Becoming a new cat owner can be an exciting and educational experience. Most new cat owners have a thousands questions about why their pet behaves the way it does. For some people, these habits are amusing, for others they are confusing or downright annoying. Let’s take a quick look at one of the most common types of cat behavior, and why your pet cat does it.

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Why do my cats have an incessant urge to scratch? There is no doubt that watching your cat constantly claw things up can be annoying and irritating. This is especially true if your cat or kitty is clawing up your sofa, bed-spread or drapes. Your first impression may be that this is simply bad behavior and that your cats are acting out. You may think that your pet is irritated with you, so in turn he decides to leave his mark of revenge on the side of your sofa. Another assumption is that because your kitty is pulling the drapes down, this must mean he wants outside or is trying to open the window himself. In reality, none of these assumptions are true. Your cat is not acting out or trying to punish you for not giving him what he wants. Scratching is perfectly natural for cats. It’s in their genes. Your cat or kitty scratches for three main reasons:

  1. He is trying to mark his territory. Cats are territorial by nature. They want to leave a visible sign that this is their home. And they do that by leaving claw marks on various items. When your cat scratches, his pads let off a scent which allows him cat to further “mark” his territory.
  2. He is keeping his claws in good shape. For a cat, their claws are an important tool, used for both self-defense and catching prey. Without his claws, a cat in the wild could not survive. As a result, your kitty knows that he needs to keep his nails in good working order. Scratching on a regular basis helps remove the dead outer layer of his claws.
  3. He is entertaining himself. A board cat or kitty will start to engage in destructive behavior sooner or later. While most cats will scratch moderately for health reasons, a board cat may indulge in destructive scratching and clawing. In this case, you may discover that your cat’s urge to scratch is in hyper-drive. Instead of finding a few claw marks on the side of your couch, you may come home to discover that your pet cat has literally ripped the cushions apart.

Helping Your Cat Overcome Destructive Clawing

The best cure for destructive scratching is to provide your pet cat with plenty of entertainment and mental stimulation. Invest in an outdoor cat playpen or outdoor cat runs where your pet can get a healthy dose of fresh air and exercise. It is also a good idea to purchase a number of cat scratching posts. Teach your pet that this is where he needs to channel his urge to scratch. Before long, your cat or kitty will learn that it is unacceptable for him to destroy the furniture. Instead, he can utilize his cat scratching posts.