Scratch that!

shutterstock_179064368Cats have an instinctive need to hunt, stalk, climb and yes, scratch. While you may love your little feline dearly, you also love your couches and curtains and would like to have them intact and looking good.

It’s important to note that your kitty isn’t scratching up your prize possessions to be spiteful. Scratching is natural cat behaviour! Animal behaviour practitioner Leigh Shenker says it’s an important form of communication for them and signals other cats who they are and what they get up to. It’s also very important in terms of encouraging other cats to keep their distance.

“Cats will choose areas that are at the right height and location so that they are clearly visible to other cats,” explains Leigh. “They also tend to return to mark these areas.”

Cats may also scratch to get attention from their people, or to use scratching as a way to stretch and exercise their muscles and paws and sharpen their claws.

Is declawing your cat the answer? According to Leigh Shenker, definitely not.

“Declawing your cat should never ever be an option to deal with scratching. If you declaw a cat the original reason for the scratching is not being addressed so your cat will find other ways to communicate. In the absence of claws a cat may resort to spraying, vocalising or inappropriate elimination. It may not solve the problem and could actually make it worse in the long term.

Cats also need their claws to defend themselves, so a declawed cat may become severely anxious. She may even refuse to leave a room or space where she feels safe, because she has no way to defend herself from anything that threatens her.”

Are you living in a complex and thinking about getting a cat? Click here for advice.

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