Claw-some or Claw-ful? Navigating the Ins and Outs of Cat Scratching Behavior

Meet Kam, a beautiful feline who loves to start her day with a good stretch and scratch session on the rug (with the intention to destroy it gradually).

This is Cik Kam, Rescued 9 years ago when she was just a kitten. And yes, she has no visible tail. Hence we call her Cik Kam (or Kambing)

But why do cats scratch, you may ask? There are several reasons for this natural behavior, as follows:

1. Shedding their nails:
Cats scratch to shed the outer layer of their nails, which can become dull or frayed over time.

2. Marking territory:
Cats have scent glands in their paws, and scratching helps to mark their territory with both visual and olfactory signals.

3. Stretching muscles:
Scratching provides a good stretch for a cat’s muscles and helps to keep them limber and agile.

4. Relieving stress:
Scratching can be a form of stress relief for cats, helping them to release tension and frustration.

5. Natural behavior:
Scratching is a natural behavior for cats, and it is important to provide them with appropriate scratching surfaces to satisfy this need and prevent unwanted scratching behavior.

For paw parents, we got issues when:
a. They start to scratch our sofas, carpets, rugs, etc
b. They still scratch our sofas even though we already bought scratching pads & cat tree 😅

Why does cats still scratch the furniture, even though there’s ample scratching pad provided?

Here are some reasons why it happens.


Cats have individual preferences, and your cat may simply prefer scratching on your furniture over the provided scratching surfaces.


Your cat may prefer to scratch in certain locations, and if your furniture is in a prime location, they may choose to scratch there instead of on their designated scratching surfaces.


Cats like to have variety in their scratching surfaces, and they may get bored of using the same scratching pad or tree over and over again.

Inadequate scratching surfaces:

Your cat may not find their scratching surfaces appealing, comfortable or convenient. It’s possible that they may prefer scratching posts made of a different material, height, or texture than the one you provided.

To discourage your cat from scratching your furniture, you can try the following:

  • Provide multiple scratching surfaces made of different materials.
  • Place the scratching surfaces in locations where your cat likes to scratch.
  • Make the furniture less appealing to your cat by covering it with a scratching deterrent product or double-sided tape.
  • Reward your cat for using its designated scratching surfaces with treats, praise, or playtime.
  • Consider consulting with a veterinarian or animal behaviorist if the scratching behavior persists, as it may be a sign of a medical or behavioral issue.

In my experience as a paw parent, providing multiple scratching surfaces has been an effective solution for preventing unwanted scratching behavior. However, when introducing new furniture into the household, it’s not uncommon for cats to turn their attention to the new items and start scratching them instead.

As a result, most paw parents, myself included feel the need to limit the amount of furniture they have in their homes or opt for more durable, scratch-resistant options. While this may be a practical solution, it can also limit our personal style and design choices.

But fear not, fellow paw parents! With a little patience and training, it is possible to teach our ‘kids’ to direct their scratching behavior towards appropriate surfaces. Do share how you solve this problem in the comment box.

Here are some interesting reads & survey regarding this topic. Click on the title to read them:

  1. “Why Do Cats Scratch?” by Nikki Naser
  2. “Why Do Cats Scratch Your Furniture? And How Can You Stop It?” by Jen Phillips
  3. “What Am I Doing Wrong? My Cat Still Scratches the Furniture!”
  4. Owner observations regarding cat scratching behavior: an internet-based survey 


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