Does your cat scratch the ground as if trying to bury something in it? Rest assured, this behavior is not serious except that it becomes annoying over time. In fact, this feline behavior is linked to his animal instinct which is positive, meaning that he feels at home in your house. However, a cat scratching the ground is often distressing. So how do you get him to stop this behavior? I give you all the solutions in this article.
Cat Scratching the Ground: Understanding the Behavior
Cats are often used to scratching the ground in the wild, because they derive two essential utilities for their survival, and can retain these behaviors in the domestic state.
The first reason they do this is to cover their droppings and food, allowing them to not attract predators because of the smell and to protect themselves.
The second is that they mark their territory with their pheromones, to indicate to other cats that they are on its territory.
The cats most prone to this behavior are young cats, who do not necessarily understand that they are not at risk because they have just entered the home and they do not understand everything at this age.
Unneutered cats will also have this tendency, as they will naturally be more territorial and aggressive.
Cat scratching the ground: The different causes
If your cat tends to scratch the ground, it is in any case an instinctive behavior. But the causes are not all the same. To get a clear idea of what motivates its behavior, here is the list of the different causes that lead a cat to scratch the ground.
He wants to bury his meal to eat it later
In the wild, cats must hunt to eat, and often have food left over after meals, with cats having to eat little and often. It is therefore fundamental for him to hide his food in the wild.
If your cat scratches the ground after eating, it simply has the reflex of wanting to hide its food, especially if it is young and has not been in your home for a long time.
It also probably does this outside if there is access to conceal the birds and mice it captures. A cat always keeps his animal instincts even if he will end up getting used to no longer applying them all, understanding that some are useless to him, like this one.
He wants to bury his meal to prevent predators from detecting it
Here too, in the wild, it is vital for cats to protect themselves from any predators attracted by the carcasses. And in order not to be detected, they must bury their food in the ground to be sure not to be tracked by the smell of the carcass. Cats retain this survival instinct in the domestic state.
He wants to bury the food because he doesn’t like it
Cats are very hygienic and they get rid of what seems unhealthy or bad to them. If the food seems inedible to him, he will systematically bury it in the wild. He will never let her rot on his territory. First of all because it is a very hygienic animal and also because the smell can attract possible predators.
Usually the cat will do this if the food is too cold, too wet and has gone bad or just doesn’t like it.
If you’ve added a new food, served it straight from the freezer, or wet food that’s been there too long, the cause is the food itself.
To mark his territory
By scratching the ground, it deposits its pheromones there to indicate to other animals that this is its territory, its food and that they should not approach it. If he is rolling on the ground in parallel, it is a clear sign that he wants to mark his territory.
It indicates to potential rivals that they should not approach its territory, if its bowls are shared with other animals, it will adopt this behavior at all costs.
My cat is scratching the ground: How do I stop it?
This behavior will stop eventually, when your cat understands that his action is not useful. But in the meantime, you can always implement the following solutions to stop it scratching the floor of your house.
Pick up your bowl after your meal
By removing the bowl, he will no longer see the food in front of him and will no longer be tempted to bury it. You can do this while he is scratching the ground and he will understand that his behavior is pointless. It’s an impractical solution, but he can figure out over time that scraping the floor is pointless.
Distract him with toys
After his meal is over, play with him a bit to get him to shift his focus and move on. Avoid games that are too rough at the risk of vomiting . The objective is just to associate the end of the meal with the game and to make him lose his bad habit.
Better distribution of meals
Cats need to eat less but more often because their digestive system is not designed to eat a lot at once and they are not able to fast as much as we do. By better distributing food resources, he will stop wanting to systematically bury his surplus. Here, a food puzzle will allow him to better manage his food intake?
If your cat is scratching the floor after you’ve changed part of its diet, it’s most likely because it’s not right for it. So all you have to do is delete it for it to stop. He won’t touch it anyway. As far as the cat’s food is concerned, always make sure to give it quality food that does not cause long-term health problems.
Take a feeding mat and a food puzzle
A feeding mat is to be placed under the food bowl so that its claws do not scratch the ground directly. This will prevent him from damaging the floor until he understands that this habit is totally useless. The food puzzle, meanwhile, will help him understand that his food is protected and will also allow him to have fun while eating.
Cut his claws?
Cats make their own claws and I do not advise you to cut them except as a very last resort. Your cat will not appreciate having its claws trimmed and will always prefer to have a certain length and take care of it on its own. Also, without claws, a cat will have a kind of lacuna in certain situations.
Give her personal space
You must ensure that your cat has its own space, if you share its bowl with another animal, it will mark its scent to mark its territory. He will always make sure to show the other animal that he is on his territory. Uncastrated cats are naturally more territorial than others, and it is recommended to castrate them, in particular so that they have a better life expectancy.
Take care of your personal space
His corner must also be calm and free from any commotion, otherwise he will have serious territoriality problems, because he will seek to protect her, feeling him in danger. A room without noise and with little traffic is essential for him to feel good there.
There are several special cases concerning the scratching of the floor of the cat, here are the main ones with detailed explanations for each.
Cat scratching the ground after eating
If your cat scratches the ground after eating, it’s because he’s trying to bury the food, obviously it’s useless your cat will eventually understand it, but be sure to put in place the right habits so that he stops as quickly as possible.
Cat scratching the ground and meowing
The main cause of this behavior is territorial, that is to say that the cat deposits pheromones via its pads so that the cat can show its congeners that it is its territory. If you have several animals, make sure they can be tamed, always go slowly and always be attentive, especially if they are animals with a predator-prey relationship in the wild.
Cat scratching the ground before drinking
He’s probably putting down his pheromones to show others that this is his territory and doesn’t want any other animals near it, so keep your pets’ personal corners separate.
Cat scratching the ground: The final word
A cat that scratches the ground will eventually stop, unless its food is not good. This is not a disturbing behavior but simply an instinctive habit that is essential to him in the wild.