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October 31, 2014

Cat Claw Byte: Why Cats Scratch Objects

03.18.12 In addition to giving themselves manicures, cats scratch objects to mark territory, they also scratch when stressed, playing and stretching. Because scratching is a natural behavior, strategically place scratching posts and horizontal scratchers throughout your house.

Cat: The Masterpiece

Cats are nature’s masterpiece. They are perfectly designed. They are compact and streamlined hunting machines. Every part of a cat has multiple jobs to perform. From the tips of sensitive whiskers to the bottom of silent paws, every part of a cat multi-tasks. Every part of a cat is perfect.

A cat’s claws and paws are good examples of this. Cats use their claws for many reasons. Defending themselves is one, catching prey is another.  Cats also need to scratch. When cat’s scratch, they are telling the world about themselves, broadcasting information, marking their territory. Cats have scent glands on the bottom of their paw pads that leave vital information about themselves. Additionally they are marking visually.

Cats give themselves manicures when they scratch. When we get manicures and pedicures, we spend lots of money and time in order to have perfectly shaped finger nails and toe nails. Cats have it made. All they have to do to maintain the health of their claws is scratch on a surface that has a certain texture and resistance.

When cats scratch they are stretching. Every morning my cats go to their favorite scratching posts and reach up as high as they can and scratch and stretch. They stretch every muscle with these daily stretches. We can learn a lot about how to properly stretch just by watching our cats scratch and stretch.

Cats do have to scratch. They don’t have to scratch the antique sofa or the Persian rug. They can be taught through methods that include positive reinforcement and modeling to scratch the right cat-centric furniture.  Declawing a cat is not a good solution to stop a cat from scratching furniture. Besides being painful and inhumane, it can lead to other behavior problems such as biting and inappropriate elimination.