Cats are elegant, lovely animals who know exactly what they want when they want it and how they want it. If you haven’t had a cat before and now you plan to take one in, or you’re still adapting to the new family member, you’re probably wondering why this animal has the habits it has.
Cats love to sleep and will use every spare moment to take a nap. They also love snacks and will let you know that they’re super hungry even though you fed them like half an hour ago. But what’s perhaps the most distinctive trait about cats is that like to sharpen their claws. And if they are house cats, they will find a way to do it in your house. In this case, your favourite pieces of furniture may be the first ‘victims’.
Of course, you don’t want to buy a new designer sofa every couple of months. So, you’re probably trying to come up with the best way to prevent this so your cat can leave your sofa and the rest of the furniture alone.
First of all, don’t be mad at your cat whenever this happens. Scratching is totally normal, and cats don’t do it because they hate you (even though it may look like that). Often, getting a good cat scratching post Australia pet stores sell is enough to curb this behaviour.
But before you go shopping for a scratch post along with other essential cat supplies before you adopt, here’s what you should know.
The Reasons Behind Your Cat’s Destructive Scratching Behaviour
How frustrating it is to see your cat scratching its claws on your new sofa or armchair? If you don’t take preventative measures, you will probably catch your cat while scratching your furniture, and she will keep doing it like it’s none of your business.
Yeah, cats do whatever they want. But it’s not like there’s no reason behind it. When scratching, cats drag their claws downward on a horizontal or vertical surface. This action, also known as stropping is helping them loose and remove the outer shell of the claw, allowing a sharp new surface underneath. So basically, your cat is at the nail salon when she does this (yeah, not funny).
In addition to taking care of their health and condition of their claws, the cats are exercising the muscles ont their forelimbs and stretching their spine to keep them in great condition for hunting. But, if your cat never leaves the house, you’d wonder why would she do that? Well, cats’ instinct is pretty much alive, even though they may look like couch potatoes.
Also, by doing this, your cat is marking your home as theirs so if you plan to bring another pet, the new ‘imposter’ should know where they have arrived and who the boss is. Cats have scent and sweat glands in between their pads of the paws. When the claws are dragged downwards, the scent settles on the surface (so the place is marked both visually and by scent).
Besides your furniture made of fabrics or softwoods, door frames, stairs, your textured wallpapers and carpets might be a target. If your cat leaves the home, you might not have such problems with scratched furniture, but you may notice that your backyard trees have many scratches.
If you’re doing your best to maintain your cat’s claws so she doesn’t need to scratch, but the animal keeps scratching things, this may be a sign for play or an attention-seeking tool (you might only give attention to your cat when she does something bad and cats are smart and learn very quickly).
But why do they keep scratching when you see them? Simple – they see you and they feel more confident. In their mind it’s like “oh the human is here, I have support, so I will mark this territory harder, so the world knows we live here”.
How to Keep Your Interior Intact With the Help of a Scratching Post
A simple way to stop this unwanted behaviour is to offer your cat an alternative place to scratch. If you search for cat scratching post Australia shops will offer you a wide range of models. Although most pre-made scratching posts are made with carpet, cats might not like them that much.
Carpet materials aren’t as pleasant for the cat’s claws since they can easily get them stuck (and cats do panic when this happens). This is why it’s better if you seek a mix of wood and carpet so your cat can choose what they want to use. You can find small ‘trees’ made of carpet-like fabric combined with softwood that will be a little “claw paradise” for your feline pet.
Also, the scratching post should be heavy enough so your cat can freely drag her nails around. If it’s lightweight, your cant won’t be able to enjoy it due to the lack of resistance.
Place the post in a prominent and easily accessible area in your home. This is now part of your cat’s furniture and it should use it whenever it wants.
Be prepared for a refusal. Cats don’t like new things that have some ‘weird’ smell (even though you can’t feel it). Until the cat decides to mark it with its scent, the item is essentially disgusting to them. But, you can always use a little trick like letting the cat eat around it, or you can sprinkle some catnip on it (desperate times seek desperate measures).
Every time your cat uses the scratching post, award it. This way, your cat will connect this activity with treats and cats do love them.
Once your cat learns and accepts the scratching post, there won’t be any reason for her to scratch the furniture. However, you may expect that she does this again if these places are already marked by her claws. But if you keep rewarding your cat every time she uses the scratching post, it’s very unlikely that she would return to your carpets, doorframes or sofas.