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All about cat scratching behaviour and prevention

April 10, 2023

No surprise, your cute cat is full of mischief. She not only makes a mess at home, but also wreaks havoc on your furniture. The pet has scratching behaviour that most of us do not like at all. If you have a cat pet, you would certainly see cat scratches all over your place. Seriously, the claws are not less than an army knife.

The claws are used in everything that your cat does. Certainly, the scratching behaviour is annoying, but they cannot help it.

What’s the use of cat claws?

Firstly, cat’s claws are different, not like human nails. We have flat nails that stay on top of our skin, protecting our toes, thumb and fingers. Whereas, cat claws lie at the front of their toes. Actually, the sharp claws come out of their toes. When your cat wants to use it, he extends it out.

Cats use their claws for various purposes, such as hunting, playing, climbing, defending, and, unfortunately, damaging our sofa. These claws are integral parts of their body that they use in every situation. They love to scratch.

When observed, we can see how cats use their sharp claws through body language. For example, they use their hind feet to rub a toy, and shift their body while climbing.

Do cats consciously control their claws?

Genuinely, an old cat fully controls its claws. He knows exactly when to retract or extend them. For instance, you would have noticed when he played with you in bed and touched your body; it’s more about the paw than the claws. You may feel the needle-touch but no injury from the sharp nails. Your cat is very careful with its movements throughout the day. He knows exactly when to attack and whom. Besides, kittens have less sense of the weapon and may misuse it unintentionally.

How to keep your cat to scratch furniture and damage other things?

Scratching is a basic instinct for cats. If your cat is scratching, they're just being a cat - it's part of their behavior. However, that doesn't mean we should let them use our furniture as a scratching post. What we can do is, help them to redirect the scratching instinct.

Thankfully, there are some possible ways to keep a cat from scratching, and keep our things safe. Let’s learn about them below:

Declaw is not the solution:

We love our pets, and this surgical treatment will only cause them pain. The process removes the last bone from each toe, which restricts the growth of claws. It's uncomfortable for them and can lead to behavior changes, such as biting and anxiety.

Nail Trimming:

Instead of a complete declaw, you can certainly choose to trim your cat’s nail. The alternative is an intrinsic grooming process that also supports any damage from the pet. Try to trim the nails every 2-3 weeks. If you cannot do it yourself, visiting a cat grooming centre will do the trick for you.

Get a cat scratching post:

Generally, a baby cat starts to scratch from around 8 weeks. Hence, it is important to train the kitten from the early stage. Introduce your cat to scratching posts or stands that he will use to pamper his natural instinct. Consequently, your cat will know where to use his claws.

Cover the claws:

When your cat’s claws are covered, it has no or less effect on the surfaces that they rub. Use cat boots or socks, or help them wear cat nail caps. These are the best alternatives for pet parents who look to declaw their cat. These cover materials work fine with many cats, but still if your cat finds it frustrated, you can remove it.

Use vinyl guards:

There is no harm in adding an extra layer of safety to your scratching furniture. Use vinyl panels as your cat cannot bypass the protection easily. You can apply these hard boards to the areas that your cat may reach and scratch. You can get different sized vinyl boards and install it accordingly.

Though it can be difficult to keep up with your cat's movements and prevent scratching, the above tips are very helpful in reducing the damage they can do to your furniture. Additionally, you can make some changes to the home environment and try other precautions, depending on your cat's mood.