How to Cut Back Your Cat's Scratching
Why does my cat scratch so much?
First of all, scratching is great exercise! Do you like to stretch when you wake up in the morning? Your cat certainly does! When cats scratch, they stretch out their back, legs and paws, and do a little pampering - scratching to file, sharpen and clean their claws.
Cats like to feel relaxed in their own space, and use a number of methods to communicate their territory. Scratching is one way for your cat to make their mark on their home, signal their presence to other animals, and feel happy knowing that their territory is safe. Even when cats live in homes without other cats, they feel this need to communicate territory, just in case.
The natural urge to scratch is strong for cats; if a surface looks and feels good, they may find it hard to stay away! Because of this, it’s important to respect your cat’s instincts. Ensure their needs are met by providing alternative scratching options!
Your cat will naturally seek out a range of places to do this act - so you should never try to stop them completely. But, we know sometimes their favourite spot is somewhere unsuitable: sofas, curtains or hair (maybe the latter even more so during lockdown with no hairdressers!).
How can I cut back my cat’s scratching act?
Get a scratching post
If you don’t already have a scratching post in the house, make sure there’s at least one scratching post or mat available per cat. Your kitties should always have scratching options, ideally near their favourite spots! Tip: Cats often like to scratch after waking up; so it’s a good idea to put a scratching post by your cat's bed. It’s the cat equivalent of a cup of morning coffee! - a cat-uccino, if you will.
We all know breaking a bad habit can be hard without a little help. For your cat, the sight and scent marks from previous scratching creates a tempting reminder to scratch again! To help them move away from inappropriate areas, make sure you clean any marks you find with a simple water and soap remedy to remove the scent.
All cats are different, and it may take time to redirect their nail sharpening. Never punish your cat for scratching in the wrong place - instead, work with them to discourage unwanted scratching. With support, praise, encouragement, patience and love, they’ll soon learn that the scratching post is the best option!
Of course, even the most purrfect kitty may struggle to change their habits. Our partners at FELIWAY have solutions like their (sprayed on other surfaces, not the post), which can create a reassuring place for your cat to scratch, and prevent them from choosing other, inappropriate areas.