Updated: Sep 8, 2020
Scratching is a normal part of cat behavior and serves several functions, including conditioning of the claws, providing a means of stretching, and acting as a marker (both olfactory, or scent, and visual). Cats like to scratch! The act of scratching actually removes frayed and worn outer claws, exposing new, sharper ones. However, what is normal cat behavior can become frustrating to deal with for cat owners — particularly when the cat in question starts destroying furniture or even scratching members of the family.
The vast majority of cats will live happy, non-furniture-destroying lives without being declawed, and a few extra steps taken by the caring pet parent can help to ensure this is the case. In most cases, problem scratching can be prevented with environmental and behavioral management.
Why does my cat scratch everything?
In some cases, keeping the cat away from the area that is being damaged is the simplest solution to the problem. Another variation is to allow the cat to have access to whatever is being scratched inappropriately, but to make that area unattractive to the cat while making a more appropriate area more attractive. Many cats scratch the couch because they simply do not have another option to exercise their scratching needs. All cats have a need to scratch and should be provided with appropriate posts to do so. Hopefully, your cat is not scratching but you are trying to pre-empt a problem.
Most cats prefer to scratch a vertical surface that is tall enough to allow them to fully arch their backs and really get into it, but also stable enough they don’t have to worry about toppling it. Cat trees or condos can be an excellent option if they are well-constructed of the appropriate materials, as they also provide cats with the ability to get above their surroundings — another very natural cat behavior!