cap claws are temporary. They are known to last within four to six weeks before being replaced with new ones.

Scratch Pause Cat Nail https://www.amazon.com/ScratchPause-Cat-Nail-Caps-Alternative/dp/B07NDMBL81 is one of the plastic claws you can purchase.

Also, a similar option of cat socks has proven to work efficiently. Both methods still keep the cats to their usual behaviors but with no destruction in the end. It also maintains the feline behavior without causing collapses.

5. Train your cat

Gradual training of your cat is essential to ensure your cat does not scratch the inappropriate furniture. Cat parents can gently begin the training process by clapping hands. The moment you find the cat red-handed in action, clap hands to inform it to stop.

You can also squirt water to the animal when you find it in action. However, the form of training (clapping or splashing water) should come as the last option. Your cat may start fearing you and can associate the cat parent with anger.

Read also: Best Cat Trees With Beds for Large Cats

What Not To Do When Your Cat Scratches

Since scratching is an innate behavior in feline, just like grooming or burying their poop, it is tough to stop the behavior. Besides, there are ways to train the cat on doing scratching on suitable objects.

During the training process, most feline parents lose the relationship that existed earlier before. But here are the four things that feline parents should avoid when doing training.

1. Don’t Yell to Make a Point.

When performing the training, avoid shouting at your cat. Therefore, both speak a different language; thus, don’t be fooled that raising your voice will make your cat understand. A change in your voice tone can mean something different to your cat.

Yelling scares your cat, and it can drive to negative behaviors. It can also cause anxiety with your cat or even stress that can lead to misbehavior. Always maintain the tone and use signs like waving your finger to the cat.

2. Don’t Physically Discipline your Feline.

Training can be so nagging at times, but that should not make you physically discipline a cat. Their bodies and bones are prone to injuries caused by any form of human punishment. Physical punishment is another way of breaking the relationship with your feline friend.

Avoid hold down or hitting your cat, for that can physically harm your cat. In some situations, the cat will fight back, causing danger to you. It also appears harsh to cats, making a living more difficult. That can lead to your pet running away from home.

When the training is difficult, you can opt for a professional cat trainer. They will help you instill good behavior without losing friendship at any given time.

3. Don’t compare a dog with Your Cat.

When you see unwanted behavior with your cat, discipline should be handled differently with other pets like dogs. The cats and dogs are very different animals despite them occupying your home as pets.

A dog listens to your commands, and it is much different for the cats to sit or stand as requested. Your cat will not understand or heed your orders. Therefore, get to realize that the approach is much different.

4. Don’t allow misbehaving plays.

Playtime can go beyond swatting or biting your couch. However, some may tear or destroy your sofa or clothes using their razor-sharp claws. Use things like ribbons or toys to keep them away from playing with your favorite dress.

Encourage your kitten to play in open places by engaging with them in their plays. Keeping them active in their free time will occupy their thoughts in grooming their tough nails.


Should you declaw your feline?

Declawing is not the solution to resolving scratching problems. Scientist says declawing has shown no behavior improvements and should not be used as a remedy or preventative measures in the feline.

The amputation of claws can cause significant pain when recovering from the surgery. However, it has no benefits but rather causes uneasy walking styles and risks injuries from prey or other intruding cats.

Many alternatives would keep off the natural scratching behaviors and prevent your cat from injuries when scratching. They include claws trimming to ensure blunt tips, providing your feline with scratching posts, pads, and other objects.

As a cat parent, you should also familiarize yourself with various cat behaviors and the best handling techniques to avoid scratching.

What are the options for scratching items?

There are various scratching objects in the market. But for the first trail, try as many textures as possible to get the best that suits your cat. You can either get scratching materials made of cardboard, sisal, softwood (Pine tree), corrugated, carpet covers, or woven covered posts.

This straight cat scratching post or a Cat Scratcher Couch Protector gives your cat the ideal place to exercise her instincts.

Eachigher-endjects provided should be taller than the horizontal orientation of your cat. Place the things in various locations and at different angles. Ensure that the object remains appropriately fixed to prevent collapsing when cats climb on them or begin scratching.

Are scratching poles safe for my cat?

Yes, pole scratching is the best preferred for your feline. It is the best method of maintaining a healthy habit with your kitten. Posts are among the most loved scratching objects to stick and pull out their claws when grooming.

Despite having more scratching objects, scratching poles are the best for providing a natural phenomenon in the cats scratching behaviors.

Despite having bought a scratching post, my cat uses it but still uses the sofa. What is the best solution?

There are various ways to deter your feline from scratching furniture once you provide it with a scratching object. You can opt to low-tack the double-sided adhesive tape. It is possible and easy to stick the tape on unwanted scratching areas.

The tape is not too sticky, but it will provide an unpleasant scratching surface for your feline. You can opt to rearrange the furniture and opt for covering scratched areas with plastic covers. You can also let the areas face the walls.

What should I do to the damaged wooden surfaces?

If you have your wooden surfaces damaged, you must remove the scratch markings using sandpaper. Whether it is the door frames, furniture, or banisters damaged, it ensures the markings are not visible. You can also treat the areas with a thick polish layer once the surface is smooth.

Move the scratching posts near the scratching points. If the surface is not favorable for standing a scratch station, opt to move the furniture bit by bit until the cat adopts a scratching station as an option.

Read also: 10 Best Cat Caves 2021(Reviewed By Cats)


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