Just as parents have to deal with certain behavioral issues with their children, pet owners have to face different habits from whichever type of pet that they have. If you are a cat owner, one of the situations you may be facing with your furry feline is wall scratching.
While this trait is considered normal behavior and most cats do it at some time or another, there are several reasons why they bring out their claws and let loose on an innocent wall.
Here are some of the causes that are responsible for this annoying (and destructive) habit. Don’t worry though, there are simple solutions to this problem.
Marking their Territory
Most animals like to designate their territory in the home (or in the yard in some cases). Because cats have scent glands on their paws, they will use them to show that they belong there and which areas are considered their space. This is especially an important practice if there are other animals that inhabit the home.
Scratching the wall is a cat’s way of showing what is theirs and establishing a form of dominance over any other pets who live there.
It Provides Exercise and Keeps Their Claws Healthy
Even though cats don’t get in very much exercise as they lay around the house all day, you will notice how they do have their own little stretching routine they easily morph into when they arise from their nap.
Scratching a wall gives them the perfect firm surface where they can get a good stretch in without a fear of falling.
When they reach the pinnacle of their stretch, they comfortably dig their claws into the wall. While this is comfortable for your cat it breaks down the husk that is on the outside of the claw and makes room for the newer nail that has been developing below.
The new nail is going to be much sharper than the one it is replacing.
It De-Stresses Them
Many cat owners, especially those who have rescued them from animal shelters, quickly learn that cats are very jittery. Even the slightest movement or sound they weren’t expecting can cause them to jump straight up into the air in fear.
Animals do have bad dreams and they even can be stressed out from issues that you are not aware of. When this does occur, cats will scratch a wall as a means to get back to their comfort zone.
It will quickly relax them and return them to their previous purring personality.
How Can You Stop Your Cat from Scratching Your Walls?
After reading the reasons why your cat scratches your walls, it is now time to learn how to get them to stop. There are several ways to choose from and they are listed in order of the most popular and effective way in the number one spot.
1 – Scratching Posts
There are a number of posts that have been created primarily for cats to claw at without getting into trouble.
You can choose from a vertical pole that has a base that you screw the pole into making it sturdy enough for your cat to really get their claws into. You can also use a scratching pole that sits flat on the floor and might work better with your décor.
One of the best ways to get your cat to start using a scratching post is to put the pole near the wall that he or she usually scratches at. (The same technique will work if you are trying to get them to stop scratching your furniture). Make sure to get a post that is appropriate to your cat’s size.
If you have more than one cat you should definitely have one scratching post for each cat. Some posts use corrugated cardboard but the most popular are the posts that are made using stiff but sturdy sisal rope.
You will need to replace the post when it becomes torn apart but once they are used to them they will have no trouble adapting to a new one.
2 – Have Their Nails Trimmed Regularly
If you have a sweet little kitty that you feel is calm enough to let you trim their nails, get some special clippers at a pet store and try to groom your cat once a month. If you don’t think it is something you’d like to tackle, make an appointment with your vet on a regular basis to keep your cat’s nails nicely trimmed at all times.
3 – Try a Special Tacky Tape
There is a special kind of tape that you can apply to the area of your walls where your cats love to scratch. It is safe for animals but it is applied sticky side out which your feline will not enjoy.
Most pet stores sell this tape and it is approved by veterinarians.
4 – Nail Caps for Cats
Not only is this product approved by veterinarians, they were developed by one. Nail caps are pieces of vinyl that are shaped like your cat’s claw. They fit right over them giving them a safe form of protection that will keep them from damaging your walls.
The caps are glued on with a special type of adhesive and they stay on until the cat’s original claws come off naturally. They have not only made them a functional product, they have made them in different colors so you can have fun matching your cat’s paws to your own manicure.
Should You Consider Having Your Cat Declawed?
If you are at your wit’s end with the destruction your cat is causing in your home you may think that getting him or her declawed would be the best way to resolve this. It is actually not a good idea at all for many reasons.
- It is a procedure that takes more than the nail off the cat and many times it leads to an infection.
- By removing your cat’s main form of self-defense he or she may express their fear in a more aggressive behavior, such as biting.
- It has been found that a declawed cat experiences pain in their feet when using their litter box.
While you may be tempted to have your cat’s claws removed you should at least consult with your veterinarian before making a final decision. Most of the options listed above do work and are effective in keeping walls scratch-free.
I have two Associate’s degrees, one in Medical Assisting and the other in Computer Technician, and I am roughly five classes from a bachelor’s degree. Though I never ended up working in the medical field, I have five and a half years of experience in IT. I recently became a stay-at-home mom to my two young boys, and I’m so excited to start this adventure with them! In my spare time, I love to bake and read pretty much anything I can get my hands on.