Scratching is one of the top behaviors that’s responsible for landing thousands of cats in shelters each year. It can be frustrating and expensive to live with a cat that won’t stop scratching the side of a new couch or has gouged chunks out of the leg of your dining room table. The best way to solve a cat’s behavior problem– including inappropriate scratching– is to understand why your cat is doing it and to provide her with a more appropriate way to do it. Scratching is an instinctual habit that provides many benefits to your cat’s health.
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#1 – Claw health
Scratching helps your cat shed loose layers from her claws. Removing those dead layers is a key part of keeping her claws healthy, sharp, and ready for action.
Image: Lindsey Turner : Flickr
#2 – Stretch
A tall scratching post will help your cat stretch her whole body as well as the paws. Stretching helps your cat keep her muscles in tip-top shape so she’s ready to bound and pounce at a moment’s notice even after a very long slumber.
Image: Enrico : Flickr
#3 – Exercise
For your cat, scratching involves stretching and digging her claws into the fiber of her post. All of that standing on hind legs, stretching, and digging is a great way for your cat to release pent up energy and get a bit of exercise.
Image: Simon Powell : Flickr
#4 – Reduce stress
Digging her claws into the right kind of fiber (like a sisal scratching post) is very satisfying for cats. That, mixed with the stretching and exercise can help keep your cat emotionally healthy and happy.
Image: Mr.TinDC : Flickr
#5 – Communication
In a multi-cat house, the scratching post can become a communication device. Cats have scent glands in their paws (similar to the ones they have in their cheeks). Cats use their scent glands to mark their territory and to determine rank.