Donate Sponsor

Think your cat is being naughty? Think again.

From scratching the furniture and climbing the curtains, to clawing your hands or waking you up in the early hours, if your cat is causing chaos at home, you might think they’re being deliberately mischievous.

grey and white cat holding out paw

However, what we might consider ‘naughty’ behaviour, is probably just your cat being a cat. Our moggies have many natural behaviours that we might find odd or inconvenient, but it’s important not to tell them off or punish them for it, as they won’t understand what they’ve done wrong.

Instead, by understanding why they do what they do, there are ways you can find different outlets for their behaviour so you and your feline friend can continue living together happily.

Read on to discover some common ‘naughty’ cat behaviours and our expert tips for preventing them.


My cat scratches the furniture

It might seem like your kitty has it in for your lovely home furnishings, but they’re just finding the best place to sharpen their claws and mark their territory.

Cats need to scratch to keep their claws healthy and also to leave behind a scent that is excreted from between their toes, letting them know this place is familiar and safe.

Unfortunately for you, sofas and carpets are great for digging their claws into, but you can find out how to prevent any damage in our video.


My cat brings home ‘presents’

Cats are natural predators so they’re simply following their instincts when they catch small animals they find in the garden. It might seem gruesome, but they bring their prey back to the house as this is their core territory, so they know it will be safe from being stolen by other wildlife.

They don’t hunt because they’re being cruel, or even because they’re hungry, they do it because pouncing and catching things makes them feel happy.

To find out how to reduce the threat to wildlife while still keeping your cat happy, take a look at our guide.


My cat keeps knocking things off the table

Whether they’re batting objects onto the floor, jumping onto the kitchen counter or miaowing at you incessantly, these are all ingenious ways your cat may be trying to grab your attention. And if you keep giving in and giving them exactly what they want, whether it’s food or a fuss, then the chances are they will keep doing it again and again as they know it works.

If you want to stop them then, as difficult as it may be, the best method is to try to ignore them. Instead try to only give them food or a fuss when they are being calm and quiet so they know that this is what will get results.

black and white cat sitting on table


My cat attacks my hands and feet

When they’re in the mood to play, cats are highly sensitive to movement as this is usually how they spot their prey. Therefore, wiggling fingers and toes can be hard to resist.

Unfortunately many cat owners have a habit of encouraging this behaviour with their kittens, as it is fun and relatively painless. However, when the cat and their claws grow bigger, our feline friends don’t realise that this same game can cause a few injuries.

To keep your digits safe, watch our video to see how you can encourage more pain-free play sessions instead.


My cat is digging up the flowerbeds

Rather than turning their paw to garden design, it’s more likely that your moggy is using the flowerbed as their toilet. Unfortunately your cat doesn’t know it’s also the site of your prize winning blooms, they just see the perfect cat loo. A nice patch of loose soil is ideal because it’s soft, absorbent and can be easily dug over to cover up their poo.

To save your flowers, try creating an even better toilet for you cat elsewhere, using our top tips.


My cat keeps climbing the curtains

Climbing is another of your cat’s natural pastimes, as they love to get up high so they can survey their surroundings. This helps them to feel safe, as they can look out for any potential dangers while staying out of harm’s way.

If you want to prevent your curtains from becoming their climbing frame of choice then try providing a suitable alternative. For example give them access to some empty shelves to perch on, or perhaps push a chest of draws up against a wardrobe so they can easily leap on top.

ginger tabby cat hiding behind grey curtain


My cat wakes me up at night

While we may appreciate a lie-in, cats are typically early risers as they’re naturally most active at dawn and dusk. Sadly this can often mean that instead of leaving us to remain cosy under the duvet, they urgently require our attention as soon as the sun comes up.

It could be that they want their breakfast, or to be let outside, or even just to have a fuss and it can be hard to resist their cute little face and sweet miaows no matter how tired and groggy you feel. And by giving in to their morning demands, we’re only encouraging them to do it again as they know it gets results.

To help you catch a few extra zs, we’ve got some tips for keeping your moggy alarm from going off quite so early in our video below.


If your cat's behaviour changes, it's important to take them to the vet first to rule out any medical reasons, before looking for a behavioural cause.

If you would like to learn more about cat behaviour, then why not sign up for Cats Protection’s Feline Behaviour Conference. The online event will feature informative sessions and engaging Q&As with cat experts, covering topics such as how cats learn, how cats communicate and the future of cats! Find out more and book your place.

For lots more help and advice on cat behaviour, visit

Find a Cat
About us