Scratching in Cats
is part of normal behavior in cats.
It serves many useful purposes such
Removing the dead outer layer of
Marks their territory by leaving both
a visual mark and a scent (They
have scent glands on their paws.)
Stretches their bodies, feet and
Works off energy
your cat is not born knowing instinctively
that she should not scratch on pretty
couches that cost a lot of money and on
other furnishing, it is your job to each
you want to change where she is scratching
you need to make the inappropriate
scratching site unattractive to her while,
at the same time, providing her with
appealing appropriate areas to scratch.
Doing this involves the following (as
taken from the Denver Dumb Friends League at
are several ways to make the inappropriate
area unappealing. You can cover the inappropriate objects with something your
cat will not like, such as double-sided
sticky tape, aluminum foil, sheets of
sandpaper or a plastic carpet runner with
the pointy side up.
Or you may give the objects an
aversive odor by attaching cotton balls
containing perfume, a muscle rub or other
Be careful with odors, though,
because you donít want the nearby
acceptable objects to also smell unpleasant.
the same time you need to provide your cat
with appealing, acceptable areas to scratch.
These included cat scratch posts
(such as rope-wrapped posts), corrugated
cardboard or even a log.
the acceptable object(s) near the
inappropriate object(s) that sheís already
Make sure the acceptable objects are
stable and wonít fall over or move around
when she uses them.
your cat is consistently using the
appropriate object, it can be moved very
gradually (no more than 3 inches per
day) to a location more suitable to you.
Itís best, however, to keep the
appropriate scratching objects as close to
your catís preferred scratching locations
remove the unappealing coverings or odors
from the inappropriate objects until your
cat is consistently using the appropriate
objects in their permanent locations for
several weeks, or even a month.
They should then be removed
gradually, not all at once.
should not punish your cat for scratching
unless you actually catch her in the process
of scratching on the inappropriate object
and have provided her with acceptable
Punishment after the fact wonít
change the behavior, may cause her to be
afraid of you and may elicit defensive
Punishment should never involve
hitting or hurting her in any way. Appropriate punishments when you catch her in the act of
scratching on something inappropriate
include loud noises (using a whistle,
shaking a can filled with rocks, slapping
the wall) or giving her a firm ďnoĒ.
Declawing should never be done! There are many very important reasons for this:
Declawed cats tend to be more
aggressive and display more biting than cats
who are not declawed.
Declawed cats are significantly more
likely to urinate outside the litter box
than cats who have not been declawed.
Declawed cats can never be allowed
outdoors because they cannot climb high
places to escape predators and cannot defend
Declawed cats cannot climb high cat
scratch posts or condos for exercise.
Declawing is illegal or considered
inhumane in many countries including
Australia, Austria, England, Germany, Spain
well-meaning people have their cats declawed,
only then to be left with the problem of a
cat who urinates outside the litter box
(such as on the carpet) and who cannot be
Such cats are at risk for having
their humans turn them over to shelters for