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