Cats are inveterate scratchers, whether against furniture or against the sofa, they can’t stop scratching. And if a scratching cat is not abnormal, it is quickly problematic because it damages your furniture by doing that.
Sometimes he can even attack you with his claws and with a lot of aggression.
It is therefore important to know why he is doing this and above all to take the necessary measures to stop him scratching everything he can or tearing off bits of sofa cover.
Cat scratching: Possible reasons
A cat can scratch for many reasons but some are very common, here are the main ones, then we will see the different solutions so that it stops taking itself for zorro.
A means of defense
The claws allow the cat to defend itself and it will not be able to defend itself properly without functional claws. It is a hunter who uses it to grab its prey like its predators in the wild, but also to jump and climb in case of escape.
They act as a mechanism of protection and attack and are indispensable to them when they are in the wild.
Cats are always careful to protect their territory because it provides them with the food they need and its claws allow it to protect it, and know that it considers your home as its territory.
If your cat is unsterilized, then he will tend to behave more aggressively and may scratch you or another animal in the house. If you have several cats, the oldest can give him a show of strength.
A way to play
Play is fun and also important for cats, both to exercise and to have fun, but it is also a way to develop their hunting instincts. And sometimes he can put too much vigor into it and scratch you when he plays.
In fact, while playing, cats assimilate the movements necessary to succeed in hunting, even if it does not need it, because it is registered in its genetic code. And sometimes they come to pull out their claw and bite.
Young cats are sometimes so out of control that they scratch violently and may bite you, thinking that this is part of the game and that you are a simulation of its prey.
He gets bored
Sometimes cats are bored, especially when you are at work and they are alone, which they hate.
Their hunting instinct will cause them to fidget and claw to expend their energy, especially young cats, Burmese, Abyssinian and Siamese, which are more active.
Indoor cats are more likely to be bored and exhibit this behavior. Outdoor cats can hunt and exercise more easily.
The less a cat has to occupy itself, the more it will tend to scratch to occupy itself.
Too few opportunities to scratch
Domestic cats have almost nothing to do, being fed and washed. They no longer have to hunt for food, or find a place to defecate, or find a source of water.
But cats need to let off steam, to move, to use their whole body to bring out this energy that is in them. And when that’s not the case, they’ll claw at anything they can find to reconnect with their hunting instincts.
They mark their territory
Cats mark their territory in different ways, such as urinating. But since they are not allowed to urinate anywhere in the house, they must find other solutions such as marking their scent by rubbing their head or scratching objects. (Yes, if cats rub up against you it’s usually to mark you as their territory, lucky you!).
To file your nails
Cats’ nails should be filed down from time to time, and they will claw on trees or a plastered wall preferably. But if they don’t have access to the outside, the couch is usually much appreciated and they won’t hesitate to trash it to do their nails.
Cats are very clean beings and spend nearly 4 hours a day ensuring impeccable hygiene. The claws are not put aside and they clean them every day with the paw spread and the claws extended so that they can clean everything.
In order to attack
Your cat may scratch out of pure aggression, this wild and unexplained behavior may be the consequence of an underlying disease that requires a visit to the veterinarian for it to be resolved.
But sometimes the aggressive behavior of the cat can be easily explained:
He is afraid
For the cat, any individual is considered dangerous until proven otherwise, whether human or animal. He can sometimes scratch it. It can be a guest, another animal that arrives in the home.
Sometimes new cats have this behavior because they have experienced abuse that has made them very aggressive. In any case, it will take time for him to calm down completely.
He undergoes a change
If a new animal arrives, the beginning will necessarily be very cold with the other animal and time will do things, no need to force.
If he moves, he can also become violent and scratch, not being comfortable in his new territory and it will take him on average 1 month to get used to it completely.
Cats are territorial animals that love change.
He hates hugs
Some cats need time to accept cuddles and before they see you as reliable, they will attack you when you touch them.
He is hurt
A cat in pain is very aggressive because it doesn’t want you to touch it and wants its body to be kept away from contact. He usually growls and symptoms will appear, such as lack of appetite and listlessness.
My cat is scratching: What solutions can I use?
If your cat keeps scratching, there are several solutions. Here are the main ones and above all, the most effective ones:
Offer them something to scratch
If your cat keeps scratching on the sofa, you need to offer him an alternative that allows him to scratch in deep pleasure.
You can use a scratching post, preferably made of natural materials, such as non-toxic wood. This will allow them to scratch on a surface that is very suitable for them and that they will like much more than your furniture.
The scratching posts are also very comfortable for cats, they can sharpen their claws and release their energy there.
There is even scratching furniture if you want to kill two birds with one stone and spruce up your interior.
Train him not to do it anymore
The sooner a cat gets used to not scratching anywhere, the more it will get into the habit of not scratching anymore.
Show him a specific place to do it and grab his paw to imitate the movement until he does it. If this place does not suit him, you can flavor it with a cat spray to attract him.
Congratulate him? But what are you telling me?
In fact, it is not a question of congratulating him for scratching anywhere but of congratulating him when he scratches where you want it, by offering him for example a food that he loves. He will then associate scratching himself with the object with a future reward.
Prevent him from using the couch or furniture
Punishing a scratching cat is not the best solution, it is better to keep it away each time it scratches or even isolate it in a room if it comes back. He will eventually understand that he must not take bad habits.
Don’t yell at him or abuse him
Yelling at him or hitting him is useless, he will see you as an enemy and may even suffer from the stress and health issues associated with it, especially if he is a kitten. It is important not to make him a victim so that the relationship with him is good.
Go see a behaviorist
If nothing helps and he persists, a behaviorist can help you stop him, this professional is used to capricious cats. You can also consult them online if you don’t have time to get there or if the waiting times are too long.
Go see a veterinarian
If nothing helps, your cat is probably sick or in pain that should not be overlooked or it will get worse. A sick cat will not like physical contact at all and will often stop eating, it may also vomit or sneeze excessively.
Any major change in his behavior that does not pass must lead to a visit to the veterinarian.
Make it spend
Making him exert himself is essential so that he stops letting off steam and stops scratching everything he can. He will be able to channel his energy into the game.
Start by buying him games that amuse him and on which he can let off steam, even on his own, you can also install a cat flap for him so that he can come in and go out during the day.
Even if it is not obvious, the cat needs to exert itself otherwise it will accumulate too much energy, especially when it is young.
Cover the house
When you are not there, your cat is the master of the place and a scratching cat can cause misery in your interior. It is necessary that he cannot scratch during the day.
First of all, you can cover furniture with objects that are unpleasant to the touch, cats hate smooth objects for example. Foil or painter’s tape will be very effective in stopping it.
Place noisy objects where your cat scratches, he will hate to hear their noise. You can use empty cans.
Lock the room where he scratches, locking is preferable because some cats know how to open doors.
Use scents that cats hate, like lavender or thyme, which will debeak it and keep it off your furniture.
Lastly, more brutal method, to use repellents which emit the odor of other animals which can be perceived like predators. To be used as a last resort because it is a means that can make your cat fearful.
Make the right choice of furniture
You know that cats prefer rough surfaces that offer resistance. If you want to buy a new sofa, a smooth surface will not interest your cat.
Same if you buy furniture, which he will like much less if they do not offer an easy grip.
Be careful, shortening the paws of a scratching cat is not necessarily a good idea. But if your cat can’t file them, especially if he’s sick or obese, it may be necessary. Squeeze the paw and your cat will show you those claws, trim very lightly.
Preferably, leave this to a professional who will know exactly how to do it. But if you want to do it yourself use the following elements:
- A claw scissor: Designed for cats and leave them enough claws so that they are not handicapped on a daily basis.
- Good lighting: So that he is not too stressed and that you can properly trim your cat’s claws
- A cat carrier: So that he can’t attack you while you cut off the extra part of his claws.
- An anti-stress spray: The anti-stress spray calms your cat and will be very useful in this situation and in general.
Shortening his claws will be essential if they interfere with his movements even when he is at rest, then you will be able to see them directly.
If he often gets stuck in carpets or blankets, his claws are also too long.
Cat scratching: The final word
Scratching in cats is natural, so rather than punishing it and repressing their instincts, allow them to scratch in specific places and encourage them to do so.
Obviously, each solution corresponds to a type of problem and that is why it is essential to know the exact cause of the pain to find the solution or solutions that correspond to it.