Why Is My Cat Scratching Everything? [ 4 Reasons Explained]

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Why Is My Cat Scratching Everything? (short answer)

In a nutshell, cats scratch everything because is an innate activity for them. The long response is far more fascinating. Felines scratch primarily to mark their territory and to leave olfactory and visual marks for other cats. Scratching serves other purposes such as stretching, claw conditioning, and pleasure.

How often have you wondered:  Why is my cat scratching everything?

How often have you tried to shove your cat away from your couch, curtains, or carpets?

No matter how many times you stop it, your cat doesn’t get the message.  Right?

One of the most common complaints cat owners have is that their pets destroy furniture.

If you are here, you probably are one of them as well.

I’m with you in that feeling of frustration. After all, it’s hard to comprehend why your cat behaves in that way.

Before looking for any type of measure to stop your cat from doing so, it’s important you learn why it scratches in the first place.

And today’s post will cover the 4 most common reasons.

So, if you are ready to discover a bit more about your pet’s behavior, keep reading this post.

Cats Don’t Scratch to Bother You

Cats have a strong desire to scratch because it is a natural, impulsive behavior. Trying to stop cats from scratching objects is like trying to stop dogs from shaking after they get wet. 

Keep in mind that cats do not think in terms of right or wrong. In fact, they have no concept of what good or bad is.

They only think in terms of meeting their needs. When a cat needs scratching, the answer to the question: “Where should I scratch?”

is NOT “What do humans prefer?”

instead, it is “Where do I prefer to scratch?”

We may presume that our cat has ruined our belongings because they were angry with us or wanted to react to something like leaving them alone to go to work. But this is not the case.

The truth is that cats scratch for genuine, innate reasons that have nothing to do with malice toward their owners.

Understanding why do cats scratch everything in our homes can help us maintain a peaceful, loving relationship with them while also learning how to keep our belongings safe from claw marks.

Why Is My Cat Scratching Everything?

Experts in cat behavior have identified four reasons why cats scratch. The primary one is related to socialization. Let’s see it in detail:

# 1 Mark Their Territory

Why is my cat scratching everything? A black cat scratching a tree in the garden to mark its territory

Cats communicate with other cats and define the boundaries of their territory regularly.

When looking at feral cats we can see that they are territorial animals. They constantly leave visual and olfactory marks so that other cats know of their presence.

Cats leave these scent marks on objects by:

  • Spraying urine;
  • Rubbing his head, mouth, and tail against them;
  • Scratching tree trunks, posts, building corners, and other objects visible in your environment.

This is how they assert their dominance.

A cat alerts others that it is the king of “their” garden, healthy and ready to defend his domain. Potential rivals are aware of these messages.

If another cat enters its territory and leaves a sign, the “owner” leaves a new mark to cover it. It’s like a cat’s social media: “I’m logged in and this scent is my status update.”

As a result, the use of this type of communication is fundamental in feline social structures. Especially in multi-cat households.  But, even if you only have one cat, he or she will feel compelled to communicate in this way too.

The second reason why cats scratch is to:

# 2 Stretch Their Muscles

Scratching is a form of stretching exercise for cats.  It increases muscle and tendon flexibility, — in particular the toes, neck, and shoulders.

Cats spend a lot of time sleeping or resting. Scratching allows it to exercise the muscles of its forelimbs and spine. In this way, they preserve optimal hunting conditions.

To resist the force exerted by the jack, the chosen surfaces are usually fixed and non-elastic.

Cats scratch several times throughout the day, but they almost always scratch when they first wake up.

So placing scratching posts or pads near favorite nap spots is a good idea.

Let’s see another scratching function:

# 3 Get Rid of the Outer Husk of Their Claws

Scratching aids cats in removing old nail layers and sharpening their claws. This activity also helps to keep their claws healthy.

Scratching rough surfaces removes the outer layer of a cat’s claws. By doing this frequently, the newer, healthier nail underneath gets released.

Remember that scratching is also part of the grooming ritual.  As cats lick their entire bodies, chew on small rugs, lick their paws, and rub their faces, they also tend to keep their nails clean.

Trimming your cat’s nails regularly could be a solution to scratching problems on furniture. This solution works better if you start doing it when your cat is still a kitten, so it gets used to it.

Besides, you should do it only when you have an indoor cat. Trimming the nails of a cat that goes outside frequently would not let it defend itself from attacks and stay out of trouble.

Claw clipping is not always a perfect solution.  If your cat damages a specific surface or object, it’s important to provide a more appealing alternative. 

Giving a similar or better experience for scratching is a smart way to prevent destructive scratching.

For example, if your cat is scratching your couch at a certain height, provide a vertical scratching area. This must have a similar texture so your cat can stretch to the same point and feel the same experience.

Let’s see the last scratching function:

# 4 Feel Good and Release Tension

Scratching is fun activity cats enjoy. It also acts as a stress reliever. And it lowers the chances of developing other undesirable behaviors.

When an indoor cat sees something exciting outside, such as another cat, a bird, or another animal, he or she will probably scratch.

The cat may run from room to room, vocalize, stop, and scratch impulsively. This helps to spend some of the energy that builds up when it sees something exciting but can not directly interact with it.

This is understandable behavior when you look at it from your cat’s point of view. It also provides more ideas for scratching post-placement, such as near windows and door walls.

Many cats enjoy scratching in areas where they can smell the owner’s scent, such as where the owner normally sits. This strange behavior occurs because cats can mix their scent with yours and feel safe in this way.

Cats’ natural desire to scratch is so strong that if a surface looks and feels appealing, they may find it difficult to resist!

As a consequence, it is critical to respect your cat’s instincts. Ensure to meet your cat’s needs:

  • Provide scratching alternatives with different materials;
  • Place scratching posts in different rooms of your home.

Is Your Cat Scratching Things That It Shouldn’t?

If you’re reading this, I’m guessing your answer is yes. I understand you perfectly but don’t give up,  even if you have tried everything and failed. 

There are various solutions to this annoying problem that doesn’t need drastic measures such as getting rid of the cat or declawing it. 

The first and most important step is to learn about the causes of this cat’s behavior. And you’ve already taken it, so congrats!

If you’re looking for more information on this topic, you might be interested in reading the following two articles:


In this post, we have seen why cats need to scratch. The most important reason, according to experts, is that it is part of their natural survival instinct. 

We also saw other benefits, such as stretching and keeping nails clean, as well as the fact that it is a fun activity.

In the wild, cats often use trees and logs for scratching. They are solid, sturdy, and their claws leave a nice, visible mark on them. Your sofa, dining room table, and other furniture can have the same nice properties.

As you can see, cats scratch because it is a natural, ingrained response. As a result, never attempt to stop them from scratching. 

Understanding this behavior, instead, can help you provide better scratching options. 

Are You Fed up With Your Cat’s Bad Behaviors?

This simple and easy-to-read guide will let you find the answers you need today.

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