Does your cat tend to scratch, at what seems like forever, when they are done using the litter box? Do you find your cat scratching around unusual areas, such as their food dish or maybe the dog’s food? My oldest cat Tiggy will scratch and scratch all around the litter box once she is done using it. She will scratch all over the inside and outside on the mat. This ritual usually takes her several minutes before she is actually done and leaves.
Her sister Cuddles would scratch the floor around the dog dish, which I found comical as it appeared that she thought the dog’s food smelled bad and was trying to cover it up. Our youngest cat, Cooper will scratch around their food dish after he is done eating and around the dog’s food dish. I just didn’t understand why they were all doing this behavior, especially one that was harmless and seemed rather silly.
I didn’t know why until I read an article about incessant scratching. It was then that I found out that they scratch to leave their scent or to cover their eliminations. The scratching can become annoying to some if it is loud or they are scratching in an area that disturbs others, I just find it a little silly. This is a natural behavior and one that they shouldn’t be punished for doing.
But, what if the areas they are scratching are being destroyed and not something you want them to continue. Just remember, a cat’s natural behavior is to scratch as this allows them to keep their nails in shape. It also is an exercise to stretch their muscles. You do not want to keep your cat from doing something that is a natural behavior, but if they are destroying furniture, screens, or rugs you can try to get their attention towards an item that they can scratch. A scratching post is a good source for cat’s to play and scratch all they want, and you can buy one or make one yourself. You can place them where they are currently scratching to get their attention away from your furniture.
If a scratching post does not work, there other things that you can try to deter your cat from scratching on unwanted items or areas where they are being destructive. When your cat is scratching a piece of furniture or a rug you can spray them with a little tap water using a spray bottle. This little technique has worked wonders for my cats and it does not harm them. If done consistently they will stop their destructive scratching. Even now when we grab the spray bottle they will stop and run the other way before we even have a chance to spray. You can also try putting double sided tape on the areas that you do not want them to scratch; they do not like the stickiness of the tape and will avoid it. You however, will want to keep changing the tape to ensure the stickiness.
No matter what you choose to do to keep your cat from scratching unwanted areas and furniture, do not punish them for something that is a natural instinct.