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Cat Behavior

How To Stop Your Cat From Scratching Wallpaper

Ever wondered how to stop your cat from scratching wallpaper? As much as we love our cats, unfortunately, there are just things that we find annoying and wish they would stop. One of them is the habitual scratching that is being done on our furniture and other things including the wallpaper. If you’ve been dealing with this for a long time, I can understand how desperate you’ve gotten because – let’s face it – scratching could turn self-destructive if left unaddressed for too long.

What some cat parents don’t know is that, scratching is something they cannot completely eradicate from their feline friend. No matter how domesticated, cats share a lot with their outdoor counterparts. The cute, little kitty that you love carrying in your arms is a natural predator whose instinct is to hunt for other animals. And in order to hunt for their prey, they must keep their tools sharp so they could be ready to pounce anytime. What’s a better way to keep those claws sharp than to scratch on various surfaces?

Once you understand that, you will also realize as a cat parent, you can only seek other outlets for their scratching but you could never get rid of it – unless you do something radical, like declawing. More on that later. Believe it or not, there are other reasons why your cat likes to scratch. Aside from keeping their hunting tools sharp, of course.

Other Reasons Why Your Cat Likes To Scratch

1. It stretches their muscles. Every wonder why your scratches after a nap? When your cat wakes up, chances are she will look for something tall and sturdy to keep their claws sharp. The tall, sturdy feature is important because it stretches their back, which in turn feels good. There’s a reason why your cats like to scratch on deck posts and tables.

2. Out of pleasure or boredom. A lot of cats find pleasure in scratching especially if they have nothing else to do. When you are too busy, your cat could be something else to distract herself, and it’s usually what she’s already used to doing – scratching.

3. To mark their territory. Cats have a secret way of communicating with other cats, especially if she’s not the only one in the household. Cats mark a certain area of the home as theirs by scratching, which releases their own scent. Marking territory shows complete dominance over other cats.

4. To ease their insecurity. When cats are assaulted with new smells in the home, or when they get agitated over the arrival of a new cat or new family member, or when they get nervous over new changes in the home, you can expect your cat to act up and scratch all over the place. The act of scratching eases their insecurity and gives them a peace of mind over changes they can’t control.

A Word About Scratching

We have established by now that scratching is an innate behavior that you can never get rid from your cat. You just have to redirect that energy of their onto something else so your personal belongings and furniture will never be damaged. Unfortunately, there are cat parents who go the radical route by declawing their cats.

Declawing your cat is one of the worst, if not the worst, things you can do because of the health risks and consequences you could be facing in the long run.

Why Declawing Isn’t An Option

Declawing will affect your cat in more ways we cannot imagine. According to Humane Society, there are health problems that will surface should you decide to get rid of your cat’s claws. Worse, it will also change your cat’s personality and demeanor, and if she poses a safety risk to your young children you might be looking to give her up to an adoption home. All of this just because you want to eliminate your cat’s claws.

When you declaw your cat, remember that you’ve just taken away your feline friend’s hunting weapon. That means, not only will she be unable to act on her instinct to prey on small creatures, moreover she will be unable to defend herself. If the instinct to scratch is taken away, she will bite as defensive mechanism alternative. Moreover, she will be more aggressive and that includes around humans. Because cat’s paws are more sensitive towards certain surfaces, she will not feel comfortable shuffling her litter around, which was something she used to do. Instead, she will look to poop and pee somewhere else, rendering her litter box absolutely useless.

In other words, the downsides to declawing your cat far outweigh whatever benefits it has.

How To Stop Your Cat From Scratching Wallpaper

1. Use scratch posts and trees instead. The best way to address your cat’s destructive scratching habit is by seeking another outlet where she’s allowed to scratch to her heart’s content without damaging anything of value. In this case, a scratch post or tree is a good outlet where your cat can scratch all she wants.

Scratch posts are available in a wide variety of colors, height and material. Scratch posts can be bought from pet supply stores and are a must for every household that has cats. To get your cat to scratch on these scratch posts, you have to place them strategically where your cat scratches. In this case, by the wallpaper. Once you catch your cat scratching the wallpaper, saw a firm “No” to your cat and bring her over to the scratch post. Encourage her to scratch there and when she complies, praise her. You can also sprinkle cat nip all over the scratch post as encouragement.

Scratch posts are made in various materials. A popular one is sisal due to its durability. Cats happen to like them because scratching feels good on their claws.

Scratch trees are another great outlet. Scratch trees are available in various height and material as well. Another way to get your cat to scratch on scratch posts and trees is by bringing her over to them once they wake up. Since cats like to scratch after a nap, those things will serve their purpose well.

2. Give her ample exercise. Cats, despite their solitary nature, need enough bonding time with their parents. If she doesn’t get enough exercise, she will unleash all that untapped energy on scratching and other unwanted behavior. That’s why you really should make sure your feline friend has her enough fill of exercise on a daily basis. You can install cat shelves where she is allowed to run and jump all she wants.

Or better yet, buy those interactive cat toys where she’s encouraged to hone on her predatory instincts. Interactive cat toys are a hit among cat parents because not only are they fun, they allow their pets to pounce, grab and even bite as long as they want safely, and without messing up their homes.

Here are just a few examples of interactive cat toys.

K&H Scratch, Ramp, and Track Cardboard Toy

On2Pets Skyline Scratching Post

Catit Vesper Cat Tunnel

3. Address her anxiety If your cat has been scratching your wallpaper lately, something must have changed around your household. Has there been a new family member? A new cat, maybe? Is she going out a lot and meeting up with other cats? If you said yes to any of these, chances are, your cat is having some anxiety issues due to some changes in your home. You can treat her anxiety by bringing her over to a vet and asking for the right anti-anxiety medication for her. For the meantime, limit her access to her environment by keeping her in one or two rooms only.

4. Replace with paint If your wallpaper has been scratched to shreds and there seems to be no hope left, maybe it’s time to replace all of them with good ol’ paint. You can have your walls painted instead of keeping those wallpaper around.

5. Clean those scratches Those scratches contain cat scents that no human can smell. As long as those scratches are there, your cat will return to them no matter what to do her thing over and over.

You should apply a solution that will completely get rid of the smell, like Rocco & Roxie. Apply it on the surface and do it everyday for two weeks.

For the time being, watch out and make sure your cats never go near the wallpaper. Encourage her to scratch on the scratch post or tree, give her enough exercise and keep tabs on her all the time.

6. Use an anti-scratch spray. There are certain smells that are detrimental to your cat. Add about 10 drops of rosemary with water and spray it on the surfaces where your cats used to scratch. This goes without saying that you must clean those scratched surfaces with the above cleaning solution first to get rid of the cat scent. Rosemary is a deterrent for cats because they don’t like the smell. Some blogs recommend citrus and other essential oils, but according to ApVet, these essential oils are harmful to your pet. To avoid this, rosemary would be a good alternative.

7. Cover some parts with aluminum foil or sandpaper Cats don’t like the texture of aluminum foil and sandpaper, so it would be a good idea to cover the area your cat likes to scratch with either of those things. Once your cat realizes something’s strange, she will back off and not scratch there again.

This is a good time to instill a new set of habits like using the scratch post or tree and playing with interactive cat toys. Keep the aluminum foil or sandpaper for two weeks – long enough for your cat to be comfortable with her new plaything.

8. Never yell at nor hurt your cat. Training your cat will be hard and frustrating. Nevertheless, don’t yell at your cat nor hurt her because it will only make her anxious. That anxiety will only cause your cat to scratch even more.