Why do cats need to scratch?

Your cat tends to scratch everywhere: sofa, curtains, furniture legs, and even on you! But don’t scold them, it’s an instinctive reflex that it inherits from their wild ancestors and that allows them to survive in the wild. So yes, your cat lives in an apartment, but you have to be prepared for any eventuality! And if it really becomes too painful for you, don’t hesitate to invest in a scratching post…

1. Sharpen their claws

Cats have learned to maintain their precious claws for the simple reason that they are essential for hunting, and therefore for food. In addition, they are the ones that allow them to climb trees and thus escape their predators.

Thus, by making their claws on an object or a tree, our feline friends sharpen them so that they are perfectly sharp. But they also drop dead or damaged claws in order to avoid snagging anywhere and therefore putting themselves in danger. In fact, if they were to cling to an object when they feel threatened and want to flee, they could seriously injure themselves.

Note that if your cat’s scratches are not enough to file its claws, you can always cut them!

2. Mark their territory

It’s no secret that cats are extremely territorial animals. Thus, it needs to delimit an area in which it feels safe in order to be able to sleep, eat and relieve itself quietly. To do this, it uses several techniques: it can rub against the walls or furniture, urinate in strategic places or scratch their claws.

By scratching the sofa or the carpet for example, your cat not only leaves clearly visible traces but also deposits pheromones whose smell (imperceptible to us humans) allows you to warn any other cat that it enters an already occupied territory.

Indeed, these pheromones are located between its pads and are released when the cat retracts its claws. Scratching is therefore a way for them to mark their territory via both visual and olfactory markers.

3. Stretch

Finally, cats need to scratch because it allows them to stretch their whole body, and therefore strengthen and relax their muscles. It’s a form of physical exercise, in a way.

Besides, it also helps relieve anxiety!

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