Why Do Cats Like to Scratch On Things?

When a cat scratches an object, it serves a number of important purposes.

It is a natural and enjoyable activity for your cat to scratch on objects, and scratching serves a number of purposes.  While most people believe cats scratch simply to sharpen their claws, one of the main reasons cats like to scratch is to mark territory.  Cats tend to scratch the same area, leaving a visible cue for other cats.  Additionally, cats have scent glands in their paws, so the scratching deposits their scent on the object.  Some experts believe this scent marking is the reason even de-clawed cats continue to make scratching motions on objects.

Another reason cats scratch is to remove the worn, outer layer or sheath of the claw.   If you look closely around the area your cat scratches, you can usually find layers of claw scattered around.  Scratching is also a way for a cat to stretch and work the muscles, and it just feels good! You might notice that many cats seem to enjoy a good stretch and scratch after a nap.

Since all cats scratch, if you don’t provide appropriate scratching surfaces, your cat will scratch whatever surface is available.  Be sure to select a sturdy scratching post that won’t tip when your cat tries to use it.  Most cats prefer a vertical scratching surface, and especially appreciate one tall enough for them to fully stretch out while scratching.  Since most cats like to scratch right after sleeping, try placing the scratching surface near where he likes to sleep so he can scratch right after awakening.

What kind of scratching surface does your cat prefer?

About author

Abby Rosenberg

Abby Rosenberg is a PetMeds employee and long-time cat lover. She was a volunteer for several years at a local no-kill cats only rescue shelter. This has prepared her for her most challenging role to date: secretary, photographer, social coordinator and treat dispenser for Daisy, and Daisy’s sidekick Harley. Daisy is a dilute calico Devon Rex cat, and Harley is a “cow-cat” who was adopted from the shelter where Abby volunteered. You can also find Abby on Google+

There is 1 comment

  • KC says:

    My Couch!

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