Have you ever found your cat scratching your sofa or loveseat, with that adorably innocent look on her face? You’re definitely in good company: nearly all of the people owned by cats will experience this moment at one point or another. Fluffy isn’t trying to ruin your things: scratching is an instinctive behavior for her. This is definitely a case of ‘If you can’t beat’ em, join ‘em.’ A Bellevue, WA vet discusses kitty scratching habits in this article.
It’s important to understand why your furry little diva is determined to shred your ottoman. Scratching isn’t a destructive behavior, at least, not from Fluffy’s point of view. Cats scratch to keep their claws sharp. This is very important for our feline pals, as in the wild, they rely on their little paw daggers for self-defense, hunting, and climbing to reach shelter, safety, and vantage points. Kitties also leave scent markers on trees when they scratch them, likely as messages to other cats. (Scientists haven’t yet figured out whether Fluffy’s graffiti is more Mittens Was Here or Butters’ Territory: Keep Out, but that’s another topic.)
Cats are all very unique, and they each have distinctive personalities. That factors into their personal tastes with things as well. While most if not all of our feline friends will enjoy a cat tower, they aren’t quite as unanimous when it comes to things like scratching posts or boards. If you get something for Fluffy, only to have her ignore it, try something else.
There are some pretty cute options for cat scratchers these days. Fluffy can do her nails on a little record player, a taco truck, or a cactus. Short on space? Buy a hanging cat scratcher. You can also make one by gluing a carpet tile to a piece of wood, and hanging it. The main thing is to choose something sturdy. You don’t want your kitty’s manicure station falling over on her!
You’ll need to teach your furry pal proper petiquette. Never punish Fluffy for scratching improperly: she won’t understand what she did wrong. Focus on encouraging good habits instead. Offer your feline buddy treats, praise, catnip, and attention when she uses her nail care station.
Do you have questions about your kitty’s health or care? Please feel free to contact us, your local Bellevue, WA animal clinic, anytime!