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Canberra Cat Vet Blog

Scratching - is it a problem?

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Why do cats scratch surfaces?

  • To express excitement and pleasure
  • To leave visual and aromatic messages to other cats
  • To remove the worn-out sheaths from their claws
  • To stretch their muscles and spine

In other words it's our problem not theirs when they scratch the new sofa or the silk curtains!

If your cat is scratching in the ‘wrong’ place eg the new sofa you will have to simultaneously discourage her from scratching the sofa while encouraging her to scratch an appropriate object eg a scratching post.

Apply double sided tape, a car mat with nubby side up or rubber carpet runner to the sofa.

Purchase a sturdy vertical post scratcher, which is tall enough for her to stand on her back legs and reach up for a really good stretch ie at least a metre. If she doesn’t take to the material on the post try covering it with alternatives like sisal, corrugated cardboard, the backs of carpet squares, carpet offcuts.

If your cat is scratching the carpet she may prefer a horizontal scratching surface. Provide an old piece of carpet or cardboard.

Encourage your cat to use the new scratching surface by enticing her there with catnip, treats or toys and immediately rewarding scratching in the right place with a treat.


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A calm, quiet haven for cats and their carers staffed by experienced, cat loving vets and nurses.

Canberra Cat Vet 16-18 Purdue St Belconnen ACT 2617 (parking off Gillott Street) Phone: (02) 6251-1444

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