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why do cats scratch furniture

Cat Behavior: Why Do Cats Scratch Furniture?

Are you wondering, “why do cats scratch furniture?” We have a few answers that may be able to help. Contact a skilled veterinarian in Tucson, AZ, today to learn more about how you can deter this undesirable feline behavior.

Why Do Cats Scratch Furniture – Natural Behaviors

There are many reasons why your cat might be scratching your furniture. As a caring cat owner, you want to understand these actions to learn how to work with your cat to protect your favorite furnishings. Let’s explore the various feline instincts that motivate this behavior.


After every catnap, you probably see your cat release their claws into the nearest surface within reach while they shake off the sleep. Cats often combine scratching and stretching as part of their typical routine. These actions keep their bodies healthy and ready to perform at a moment’s notice.

Excitement and Anxiety

Why do cats scratch furniture? As natural hunters, cats often become physically excited when they see potential prey, including birds, mice, and cat toys. In most cases, your cat can easily expend that energy by stalking or playing with its target.

Sometimes, your cat may see a bird through a window. They may scratch furniture because they’re experiencing excitement, anxiety, or frustration at seeing the out-of-reach bird. In some instances, your cat is simply working out some pent-up energy.

Territorial Marking

Cats have a strong urge to mark the territory they consider their own. The feline paw provides two methods of marking territory: their claws and hidden scent glands within their paws. When they scratch an item, they leave visible marks and a scent that lets other cats know they are intruding.

Claw Health

Unlike human nails, feline claws peel away in layers as the outer layer ages and deteriorates. Scratching is a natural behavior that helps remove old keratin layers and expose the fresher, sharper layer beneath them.

Claw care is vital for cats because the claw is essentially the first knuckle of their hands and feet. Their retractable nails help cats balance and walk normally. Therefore, declawing is a painful and excessively damaging form of amputation.

Provide Appropriate Alternatives for Healthy Scratching Behavior

So, why do cats leave scratch marks on your favorite surfaces? This behavior essentially boils down to instincts that you can’t fully train away. Thankfully, cat owners like you can offer your feline friend alternative options to avoid the destruction of your nice furniture.

You might not be able to stop the scratching behavior entirely. However, you can redirect it to more appropriate objects. Consider purchasing and placing the following items around your home near nap zones, windows, and doors:

  • Vertical scratching posts
  • Horizontal scratching pads

Now that you know “why do cats scratch furniture,” you might want to discover more helpful information for your pet. For instance, learn more about treating and preventing tick infestation in dogs. You can also call (520) 889-9643 to make an appointment with Santa Cruz Veterinary Clinic in Tucson, AZ.

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