It is innate behavior of a cat to scratch its claws regularly. The goal is almost always a surface with a texture that allows the cat to sink its claws into it. Unfortunately, the material the cat chooses can be the fabric of your upholstered furniture, your curtains, or your carpet. If you can’t find a way to break your cat’s habit and direct the scratching toward a better target, a cat can destroy the furnishings.
Rest assured that your cat will not defy her claws or because she is bad. Once you understand the reasons for the behavior, you are partially on the way to solving the problem.
Why cats scratch
Everyone recognizes the sight and the sound: a cat scratches its front claws by pulling them down on a horizontal or vertical surface. There are many reasons why a cat does this, from grooming to paying attention:
- This action, known as striking , loosens and removes the outer shell of the claw, revealing a sharp new surface underneath. Claw sharpening is an act of grooming the cat.
- Scratching also trains the muscles of the forelegs and spine to keep the cat in top condition for hunting. Some cats scratch by lying down and pulling their body weight across the floor. The surfaces chosen are usually firm and do not yield to resist the muscles used in scratching.
- Scratches are also used as a form of territorial communication or marking behavior. Fragrance and sweat glands between the pads of the feet mix to form a unique smell. When claws are scraped over a surface, the scent is deposited and the combination of the marking, the discarded claw sleeves and the smell convey a strong visual and olfactory message to other cats.
- Scratching can act as a preliminary to the game, either with another cat at home or with human companions.
- Scratching can be a call for attention in some species. Routinely chasing or chasing a cat while scratching furniture or carpeting can scratch your attention.
If a cat has access to the outside area, scratches on trees, fence posts, scales and wooden gates may be visible. These are areas that are clearly visible to other cats outdoors. Such scratching is a territorial behavior that is used to communicate with other cats and to mark borders. A house-bound cat, like most cats now, will find similar surfaces in the house to perform this instinctive scratching behavior. In the interior, softwood and fabric-covered furniture are usually used as targets for this genetic scratching behavior.
Stop a cat from scratching the carpet
The first way to avoid scratches from scratches is to direct the cat’s behavior towards an acceptable goal – a scratching post designed for this purpose. However, what do you do if your cat refuses to use this scratching post or occasionally decides to ignore it in favor of your carpet? Here are some possible solutions:
- Add a horizontal scratching surface. Cats have their own individual scratch patterns and preferences, and those who scratch carpets tend to scratch horizontally rather than vertically. There are scratches made for this purpose; Some are sloping and others are flattened.
- Add multiple scratching posts and blocks , covered with different materials and different textures. Choosing different scratching options may prevent your cat from having to sharpen the claws on your carpet. Many scratching posts are carpeted, but add one or two with a different material, such as sisal, corrugated cardboard, or plain wood. Keep in mind that cats prefer different surface angles for scratching, which lie between horizontal and vertical. Ideally, you should have at least one of them: a tall vertical scratching post, a flat scratching mat, and an inclined scratch.
- Cover the area where your cat scratches. If possible, move a piece of furniture (or a scratching post) over your cat’s favorite carpet. A sisal scratching post can be a good choice here. To avoid scratching habits before entering the door, cover the area with a thin mat.
- Spray the area with fragrance . Use a Comfort Zone plug-in or a Feliway spray in the area your cat scratches. Although not specifically marketed for this purpose, cat behavior researchers have found that the “friendly pheromones” in Feliway can cause cats to believe that the area is already “marked”, which scares away their scratches.
- Consider your cat’s anxiety level. A cat may scratch more often when emotionally stressed, e.g. B. if she feels threatened by environmental changes or if a new pet (or even a new child) has recently become part of the household. Paying more attention to your cat or playing more with it can provide the security it needs to give up its carpet scratching habits
Minimize the damage from your cat’s claws
Regularly cut your cat’s claws with a sharp claw cutter. This helps to minimize the damage. Or protect your cat’s claws with the plastic caps from Soft Claws. If you’ve never used nail caps before, many vets and most major pet stores offer installation and training for a small fee. Most cats don’t mind soft claws, and they prevent cats from being damaged by tearing.