A grey cat engaged in some destructive behavior.
Destructive cat behavior can be a sign that your feline friend needs physical and mental stimulation.

Cats with access to the great outdoors may have more feline fun, but this freedom can come at a high price. The potential for serious falls, car accidents, and fights with other animals leads many owners to keep their fluffy buddies strictly indoors. Many cats are content to hang around the house, but depend on their indoor environment to keep them busy, engaged and entertained. However, without daily physical and mental stimulation, owners can possibly expect some destructive cat behavior.

The Roots

It can feel very personal to come home to a shredded couch or tattered tapestries, but we can assure you that your cat isn’t using their claws vindictively. Instead, they are simply reacting to feelings of boredom, isolation, anxiety, or even curiosity. 

A Look Around

A quick inventory of your cat’s environment could reveal what’s wrong. They need variety, above all, but the uninterrupted opportunities to climb, scratch, hunt, perch, and ambush are all part of the puzzle. 

Kitty Likes (and Needs) to Scratch

Scratching is seen as a destructive cat behavior, but it is essential to felines. The action gives them an incredible back and leg stretch, and scratching helps remove the dead outer sheath around the claws. Additionally, they mark their territory through scent glands in their feet.

Make It Happen

Providing a couple scratching posts around the house can reduce how often they hit up your furniture or draperies. If they don’t take to their new posts right away, encourage them with treats, catnip or pheromone spray. Over time, their posts may become ratty-looking, but resist the temptation to replace them until they’ve fully adopted new ones.

You’ve probably noticed that your cat prefers a certain type of fabric. This can be very pleasing to your cat’s tactile senses, so try to choose scratching surfaces that closely mimic your furniture or curtains, etc. Similarly, some cats prefer to scratch horizontal surfaces instead of vertical ones. 

Buck Stops Here

You can try to place scratching posts in front of the couch arms or corners to deter your cat. Double-sided tape, aluminum foil, sandpaper and most citrus spray repellent work well, too.

Remember, scolding or punishing your cat won’t have positive results. In fact, it may have the opposite effect. Training your cat to avoid damaging items by scratching can be done by rewarding only good behavior and staying patient. Always keep your cat’s nails trimmed.

Destructive cat behavior may be explained by a medical condition. Feel free to schedule an appointment so we can address your cat’s needs. Diagnostics may be helpful to uncovering what’s wrong.

If you need more information about feline behavior, please let us know.