You are likely familiar with your cat’s habit of scratching everything in your house. Or at least it seems that way sometimes.
But if you really zero in and pay attention to your cat’s habit, you will notice that it scratches certain things at certain times and in certain ways. And there is a reason for all of these differences.
So now let’s answer your question ‘Why do cats scratch carpet and furniture?’ before you completely lose your cool and do something irrational with your cat! Please read this especially if you are considering declawing your cat. This should NEVER be done and you have better options than this.
Why Does My Cat Keep Scratching Things?
Scratching is a normal part of cat instinct and behavior. They’re not doing it to piss you off or get even, they’re doing it partly because they have to.
Here are all the reasons that cats need to scratch:
- To remove the outer layer of their claws
- To mark their territory. Both male and females will mark their territories with physical/visual markings and with scents through glands in their feet.
- To stretch their claws, feet, and body. You might not be aware of this but cat claws are part of their skeletal structure just like our fingers are. The only difference is that they retract theirs into their paws.
Now you can see why they need to be stretched if you imagine your fingers being cramped up in a small compartment like their paws.
- To find comfort or feel good like how you feel when you have a good stretch or massage
What Kind of Materials Do Cats Like To Scratch?
Cats like to scratch materials that are rough and textured that do not give easily. It has to be something that they can really sink their claws into and get a good feel of.
Painfully so, sometimes this can be our skin if we don’t teach them not to scratch us. This is one reason that it’s important not to use your hands as ‘playthings’ for your cat.
Now if you think about it, you probably don’t see your cat scratching the fridge or the TV because these appliances aren’t made of materials that cats like to scratch. Don’t get me wrong, they may lay or even stretch their bodies across these but they usually don’t scratch them.
In nature, this would usually be a tree however indoors some materials cats love to scratch include:
- natural woods like oak, pine, and maple
- natural, untreated rope like sisal and coconut ropes
- house grade carpets (which is why your cat may scratch the floor)
- mesh, like what covers speakers (not sure what the exact name is but personal confession, that’s what I used as my ‘first cat tree‘ was a giant car speaker that didn’t work anymore, haha! ^^; )
- rubber like tires or large erasers
So you can see why your cat seems to be addicted to scratching your furniture and floors no matter how much times you tell it not to. But there is a way to keep their claws happy without shredding your house apart and we’ll be discussing it later on in this article so keep reading!
When Do Cats Scratch?
Cats are pretty habitual, instinct-driven animals. This means that their habits are pretty regimented and pretty much predictable once you know what to look for.
If you spend time watching and documenting your cat’s behavior, you’ll notice the same and can better plan to intercept or teach your cat to scratch on more appropriate surfaces.
Cats tend to scratch:
- when they first wake up. Like we usually stretch, yawn and other actions when we wake up, so do cats but they tend to scratch as a part of it.
- they scratch when marking their territory.
- they scratch when they are excited about something like when they get in their excited, frenzy state or maybe your about to feed them when they’re really hungry.
I can agree that my cats do all of the above especially when I start the ‘Feeding Animals’ ritual part of the morning. There are active paws in the background until their bowls get placed which is always after the dogs to keep them from eating their food instead.
Yes, my dogs do eat the cat food when given the chance but my cats also want to eat the dog food when given the chance. I’m yet to figure out if this is a good or bad thing but from my research at least I know its a normal thing, hehe.
How Do Cats Scratch
Cats need to scratch both vertically, up and down, and horizontally, side to side. As you can imagine this is for both comfort and necessity.
Thinking about when we stretch, we tend to turn directions to get the right muscle or area. Your cat is the same. In order to stretch the right area, it has to change directions.
Also, marking territory works in the same way. It’s not enough to just have markings or scents up high or down low or facing one direction, it must be all of the above.
How To Stop Your Cat From Scratching The Furniture
Now that you understand how much scratching means to your cat I hope this has brought you to figuring out better options to keep your cat in your household. I also hope that if you were considering declawing that you realize how detrimental it will be to their instincts not to mention other harmful effects of this procedure.
If anything, you can try trimming your cat’s claws but that can be challenging because your cat likely won’t keep still.
The best plan of action that you can take to stop your cat from scratching is to get a scratching surface that is specially designed to speak to them better than your couch does. This can be as simple as a scratching post or a larger cat tree.
My recommendation to you is to get a sturdy, good quality cat tree. This is because it is more likely to get and KEEP your cat’s attention because it satisfies your whole cat.
By that I mean, a cat tree doesn’t just get your cat’s scratching under wraps but it gives your cat its own place to sleep, play, climb, and jump all over. It will claim it as its own, so that will also take care of territorial scratching as well.
The good news about cat trees is that there are so many different styles for just about every kind of cat you can imagine whether its a small, large, old, or young cat. There are even cat trees for your cat if it has mobility or joint issues like arthritis!
To find out more information on cat trees and choosing the best one for you, your cat and your household situation, you have come to the right place because we have a guide that will walk you through everything you need to know.
Click on the button below to get started and if you ever have any questions, please feel free to leave them in the comments box below any post on this website.Click here to learn more about finding the best cat climbing structures for your cat!