The 4 Most Important Things to Know About Cats and Scratching

It might not be your favorite topic, but it’s important to your cat. Scratching is a normal part of cat behavior.  Our job is to understand it and direct it in a way that serves our feline companions while best protecting our home.

  1. Most cat owners know that cats scratch to groom their claws.  You might not know that when cats scratch, they are also marking in two ways.  Scratch marks are a visual sign that a cat has declared its presence.  In addition, there are scent glands in the paw pads that deposit pheromones during the act of scratching.  
    With this in mind, you will want to position the scratching posts in prominent locations in your home, where you and your cats spend the most time.  Has your cat already found a location or two in the house where they like to scratch? (Some might call it destroy...) Try placing a scratching post there
  2. A good scratch helps to stretch a cat’s muscles.  A proper scratching post should be tall enough for your cat to fully stretch out and sturdy enough so that it won’t wobble or topple over during a vigorous stretch.  If you don’t provide this choice for your cat, it is likely that your cat will find his own solution…like your sofa or favorite chair.    
  3. Some cats like a vertical scratching post, but others prefer a horizontal one.  Favorite materials are sisal, corrugated cardboard and wood.  Stay away from loop carpet, as claws can get stuck.  
  4. Scratching is a stress reliever for cats.  If you find your cat is scratching more than you would like, look to relieve other sources of stress?  Do you have enough environmental enrichment in your home?