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It’s time to sort that scratch… (ing behaviour)

So, I’m sure as a cat guardian you may have experienced a cat scratching the wrong thing … like your sofa or the carpet? Why do cats scratch and why can it be so annoying to us humans?

Read my blog article to understand this feline behaviour, find out why cats scratch and how you can get them to scratch the ‘right thing’.

It's a natural behaviour

I’m sure we’ve all experienced a cat scratching in an unwanted way somewhere in the house. What we need to realise is that for us it may be an annoying habit, but for cats it is a perfectly natural behaviour. Even Lions and Tigers do it! They scratch to sharpen their claws, and to remove the outer sheath layer on the nail. They also do it to communicate. How can scratching (and ruining your sofa) be communication I hear you ask?!

This is the result of handiwork by a gorgeous cat named Cagey – he’s part of a multi-cat household (where furniture scratching is super common!)

It’s their way of communicating

Well, scratching is actually the expression of behaviour (i.e. what you see) but it means sooooo much more. Here comes the science…Cats have scent glands on their feet, in between those gorgeous looking little jelly-bean type pads. When they scratch something, they are actually performing a scent transfer which leads to creating and sustaining their territory. They are saying this belongs to me. (If only they could use a label maker instead right!)

Why do they keep doing it?

Because scent fades over time, that’s why the cat will return to the same spot/item and scratch again. They need to keep saying to peeps ‘hey this thing is mine’. Now in terms of territory cats are super sensitive to changes in their territory and we’ll cover territory more in another blog, but for now you just need to know that when you make changes cats will need to react. So that nice new sofa (that to a cat will smell super weird and not of them AT ALL) will need to be brought into the fold of their territory…cue the cat scratching the new furniture.

This was done within 2 weeks of a new sofa being brought into the house! EEK!!!

What we think it means

Well what do you think it means? I’d be interested to know so get in touch with me on Social media or drop me an email. I used to think it meant that the cat was just being a pain in the butt! Seriously though as I’ve mentioned above it really is such a deeper message than that.

How you can change it

The pictures I’ve used for this article are from real life sources…so it’s clear there are heaps of cats destroying your lovely pieces of furniture. What can you do:

I saw these on a Facebook group, and these can be REALLY distressing to a cat – not to mention they may ingest one which would be highly dangerous.

PLEASE try to look at addressing the behaviour rather putting something ‘cute’ on your cat.

I walked over to Leo’s post and started to run my hand down it…he came over straight away and started to sniff at the post and then scratch it! Cats are curious and will want to know what you are doing!

Only when they have started to use the new post/scratch pad etc can you start to cover up the previous place i.e. put a cover on the sofa arm or put a mat over the carpet area.

Take it slow

As with ANY change to a cat’s environment it needs to be done slowly as they are super sensitive creatures and can react badly to change. What I’ve mentioned above is a high-level explanation of the behaviour and how you can look to make changes.

If you would like more support with behaviour modification, please get in touch and I’ll be happy to support you and your furry friend. At the end of the day they need to scratch, and you want your sofa back…I can help you have a win-win situation!

Thanks for reading. If you have any questions or comments, please contact me on Social Media or drop me an email.

Best wishes
With Love

Best wishes, with love

Julie-Anne x

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All Blogs by Julie-Anne Thorne

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