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Why a cat that scratches isn't misbehaving.

Welcome to the third animation in our ‘Ain’t misbehaving’ series, where we’re busting cat behaviour myths. This week, we’re chatting about scratching.


Myth: A cat who scratches the furniture is being deliberately destructive or vengeful…

Cats scratch to leave their mark and scent as a signal; and to keep their claws in good condition.

Cats Protection’s Behaviour Manager Nicky Trevorrow says: “Scratching is a normal behaviour so they need a decent scratch post to express this natural cat need.”

If a cat starts scratching indoors, it doesn’t mean that they’re being naughty. Don’t tell them off as it could make the behaviour worse.

Take your cat to the vet for a health-check to rule out any medical reasons for the scratching. Your vet may refer you to a qualified behaviourist to help identify the causes.

Give your cat a tall, sturdy scratching post and put it next to the area where they scratch. It should be tall enough to allow your cat to scratch at full stretch – ensure it has a vertical weave to let them drag their claws downwards.

Cover the furniture in an unappealing material such as plastic or foil until the cat is using the post regularly.

You may also find it useful to read our Behaviour focus blog post on scratching.

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