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Is Cat Scratching Normal?

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If you're a new cat owner, you may get frustrated when your cat scratches your beautiful new couch. It looks like destructive behaviour with no apparent purpose. "Is this normal?" you might ask. "Why is my cat scratching everything in sight?" 

Let's answer the question, "Is cat scratching normal?"

The short answer: yes!

According to veterinarian Dr. Kathryn Primm, cat scratching is a very normal behaviour. It's not a sign of destructiveness or a mental health problem. Cats use scratching for 3 very specific purposes. Read on to learn why cats like scratching so much.

Cats like scratching to stretch out their muscles.

Just like athletes stretch their muscles to keep them flexible, cats know that stretching is important for staying fit. They dig their claws into wood, carpet, or another rough surface to provide a solid contact point. Then, they can stretch against a little resistance. This provides a more effective stretch. According to Dr. Primm, scratching a rough surface and then stretching can also "improve circulation to their toes and nail beds."

Cats use scratching to mark their territory.

To protect their territory against intruders, cats will often scratch objects at their eye level. They could scratch a couch, leather chair, or even a roughly textured wall. The purpose of this scratching is to mark their boundaries for any visiting cats.

Pro Tip: If you want to keep your furniture looking good, hang a scratching pad at your cat's eye level. Hopefully, she'll scratch that instead of the couch!

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Cats communicate with each other through scratching.

Did you know that your cat produces secret chemical messages that only other cats can read? They're called pheromonesYour cat produces pheromones in a special organ between her toes, and she releases them on whatever she scratches. Neither humans nor dogs can sense or "read" these pheromones. However, other cats can read and understand these invisible messages. How cool is that!

Let's Chat:

Does your cat like to scratch, too? What tips would you give to help her avoid scratching furniture? Send us an email or PM with your thoughts!

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