Listening to your cat scratch away at your new furniture can be enough to have you tearing your hair out at the end of the day. In fact, scratching is one of the key behaviors that leaves thousands of cats searching for a new home in shelters every year.
While it’s frustrating (and sometimes expensive), to live with a cat that’s constantly scratching, it’s worth keeping in mind that scratching is actually healthy for your feline friend. Knowing why cats scratch, and how you can make sure that they do it in the right places, can help you to overcome those feelings of frustration.
1. It Keeps Claws Healthy
Cats can’t exactly go out for a manicure once a week, so scratching helps them to remove loose layers from their claws. Removing those dead layers is essential to keeping claws sharp and healthy for as long as possible.
2. It’s a Form of Exercise
When cat’s use a scratching post, they’re stretching, grabbing, and digging their claws into the fibers around the post. All of that involves some great muscle movement and helps your cat to get rid of any pent-up energy that he or she might be holding onto. It’s just one of the many ways they get their daily dose of exercise.
3. It Helps Them Stretch
If you invest in a tall scratching post, you’ll notice that your cat will use it to stretch his or her entire body while they’re scratching. This helps your kitty to keep their muscles in great condition, so they’re ready to bound after a laser pointer within seconds!
Related: Why Does My Cat Sleep for So Long?
4. It Relieves Stress
When your cat digs their claws into something – whether it’s your sofa or your scratching post, they find the experience incredibly satisfying. This combined with the stretching and exercise that your cat gets out of the experience can help to ensure that your feline friend stays feeling emotionally healthy and happy for longer.
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5. It Helps them to Identify their Space
You might not know this, but cats mark their territory in more ways than one. If you have multiple cats, your kitties might use their scratching post to communicate with other felines in the home by leaving their scent on the post with the sweat glands in their paws. Your cats might even have their own ranking order that’s determined on your scratching post!
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