Cat Scratch Fever – Why Cats Need to Scratch and Peer Down
on Us From High Places
When we see cats scratching, whether it is on furniture and
carpets or posts and trees outdoors, we assume that they are sharpening their
claws and exercising the delicate muscles and tendons in their feet and
arms. While they are indeed doing the
above, this is not their main purpose in scratching. Research reveals that cats are primarily leaving
sign posts for their neighbors and those they share their homes with. Scratching, as it turns out, is a form of communication.
Cats have scent glands in their paws that announce “Kitty-Roy
was here.” It appears that the more mess
they make with their scratching, the better the communication they are enjoying
with the world. Typically cats will
select several outlets for distribution of the news of their activities, and they
will return to them on a regular basis, to renew their scent and update the neighborhood
news. Here are several techniques to
channel their journalism in a more acceptable direction that will protect your
furniture, doorways and carpets.
- Place scratching posts and cat houses in Kitty’s favorite napping areas, so
she will be able to stretch as soon as she wakes up.
- Place the cat house with a scratching post near a window, so kitty can watch the wildlife from on high.
- Don’t grab your cat’s paws and try to smear his scent on the
new scratching post – it won’t encourage kitty to use the post.
- Instead, encourage kitty to scratch by rubbing the
scratching posts with Catnip, and dangling a toy or feather teaser over the
area you want scratched. Once they have willing placed their scent on that area, they will be more likely to return to it.
If you already have an issue with Kitty scratching on inappropriate
objects, clean the area with mild detergent, and after it dries cover it with
aluminum foil or thick plastic. The new
surface will have not have the same desirable shredding effect that aids in
communicating your Kitty’s recent presence.
Why So High Wild Thing? Cats enjoy lounging in high, warm places. Their origins as
desert animals dictate that they enjoy a place in the sun, and the higher the better. Their hunting and survival instincts were
born out of their ability to effectively leap and climb after their prey. Sleeping
in high places is therefore another survival instinct passed down from their
wild ancestors, allowing cats in the wild to rest peacefully while hiding from
predators. To maximize your kitty’s enjoyment of her new cat tree house, place it in
an area where it will receive several hours of sun each day.