Scratching Behavior in Cats

Most cat owners presume that cats scratch at objects to keep their claws sharp. However, animal behaviorists say this reason is only secondary.  Studies have shown that one of the important reasons for the natural instinct to scratch is for communication. It is a cat’s way of telling other cats or people what he is up to or where he’s been. Many experts classify scratching in cats as a type of marking behavior. Scent glands are present in the paws of cats and scratching stimulates these special glands to release distinct scents or pheromones that are deposited on surfaces where cats scratch. The scratch marks may also be a display of self-confidence that can be seen by other cats. Although scratching is an instinctive behavior, there are instances when it can become a destructive and compulsive behavior particularly when the cat makes a habit of running his paws on surfaces that are not considered ‘legal’ scratching areas like table tops, furniture, carpets, etc. Talk to your Mt. Airy, MD vet if you have any concerns about your pet’s behavior. 


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