Have you ever wondered why do cats scratch the furniture? The answer is actually simple. Those sharp little claws are designed for survival: when it comes to hunting and defence, claws help keep cats alive. When cats scratch, they sharpen their nails, and any dead nail sheaths will naturally be shed. This allows for new growth and keeps the nails healthy.
Scratching keeps your cat mentally healthy, too. Whether it’s excitement, joy, anxiety or frustration, scratching is a great way of relieving pent-up emotions. Scratching also serves important communicative purposes. Other cats can observe the scratch marks and know that the cat is nearby or resident in the area. More closely, cats can also detect olfactory signals left behind with the scratch marks: scent glands in the paw pads release pheromones (communicative scents), providing plenty of information to a sniffing cat.
Another health aspect is stretching. Your cat can fully extend her back and shoulder muscles, which is necessary after spending much of the day tightly curled in a ball while sleeping.