Cats Scratching the Surface

Understanding this basic cat behavior can salvage your furniture and save your relationship with your cat.

By Marty Becker, DVM, and Janice Willard, DVM | Posted: Tue Aug 3 00:00:00 PDT 2004

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Try placing double-sided sticky tape on the scratched object. Cats hate the sensation of something sticking to their paws. Tape can work in some locations, but it might damage your furniture.


4. Change the Post
When the cat scratching post begins to wear, don't just throw it out and set a new one in its place; a torn-up post is a neon sign in cat language.

"When it looks ugly because it is all shredded, that is what the cat wants," Dodman said. When you get ready to replace a post, set the new one next to the old one until both are being used. 

"All species have fundamental behavioral needs, and claw-marking in cats is one of these," Shepherdson said. "If you do not provide an animal with the opportunity to engage in its fundamental behavioral needs, then this would be a strong argument that the animal is suffering as a consequence."

Sitting on your couch or purring on your lap is a creature whose behavior is still firmly rooted in the wild. Instead of fighting your cat's wild heritage, revel in its desire to express it. Learn to appreciate that this creature loves you and trusts you enough to live with you. You can show your gratitude and affection by recognizing and understanding your cat's need to be a cat. A cat might easily say, "I claw, therefore I am."

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Reader Comments

Matt    Broken Arrow, OK

8/28/2015 6:53:05 AM

Before the arrival of my second cat, my first cat and I would play together all the time. Hide and seek, chase, etc. She would always run to her post to warm up her paws to play. Not so much anymore because she doesn't like me because of the new kitten.

lou    boston, MA

10/18/2013 3:28:25 AM

will pass on to a future cat owner

shannah    lynchburg, VA

1/11/2010 11:22:55 AM

this is an excellent web-site on how to train yor cat to scratch on the right things. since most people do spray them with water or bow on them to make them stop. by using yawning as a human example it helps owners gert a better feel of what they are doin to their animals. a must read if your cats are tearing up your stuff & also before they start!

Karen    Bellingham, MA

5/5/2009 6:10:48 AM

Great information/tips on cats and their 'natural' need to scratch. I wish more people would read this before thinking de-clawing is the answer; it is NOT.

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