VCA Beacon Hill Cat Hospital

Scratching Behavior

 Scratching Behavior in Cats
Marking is a very common behavior in cats, allowing them express several social cues involving mating availability and delineation of territory.  One of the most common types of marking is scratching.  Scratching not only allows cats to leave visual marks on objects and leave behind scents for other cats to pickup, but it also conditions the claws, stretches the body, and exercises the muscles and tendons involved in claw usage. 
For outdoor cats, scratching usually occurs along well-traveled routes on wooden objects, and may serve as navigational markers.  Indoor cats typically scratch furniture and carpets that tend to be in prominent locations.  The type of material and the directionality of the object is usually a preference, and can differ from one cat to another.  Some cats tend to scratch upon awakening. 
There are several steps that can be taken in order to change a cat’s indoor scratching behaviors.  First, try covering previously scratched areas with undesirable items, such as plastic or double-sided tape.  Next, install a scratching post in a central location, or close to the item that the cat had been scratching.  If possible, try to salvage a piece of fabric from the previously scratched item, and apply it to the new scratching post.  Try to reward cats with a treat and attention when the scratching post is used.  In most cases, a cat can successfully be trained to use a scratching post with a little time and effort. 

By : Karen
At VCA Beacon Hill

Specialty Care

Sometimes sick or injured pets need the care of a veterinary medical specialist. When that happens, VCA specialty hospitals work closely with the general practitioner veterinarians who refer cases to us in order to provide seamless veterinary care to your pet. When your pet is facing any kind of serious illness or injury, our specialty referral hospitals will provide the compassionate and expert care your beloved pet needs.

Our goal is to make sure that when you and your pet are in need that you have access to board certified specialists who are up to date on the very latest developments in their field. In our state of the art hospitals, our specialists also have access to the most sophisticated diagnostic and treatment tools and techniques from ultrasonography and endoscopy to CAT scans and even MRI.

As part of the VCA family, we have over 83 specialty hospitals across the US and Canada which provide referral specialty care, so there may be one near you. Our specialized services include: behavior, cardiology, critical care, dentistry, dermatology, integrative medicine, internal medicine, neurology, oncology, ophthalmology, radiology, rehabilitation, reproduction, and surgery.

Find a VCA Specialty Care Animal Hospital near you:


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Emergency Care

If your cat has an emergency, please come right away - your cat will be seen immediately.  If possible, call to let us know you are on the way.

If we are closed, our voicemessage has the phone numbers of nearby Emergency locations that we recommend.  Our phone number is 703-765-2287.

After hours we recommend you call:

VCA Alexandria Animal Hospital 703-751-2022

or VCA Southpaws Referral Center 703-752-9100