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Why Cats Love To Scratch So Much

Everyone who owns a cat knows just how much they love to scratch their claws on things, climbing up curtains, ripping up carpets and doing a few other things that can prove to be a little annoying. But why do catch adore pulling at things they find around the house with their claws? Many people assume cats do this so they can keep their claws nice and sharp and to a certain extent this is true but studies have shown that our feline friends actually scratch things as a form of communication.

You might have noticed how your cat scratches at the bark of a tree, on a gate post or another piece of wood they find in the garden or around your house. Research has shown that this behaviour in cats is indeed their way of telling the world and other cats just what they are up to and where they happen to be. However, cats also scratch on things to stretch their legs and there's nothing nicer than seeing a feline friend stretching because they do it so elegantly and slowly.

Finding the Perfect Scratching Post

If you find your cat is pulling at your upholstered furniture and making it look tried and tatty, you might want to consider investing in a well made, good quality scratching post for them so they can focus on that and not your precious furniture. With this said, you need to buy your furry friend the “right” type of scratching post and one which is sturdy, strong and quite high so that your cat will be able to climb up it which allows them to have a good stretch too.

Scratching posts with lots of sisal rope on them are an ideal choice but there needs to be lots of corrugated cardboard, some wood and a little bit of carpeting on the post too. A lot of cat owners find that if they place the scratching post next to where they pets like to sleep it works really well because they find their cats like to use them after they have had a “cat nap” or two.

A Cat's Favourite Scratching Spot in the Garden

Cats tend to stick to favourite places where they like to have a scratch and a stretch and you can easily spot where these are because they will be very well marked. Cats have scent glands in their paws, so when they do scratch at anything they are indeed leaving their scent for the world to know that this is their territory and the same applies to furniture in your house!

So What Are Cats Telling Each Other When they Scratch Things?

It's still unclear just what cats are telling each other when they scratch at things but both female and male cats behave this way whether it's inside on your furniture or outside on a favourite object. However, the consensus of opinion is that it is more than likely a territorial marker or warning that tells other cats that might wander along that they are trespassing on your cats domain.

The thing to remember is that if your cat has destroyed your furniture or made a real mess of a chair leg or two, they have not done this to annoy or upset you but rather because they are trying to communicate with the world through the scent marks they leave behind on the things they've scratched! So in truth, although people know about the scent glands on the side of a cat's mouth, they may not have realised that cats have glands on their paws too!

How To Prevent Your Cat From Ruining Your Furniture

If you find that your cat or cats are destroying your house with their scratching antics, then it might be time to attempt to do something about it to reduce the damage they are causing. The best way to go about it is to provide your cat with a brilliant indoor alternative to the arm of your best sofa in the form of a well designed scratching post.

Below are a few tips on how to establish what your cat can scratch in the house:

  • Invest in 2 or 3 good quality scratching posts and place them strategically around your house, making sure one is near where your cat loves to sleep and the others where they like to play
  • You can make your own scratching posts if you are good at making things which could work out a lot less expensive than buying them
  • Never try to force your cat to use a scratching post but be patient and let them do it on their own
  • You can tempt your cat to use the post by hanging toys that dangle from it, you can also place some catnip on the post so it encourages your cat to rub against the post
  • Remember to offer lots of praise and rewards every time you see your cat using their scratching post so you encourage them to use it even more! 

What About Older Cats – Can You Teach Them?

It is possible to teach an old cat new tricks so they start using a scratching post whether it's one you purchased or made yourself. The way to go about teaching them not to scratch on your furniture but rather on the post is to do the following:

  • Cover the damaged furniture with some thick plastic so that when your cat goes to scratch on it, they find it a lot less appealing – the plastic cover only has to be a temporary measure until they learn to use their new posts!
  • Place their new scratching post near to the furniture they usually like to use and make sure it is made of everything a cat would find appealing!

Conclusion

Cats are such lovely creatures and they have some very particular and unique habits. If you own a pussy cat who adores destroying the arms of your furniture or chair legs, you need to understand they are not doing this to be naughty but rather to mark their territory and as method of communication The best way to stop them from damaging items of furniture is to invest in some good quality scratching posts which your cat will have lots of fun using and you'll have great fun watching them do so, knowing your furniture is safe!


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