Why Cats Scratch Furniture

Why Cats Scratch Furniture & How To Stop Them

Some cat owners are horrified to discover their cat is developing the habit of vigorously scratching at their furniture with its front feet. Not every cat will do this, but those that do can cause a lot of  damage to expensive furniture fabrics, and cause a great deal of frustration within a house proud family.

It’s a natural instinct, all cats like to scratch at things with their front feet. Usually the target of their attention is a tree in the garden, but when a cat is confined within a home it will look for alternatives.

From a cat’s point of view, the vertical fabric covered surface of your favorite arm chair is a rather good substitute for tree.

Some cats like to work on your carpet instead, especially if you have carpeted stairs where there are vertical surfaces.

There are several reasons why a cat will scratch with its front feet. The main one is to sharpen its front claws. The aim behind the clawing action is not so much to grind down the claws to a fine point, as to shed the old and worn outer husk-like layer on each claw. Under this old layer, a new and sharp claw layer takes its place. You will often find the shed claw layers where the cat has scratched.

Another reason for the scratching action is simply to exercise and strengthen the muscles in the front feet, which are so central to the natural hunting activity of a cat.

There is a third an lesser known reason, which is to pass on scent and to leave a mark, probably to help define the cat’s territory. Glands in the feet leave a scent where the cat has scratched. This purpose for scratching can help to explain why your favorite chair gets targeted for attention. The cat may simply wish to merge its scent in with yours, as it sees you as part of its family.

The solution to this problem is to encourage your indoor cat to use a purpose built scratching pole or pad instead. It is wise to provide this alternative very early and to encourage its habitual use.

Often scratching poles are carpet covered, and scratching pads offered at pet shops may be made of compressed cardboard.

Rubbing some catnip where you want the cat to scratch, or even placing some dried catnip under the carpet on the pole or under the scratching pad, is usually enough to attract the cat and start developing the desired habit.

It can help to add your scent by rubbing the scratching pole or pad with an unwashed t-shirt, as an alternative to the attraction of your favorite chair.

If you have left it too late to provide an alternative, you may have to spend the time to catch your cat in the act of scratching your furniture and take it to your alternative pole or pad, and rewarding its use with praise, patting and tidbits of food.

Unfortunately this can take some time and effort, which is why it is best to provide scratching facilities and encourage their use as soon as the cat joins your family.

Click the links for more furniture care tips and great furniture care products

Scratch Repair Products For Timber Furniture

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