If you are a cat owner, you have probably witnessed your furry friend scratching the walls at some point. You may have wondered why they do it and what you can do to stop it. Is it a sign of boredom, aggression, or something else? Is it harmful to your cat or your home?
In this blog post, we will explore the reasons behind this common cat behavior and offer some tips and solutions to prevent or reduce it. We will also debunk some myths and misconceptions that may have confused you or made you worry about your cat’s well-being. By the end of this post, you will have a better understanding of why cats scratch walls and how to manage this behavior in a positive and effective way.
Reasons Cats Scratch Walls?
Cats are curious and playful animals, but sometimes their behavior can puzzle or annoy us. One of the most common questions that cat owners ask is why do cats scratch walls? Scratching is a natural and normal behavior for cats, but why do they choose to scratch the walls instead of other surfaces? What are they trying to achieve by doing so? And how can we prevent them from damaging our walls and furniture?
There are several possible reasons why cats scratch walls, and they may vary depending on the individual cat, the environment, and the situation. Here are some of the most common ones:
- Removing dead outer skin from their claws: Cats have retractable claws that grow continuously throughout their lives. To keep their claws healthy and sharp, cats need to shed the old and worn-out outer layer of their nails. Scratching helps them do that by creating friction and pressure that breaks off the dead husk and reveals new and sharper nails underneath. Scratching also helps cats stretch their muscles and tendons, which is important for their mobility and agility.
- Marking territory: Cats are territorial animals that use various methods to communicate with other cats and claim their space. One of these methods is scratching, which leaves behind visual and scent marks that signal to other cats who owns a particular area. Cats have scent glands on their paws that secrete pheromones, which are chemical substances that convey information and emotions. By scratching the walls, cats deposit their pheromones on them, creating a familiar and comforting scent that makes them feel more secure and confident in their environment. Scratching also creates visible marks that warn other cats to stay away or respect the boundaries of the territory.
- Instinct: Scratching is an instinctive behavior for cats that has evolved over thousands of years. Cats are descendants of wild felines that used their claws for hunting, climbing, fighting, and defending themselves. Even though domestic cats do not need to use their claws for survival as much as their ancestors did, they still retain the instinct to scratch as a way of expressing their emotions, relieving stress, or satisfying their curiosity. Scratching can also be a form of play or exercise for cats, especially if they are bored or lack stimulation.
- Boredom: Cats are intelligent and active animals that need physical and mental stimulation to stay happy and healthy. If they do not receive enough attention, enrichment, or entertainment from their owners or their environment, they may become bored and restless. Scratching can be a way for cats to cope with boredom or boredom-related stress. It can also be a way for cats to seek attention from their owners, especially if they learn that scratching the walls elicits a reaction from them. Some cats may scratch the walls simply because they enjoy the sound or the sensation it creates.
- Household pests: Cats have a keen sense of hearing that allows them to detect sounds that humans cannot. Sometimes, they may hear mice or other pests inside the walls or behind the furniture. This can trigger their prey drive and make them want to chase and catch the source of the noise. Scratching can be a way for cats to try to access or expose the hidden pests, or to express their frustration or excitement at not being able to do so.
As you can see, there are many reasons why cats scratch walls, and most of them are normal and harmless. However, sometimes scratching can become excessive or problematic, causing damage to your walls or furniture, or indicating an underlying issue with your cat’s health or behavior. In the next section, we will discuss some tips and solutions on how to stop cats from scratching walls or redirect them to more appropriate surfaces.
How To Stop Cats From Scratching Walls?
While scratching is a natural and normal behavior for cats, it can become a problem when they scratch the walls or other inappropriate surfaces. Not only can this cause damage to your home and furniture, but it can also indicate that your cat is unhappy, stressed, or bored. Fortunately, there are some ways to stop cats from scratching walls or redirect them to more suitable surfaces. Here are some tips and solutions you can try:
- Trimming your cat’s nails: One of the easiest and most effective ways to prevent your cat from scratching the walls is to keep their nails trimmed to an appropriate length. This will reduce the need for scratching and make it less satisfying for your cat. You can use clippers designed for cats or take your cat to a groomer or a veterinarian for regular nail trimming.
- Installing a wall-mounted scratcher: If your cat likes to scratch the walls, you can provide them with a more appealing alternative by installing a wall-mounted scratcher. This can be a board or a pad made of sisal, cardboard, or wood that you attach to the wall at your cat’s preferred height. You can also sprinkle some catnip on the scratcher or scratch it yourself to attract your cat’s attention and interest.
- Spraying a citrus solution on the walls: Cats tend to dislike citrus smells, so you can use this to your advantage by spraying a citrus solution on the walls that your cat scratches. You can make your own solution by mixing water and lemon juice or orange peel in a spray bottle. Alternatively, you can use a commercial product that contains citrus or other scents that cats find unpleasant.
- Creating climbing spots for your cat: Cats love to climb and explore high places, so you can satisfy their curiosity and need for exercise by creating climbing spots for your cat. You can use shelves, cat trees, window perches, or other furniture that your cat can access and enjoy. This will also give your cat more vertical space and territory, which can reduce their stress and need for scratching.
- Using a diffuser to reduce stress: Sometimes, cats scratch the walls because they are stressed or anxious about something in their environment, such as other cats, loud noises, or changes in routine. In this case, you can use a diffuser that emits synthetic pheromones that mimic the ones that cats produce when they are calm and relaxed. These pheromones can help your cat feel more secure and comfortable in their home and reduce their urge to scratch.
- Giving your cats more attention and exercise: Cats need physical and mental stimulation to stay happy and healthy. If they do not receive enough attention, enrichment, or entertainment from their owners or their environment, they may become bored and restless. Scratching can be a way for cats to cope with boredom or boredom-related stress. To prevent this, you should give your cats more attention and exercise by playing with them, hiding treats for them, or providing them with toys that they can interact with on their own.
- Rule out mice and other insects: Cats have a keen sense of hearing that allows them to detect sounds that humans cannot. Sometimes, they may hear mice or other insects inside the walls or behind the furniture. This can trigger their prey drive and make them want to chase and catch the source of the noise. Scratching can be a way for cats to try to access or expose the hidden pests, or to express their frustration or excitement at not being able to do so. To rule out this possibility, you should check your walls and furniture for any signs of infestation and take appropriate measures to get rid of them.
- Consulting a veterinarian or a behaviorist: If none of the above tips work or if your cat’s scratching is excessive or causing damage, you should consult a veterinarian or a behaviorist for professional help. They can examine your cat for any medical or behavioral issues that may be causing their scratching and prescribe suitable treatments or interventions.
Scratching is a normal part of being a cat, but it does not have to ruin your walls or your relationship with your pet. By understanding why cats scratch walls and how to stop them from doing so, you can create a happier and healthier environment for both you and your cat.
In this blog post, we have explored the reasons why cats scratch walls and how to stop them from doing so. We have learned that scratching is a natural and normal behavior for cats that serves various purposes, such as keeping their claws healthy, marking their territory, relieving stress, or expressing their emotions. However, we have also learned that scratching can become a problem when it causes damage to our walls or furniture, or when it indicates that our cat is unhappy, bored, or stressed.
Fortunately, there are some ways to prevent or reduce this behavior by providing our cats with appropriate scratching surfaces, trimming their nails, enriching their environment, using deterrents or diffusers, ruling out pests, or seeking professional help. By following these tips and solutions, we can create a happier and healthier environment for both us and our cats.