Natural Scratching Instincts

Why Your Cat Does it and How to Keep Your Furniture Safe

As a cat parent, you will have noticed that your cat has the urge to scratch. Keep in mind that those sharp little claws are designed for survival: when it comes to hunting and defence, claws help keep cats alive. Such important weaponry needs maintenance, though, and that’s where scratching comes in. When cats scratch, they sharpen their nails, they stretch and they keep mentally healthy, too. Lastly, scratching serves important communicative purposes.

Natural Scratching Instincts

November 29, 2018

Scratching is a highly complex behaviour, related to physical, mental and social health. It is an essential, instinctual behaviour that is necessary for a cat’s overall well-being. Trying to stop this behaviour by scolding or punishing would therefore be highly detrimental to your cat and could have a negative effect on your relationship.

Scratch Options

It’s extremely important to ensure that your cat has multiple appropriate scratching options. There are many different scratch posts and cat gyms available on the market, as well as DIY options online, but it’s important to obtain or make one that is suitable for your cat’s needs:

  • The vertical scratching surface must be long enough to allow your cat to stretch out to her full extent.
  • Some cats also enjoy horizontal surfaces, and these should be provided as an alternative option. Corrugated cardboard scratch pads are cheap and easily available for this purpose. And don’t throw out any suitable branches when you’re trimming the trees in your garden – place them in outside areas as natural scratching pads.
  • They must be stable, as a wobbly post could startle a cat.
  • Texture is also important, and sisal is a commonly used material that most cats find tempting, and it is also effective at keeping claws healthy. Carpet materials are not as effective, as many cats can get their claws stuck in carpeting.
  • The position of the post or gym is a vital factor. Keep scratching options in high-traffic cat areas. Putting a post in a dark corner of an unused room is unlikely to attract your cat’s attention.



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