Why do cats scratch furniture… Like your favorite cushy chair? Are they trying to send a message that you should redecorate? No… according to animal behavior expert Dr. Daniel Estep, it’s an instinctive territorial behavior.
They want to let any other cats that happen to pass by know that that couch is theirs. And it’s probably in a prime area of the home, where any other animal coming in will know your cat lives there and has claimed it.
Scratching not only provides visual evidence – through claw marks – but leaves behind scent markers, from the glands in their paws.
Another reason your cat is shredding your furniture? To slough off any dead bits from their nails, so new growth can take place. And by kneading the couch cushions, cats work out their back muscles that may be cramped from 16 hours of sleeping per day.
To deter your cats from scratching up the furniture, get a scratching post and place it as close to the furniture they scratch the most as you can.
Also make sure it’s in a high-traffic area, so your cat will feel it’s done its duty by marking it. It needs to be tall enough that they can stretch up on it… and non-carpeted, because the fibers in carpet can catch their nails. Cats prefer material that can be shredded, because remember, part of the reason they do it is to leave a visual clue that they were there.
Plus, cats like to scratch after waking up, so you may want to get a few posts and put one by their favorite napping spot.