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Scratching is an innate behavior in cats, however, when it is carried out in a generalized and compulsive way in our furniture or tissues, it can become a very undesirable and annoying behavior. In addition, we must also ask ourselves if there is any kind of problem that is encouraging this behavior, such as a possible problem of stress and anxiety.
Does your cat scratch absolutely everything? In this article we will explain why cats scratch and most importantly: How to keep your cat from scratching everything. We will offer you management guidelines, education tips and we will also review some market products that you can use or discard in this process. Start solving this problem today!
If we study the etogram of a cat, that is, the set of typical behaviors of the species, we will observe that scratching is a representative behavior and that it also has different meanings.
Cats start scratching when they are dogs, because in this way they explore and begin to develop their reflections for hunting. It is important to note that both behaviors are closely intertwined. The scratches are usually made towards other members of his family, such as his progenitor and siblings, but it is also common for them to attack our ankles, the toys they have and until they try to hunt insects or birds that look out the window. In this stage, then, the cats they will scratch instinctively to prepare for the hunt.
Once the stage of socialization is over, when the cat enters his youth, he continues to carry out this activity, but begins to realize it as well a habit that entertains them, directed to carpets, curtains and other elements. Likewise, returning to the hunting behavior, they scratch for sharpen the nails, essential in the capture of prey and in its defense. If they are not provided with a scraper, they will begin to scratch furniture and other objects in the home, causing a preference for those places.
When the cat reaches sexual maturity, it begins to carry out the marking behavior, which consists of rubbing, urinating or scratching, behaviors that favor the presence of pheromones in the environment in which they reside. All this allows them to feel more comfortable, as well as delimit its territory and alert other felines in the area. Nail marking allows the release of pheromones in certain places, such as trunks and poles, and it is a form of communication.
Finally, stress and anxiety are other factors that would explain that our cat scratches furniture and other objects. Through these behaviors, which tend to be unpleasant for tutors, the cat will express that his welfare is compromised, so he will look for behaviors that make him feel more secure. Apart from marking, a cat with high levels of stress can begin to defecate and urinate in other areas of the home, as well as carry out abnormal behaviors, such as excessive dependence, hyperactivity or apathy.
Loneliness, changes in the home or lack of environmental enrichment can cause stress in the cat, a behavior problem that also affects your health, because it predisposes you to get sick more easily.
Since the fact of scratching has multiple meanings and does not necessarily represent a negative behavior that should be avoided, we must encourage our cat so that scratch the appropriate places. For this, we must offer several scrapers (We recommend a minimum of two for each cat in the home) of different types and textures, in this way we can discover which is the favorite of our feline. We will place the scrapers near the area where it tends to scratch and we can even cover the scratched furniture with textures that the cat finds unpleasant, which will help to avoid them.
Importantly the punishment is totally contraindicated, because it increases the levels of stress in the cat. For this reason, we recommend betting on positive reinforcement, which may include the use of kind words, tasty prizes or caresses, which will encourage our cat to associate the fact of scratching the scrapers with something positive, thus encouraging behavior in objects that we consider adequate.
For motivate our cat to use the scrapers, we can use some tricks, such as the use of catnip, but in addition, there are very useful and effective items on the market, such as FELISCRATCH by FELIWAY®, a product that contains an exact synthetic copy of the natural pheromones that cats release during tagging, which encourages them to use areas containing it, in addition to promoting their welfare.
Likewise, we must not forget that the physical and mental stimulation It is essential to get a cat to channel its energy properly. The use of intelligence toys, socialization with their caregivers or physical activity is essential to make our feline happy, as well as ensuring a sense of security through proper nutrition, preventive medicine and care are essential.
When we talk about cats with high levels of stress and anxiety, we must be aware that providing only scrapers we will not solve the problem. In these cases we advise to have the opinion of a ethologist veterinarian, as well as making use of other complementary products, such as Synthetic pheromones for cats, which improve well-being and transmit calmness in the home.
Finally, and not least, highlight that cleaning is essential to eliminate the smell of the pheromones of the cat itself. We advise you to use enzymatic products and / or ethyl alcohol to eliminate traces in unsuitable luggers, such as furniture, carpets or curtains.
The market is full of products that ensure that cats do not scratch furniture, whether caused by marking or stress, however, it is important to note that most of these items they are not endorsed or supported by studies. In addition, in some cases, these products can be uncomfortable for our cats, which will increase their stress and discomfort at home.
For this reason, we advise you to inform you before purchasing any product and look for serious and committed companies that carry out a scientific research that supports its use, like the one we mentioned earlier to motivate the cat to scratch.
If you want to read more articles similar to How to prevent my cat from scratching everything?, we recommend that you enter in our behavior problems section.
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