Scientists have a way to stop cats from scratching furniture

Cat scratching is not just a matter of parenting. As research by an international team of scientists has shown, furniture destruction can also be caused by other factors, such as the presence of children in the home and the pet’s level of activity. However, there are several ways to combat this behavior.

Many cat lovers are accustomed to chairs, rugs, and pillows marked with cat claws. Although scratching is an instinctive behavior, not all cats destroy furniture, opting instead for scratching posts. A study published in Frontiers in Veterinary Science explains what makes cats more prone to frequent scratching, and suggests how to get them to sharpen their claws in designated places.

Environment and behavior

Scientists asked more than 1,200 cat owners in France about their pets’ personality traits and the household situation they live in. They then asked them to describe their pets’ unwanted scratching behavior. The results showed that there are several environmental and behavioral factors that increase the likelihood that a cat will destroy furniture.

– The presence of children in the home, intense play and nocturnal activity contribute to increased scratching frequency. Cats described as aggressive or anxious also do this, explained the study’s lead author Yasemin Salgirlı Demirbas from Ankara University.

The researchers found that stress was the main cause of unwanted scratching. For example, the presence of children, especially young ones, may increase it — and the researchers plan to take a closer look at the links between these factors. Additionally, when cats play for long periods of time, their stress levels can increase due to the constant and intense stimulation.

How to have fun effectively

Scientists have suggested ways to reduce the problem of scratching. These include placing scratching posts in areas where the cat often passes or rests or using pheromones. It is also worth providing many short play sessions that simulate successful hunts. This activity will keep the cats interested and reduce stress, and can strengthen the bond between pet and caregiver.

Providing cats with safe hiding places, high places to watch, and plenty of ways to play can also help calm them down, said Salgerli Demirbas.

The researchers acknowledged that although the information they collected was subjective, it allowed them to gain a unique insight into cats’ scratching habits. The goal of their next research will be to develop more effective strategies for dealing with this unwanted behavior.

Main image source: Adobe Stock

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