Why is my cat scratching my furniture?

Nov 13, 2020

Cats need to scratch! Scratching is a natural behaviour in cats and they need to scratch!

Instead of trying to stop them from scratching the aim is to encourage your cat to scratch in the right places!

Why do cats scratch? 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 is important to respect your cat’s instincts. Your cat will naturally seek out a range of places to scratch – so you should never try to stop them scratching completely.

Cats scratch for several reasons:

  • To remove the dead outer layer of their claws. Scratching allows the cat to 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 to other cats. Cats scratch to mark their territory by leaving both a visual mark and a scent (they have scent glands on their paws)
  • 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!

If they are scratching where they shouldn’t then try to provide alternative scratching options!

Scratching Posts:

One or multiple scratching posts are important! These are essential because scratching is normal cat behaviour.

A good scratching post should follow the following rules!

  • vertical, sturdy and tall enough (at least 1m)
  • placed near sleeping area and close to the scratched areas
  • at least 1 per cat

Feliway Diffuser or Spray and Feliscratch:

Here at Pymble Veterinary clinic we strongly recommend the use of Feliway diffusers, Feliway spray and Feliscratch!

Feliscratch sends a message to the cat, both visual (blue lines) and invisible (“pheromones”) that encourages the cat to scratch there.

Feliway spray can be a complementary solution, to be sprayed where the cat should NOT scratch.

We sell them at the clinic and the company offers a 4-week trial. If you have not found success with the product after this time they will give you a full refund.

Removing pheromones if your cat has already started scratching in the wrong place: Use an enzyme-based cleaner, as these break down all traces of the scent and pheromones.

Nail trims: This certainly won’t fix the problem but it may minimise the damage while your cat is learning to scratch in the right places. The best option is to have places for your cat’s to NATURALLY wear down their nails, however we understand that sometimes they need a little trim (particularly with inside cats). This just takes a little of the sharp point off the tip of the nails. Done properly it is just a quick trim and not painful to your cat. Our nursing staff will happily assist with this if you wish.

If problems persist please don’t hesitate to contact us at Pymble Vet on 94994010. One of our friendly and knowledgeable nurses would be glad to assist you! 

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