Scratching is a natural and healthy behaviour that comes from instinctual motivation. It is impossible to stop your cat from scratching completely.
Why do cats need to scratch?
Scratching serves a few purposes, the most basic of which being to maintain claws. Another benefit of scratching is the full-body stretch it provides to felines.
Cats are naturally territorial, so they use scratching to mark their territory. Marking helps them feel confident in their environment and reduces stress.
Scratching is beneficial for a cat’s well-being, but since our cats live in our homes this behaviour can become destructive. It is very important for us to provide a desirable and appropriate place for our cats to scratch, so that they don’t decide to scratch our furniture.
There are a variety of surfaces available that are appealing to cats. Sisal rope, corrugated cardboard, carpet or wood are all appropriate surfaces. Cats may have different preferences or choose different surfaces at different times. Giving them multiple options limits the chance that they will choose your couch.
Scratchers should be located close to where your cat likes to rest. Rest areas are where cats need to feel the most comfortable and where they tend to mark their territory the most, since they consider resting a vulnerable state.
Now, let’s get even more scientific about scratching.