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Why Do Cats Scratch

Why Do Cats Scratch

Although cats are incredibly loving and easygoing, these fluffballs are also known to get into mischief of their own, which can end up in accidental bites and scratches. 

Although cat scratches can be quite painful and annoying, our furballs do not intentionally mean harm since scratching is a normal, instinctive behaviour in the feline community. Feline fur babies scratch to mark their territory, exercise, relieve stress, and even groom themselves. And while cat parents are left wondering why do cats scratch, feline furries do not understand what is right and what isn’t. They just scratch to meet their own requirements.

Why do Cats Scratch?

If you are a cat parent, you must have witnessed your feline kittiness scratching the scratching post multiple times a day without any apparent reason. And though this might appear bizarre, there can be several reasons why cats scratch their scratching post, including:

  • Scratching helps cats to sharpen and condition their claws. In addition to removing dead skin tissues, cats instinctively scratch to keep their claws sharpened for assisting them in hunts and warding away possible threats.
  • In addition to sharpening and keeping their claws in shape, scratching allows cats to also stretch more effectively.
  • In the wild, sharp claws help cats to hunt as well as mark their territory. Cats want to leave claw marks behind with scratching and their claws also leave invisible scent trails from their paw pads, which helps them to mark and assert dominance over their territory.

Do Cats Scratch on Purpose?

When it comes to scratching their scratching posts, cats are often guided by their feline instincts rather than being driven by a particular purpose or notions of right and wrong. Cats sharpen their claws regularly as they are helpful for hunting prey, as well as for protecting themselves against predators. 

Cats are also territorial, and scratching allows wild cats to mark their territory by leaving their claw mark against tree barks. Housecats might attempt the same by scratching up the household furniture, door frames, and scratcher for cats. Considering scratching is natural among cats and not necessarily a behavioural issue, it is important to provide your furry little feline with a designated cat scratching post or mat, allowing them to relieve their instinctive needs without being destructive to household furniture.

How to Stop Cats From Scratching Furniture?

  • Provide cats with something to scratch:

    While cat scratches are inconvenient and leave behind ugly marks on the furniture, they are a natural instinctive for cats and not a behavioural issue. So instead of punishing them for scratching furniture, it is important to train them and provide them with a designated scratching post to relieve their natural instincts. You can also go the extra mile by building a DIY scratching post for your kitty out of recyclable materials and watch your furball enjoy your customised gift!

  • Purchase good quality scratching posts:

    If building a DIY scratching post from scratch appears a little time consuming, it is perfectly okay to look for commercially available scratch posts that are designed specifically for our adorable furballs. And although scratching posts for cats are available at varying price ranges, it is important to choose a good quality scratching post that is long-lasting, and does not interfere with your furball’s safety, making sure they have an enjoyable scratching session.

  • Experiment with different scratch fabrics:

    In addition to buying a scratching post for your feline munchkin, you can also experiment with different scratch fabrics to determine the one that is most suited to your kitty’s choices. Sisal fabric is highly suitable for cat scratch posts as it softens when scratched. Furthermore, while it is extremely important to choose the perfect scratching post for your cat that is durable and enjoyable, it is also vital to find the best spot for placing the new scratching post.

  • Placing the scratching post at the right spot:

    Cats are extremely clean, tidy, and finicky when it comes to their personal space, and choosing the right spot for the scratching post can make it all the more effective. Cats like to keep themselves spotlessly clean, so it is imperative to place the scratching post away from the litter box to avoid the chances of bacterial contamination. Placing the scratching post in a place that can be easily accessed by your feline munchkin can make their experience more enjoyable.

  • Prevent boredom scratching:

    In addition to being driven by their predatory instincts, cats also end up scratching furniture out of boredom when they do not have appropriate cat toys to play with. Cats are extremely playful and intelligent, and getting them some exciting new cat toys can go a long way in preventing boredom scratching. Cat toys such as feather toys, cat puzzles, and catnip chew toys are widely available for purchase, and can earn you brownie points as an affectionate cat parent.

  • Provide new scratching objects:

    Even when it comes to their scratcher for cats, our fabulous felines prefer a little variety, giving you the opportunity to look for novelty cat toys and scratching posts. Cats are also incredibly smart and playful, so why not bring home an interactive cat toy that keeps your furry munchkins entertained for hours? New scratching objects can also incorporate interactive puzzles and chew toys that stimulate your cat’s intelligence as well as their hunting instincts.

Why do Cats Scratch People?

As a cat parent, you might often wonder why do cats scratch. There are several causative factors, but mentioned below are some of the most common reasons why do cats scratch people:

  • Play: Rough play often stimulates a cat’s natural instincts to hunt, resulting in accidental bites and scratches.
  • Overstimulation: Sometimes cats and kittens can get overstimulated, causing them to feel aggressive and scratch people.
  • Defensive behavior: Felling threatened or defensive is the most common reason cats scratch humans. Additionally, stress and anxiety also fuel the defensive behavior in cats, making them aggressive and prone to scratching.


If you are a cat parent concerned about cat scratches and are worried about why do cats scratch, hopefully, this article addresses some of your concerns. Worrying and annoying as cat scratches are, it is important to keep in mind that cat scratches are also natural, and have been generationally passed down as an instinctive behaviour. And while cat scratches are painful, there is no failsafe way to prevent your fluffy munchkin from scratching the cat scratching post to sharpen their claws. 

Although cats grooming themselves on the cat scratching post is a healthy behaviour, over-scratching the scratcher for cat can be an indicator of underlying stress and anxiety. So, in addition to making sure your furry feline receives the proper training, it is also important to consult a veterinarian when it comes to treating their behavioural problems including destructive scratching, aggression, and anxiety.


  • What causes a cat to scratch you?

    Wondering why do cats scratch? There can be several factors that may lead to cat scratches. Although cats commonly resort to violence such as scratching when they feel threatened or afraid, other reasons such as overstimulation, rough play, and anxiety can also cause cat scratches.

  • How much scratching is normal for a cat?

    A healthy cat is known to groom themself for an hour each day, which includes cat scratches or sharpening their claws for almost a minute. However, over-scratching for a prolonged period can indicate underlying concerns such as infections or parasites.

  • What to do if your cat scratches you?

    If your cat scratches you, immediately clean the area of the cat scratches and apply a topical antiseptic or medication. Additionally, train your cat against behavioural scratching cause by aggression instead of punishing or hitting them when it scratches you. 

  • Do cats scratch when frustrated?

    Yes, a cat scratches when they are frustrated, but the reason behind the scratch might be a little deeper. While cats do not scratch their cat parents intentionally, they may end up scratching you when they feel overstimulated or threatened.

  • Do cats apologise for scratching?

    If your furry munchkin accidentally cat scratches you, please bear in mind that cats scratch when they feel overstimulated or threatened. They never really do have any ill intention for scratching humans and will soon return to their affectionate self.

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