Why Does My Cat Scratch The Wall? 4 Reasons Why and 8 Ways to Deter It

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Why does my cat scratch the wall?

Are you a new or even seasoned cat owner wondering “why does my cat scratch the wall”? Well, there are plenty of reasons why your cat could be using your walls as their own personal scratching pad. From natural instinct to boredom, let’s dive into the different reasons your cat may be scratching the walls plus everything you can do to deter them.

Jump straight to your question:

Why Does My Cat Scratch The Wall?
1. Scratching Feels Good to Cats
2. Territorial Behavior
3. Your Cat is Happy
4. Your Cat is Bored

When Do Cats Usually Scratch the Wall?

Why Does My Cat Scratch the Wall at Night?

Why Does My Cat Scratch the Wall After Pooping?

Why Does My Cat Scratch the Wall After Eating?

How to Get Your Cat From Scratching The Walls
1. Buy a Cat Scratching Post
2. Get Your Cat a Cat Tree
3. Make Sure Your Cat Has Adequate Cat Toys
4. Trim Your Cat’s Nails
5. Try Pheromone Therapy
6. Use Sandpaper or Double-Sided Tape
7. Redirect Bad Behavior
8. Talk to Your Veterinarian

Why Does My Cat Keep Meowing and Scratching the Walls?

Why Does My Cat Scratch the Walls of the Litter Box?

What Do Cats Like to Scratch?

Why Does My Cat Scratch The Wall?

Scratching is a natural practice most cats partake in their daily lives. However, if you find that your cat has begun scratching the walls there may be a distinct reason for their behavior change. Figuring out why your cat is scratching can help you address the issue and deter them from continuing this destructive habit.

1. Scratching Feels Good to Cats

Most cats scratch walls because it feels good. Using their claws is a normal exercise pattern for cats as it allows them to shed and sharpen their claws. Cats can accumulate dead skin on their claws and therefore will instinctively scratch to remove that skin and keep their claws healthy.

2. Territorial Behavior

Cats tend to scratch walls in an attempt to mark their territory. After all, when your cat scratches they are leaving behind a visual indicator that they have marked their area.

Think of scratching as your cat’s way of telling the world they own and occupy the space around them and others should steer clear. Cats who feel threatened or insecure may use scratching as a way to increase their territory and feel more confident.

If you recently brought a new cat or pet into your home, your cat may be marking their territory which includes your walls. Your cat may feel the need to claim your home as their own so they mark their area through scratching.

3. Your Cat is Happy

Have you ever seen your cat do a big stretch and dig their claws into whatever they’re stretching on in the process? That can be a sign of comfort and happiness. Cats knead things, or repeatedly dig their claws in and out, when they are happy. So, when your cat digs their claws in after a big stress it could mean they are content.

4. Your Cat is Bored

In some cases, cats may scratch walls due to boredom. A lack of stimulation or activity can lead cats to seek out new ways to entertain themselves, including scratching the walls. If you suspect your cat is scratching out of boredom, try providing them with more toys to keep them occupied.

Or, take the opportunity to find time each day to play with your cat and watch their scratching behavior decrease as they become more stimulated during playtime.

When Do Cats Usually Scratch the Wall?

Now that you know some of the reasons your cat could be scratching the walls, it’s important to be able to distinguish when they are most likely to do it. Let’s check out some of the most common times you may find your cat scratching the wall.

Why Does My Cat Scratch the Wall at Night?

If your cat is scratching the walls out of boredom or to get attention, you may find that they scratch more often at night than during the day. That’s because they are seeking playtime or attention after everyone else has gone to bed.

If your cat begins scratching walls or furniture out of boredom, provide them with plenty of toys and even new places to explore around your house like new perches for them to climb on.

Why Does My Cat Scratch the Wall After Pooping?

You may find that your cat scratches the walls after pooping or using the litter box. Cats instinctively want to bury their waste, which is why they scratch the surrounding area after going to the bathroom.

When a cat scratches the ground or litter box after pooping, they are trying to cover up their scent and get rid of any evidence that they were there.

If you find that your cat is scratching walls after pooping, make sure they have plenty of litter in their litter box and that you’re keeping the area clean.

Why Does My Cat Scratch the Wall After Eating?

One reason your cat may be scratching the wall after eating is to get rid of any leftover scent of their food. Wild cats will often bury their food so that any predators cannot track them. Although your indoor cat may have nothing to protect against, they may still be scratching walls instinctively.

If your cat is scratching the wall after eating, try to remove any potential leftover scents by washing your cat’s dish after they finish eating and putting away any bowls of food. If you see your cat scratching, redirect destructive scratching habits by distracting them with toys and luring them away from the spot.

How to Get Your Cat From Scratching The Walls

If you find that your cat is scratching the walls, there are a few things you can do to deter them from scratching.

scratching post if your cat scratches the walls

1. Buy a Cat Scratching Post

One way to get your cat to stop scratching the walls is to provide them with a designated scratching post. There are plenty of different scratching posts out there from ones made of cardboard to full carpet scratch pads. A good way to deter your pet from scratching the walls is to put the scratching posts at the spots where your cat already scratches. This can help train them to use the scratching post while keeping your wall safe.

Cat scratching posts are a great way to provide your pet with an outlet for their scratching needs and they’re relatively affordable. You can find very basic scratching pads to place around your house or opt for a fancier version if that suits your budget.

2. Get Your Cat a Cat Tree

Similar to a scratching post, you can get your cat a cat tree to play and scratch on. Cat trees are typically made up of carpeted posts and perches that allow cats to stretch and scratch. Many cat trees come with sisal rope scratching posts that can redirect your cat’s scratching needs.

Cat trees come in many different colors, designs, and sizes. Some even have hanging toys or beds to keep your cat engaged and happy. If you have the extra money to spend, a cat tree is a great way to keep your cat from scratching the walls and provide them with hours of entertainment. Cat trees are great for households with multiple cats.

Related: The 9 Best Wooden Cat Trees

Related: The Best Cat Trees for Multiple Cats

3. Make Sure Your Cat Has Adequate Cat Toys

In addition to cat trees and scratching posts, it’s important that your cat has plenty of toys to help prevent boredom and stop scratching. If you don’t have other cats or pets in your home, your cat may not be getting enough stimulation. Interactive toys, like laser pointers, can help keep your cat entertained while you’re away.

There are also a variety of different types of toys that you can buy to place around your house. Toys like crinkle balls and jingling balls can be placed near furniture that your cat is likely to scratch. This will help divert their attention away from scratching the furniture and onto playing with their toys.

4. Trim Your Cat’s Nails

If your cat is scratching the wall, you can minimize any damage by trimming your cat’s claws regularly. It is recommended to trim your cat’s nails every two weeks. This may not keep them from scratching the walls or furniture, but it should help minimize any damage.

While vets support trimming your cat’s nails, most vets do not support completely declawing your cat. Declawing your cat involves the amputation of the last bone in each of the cat’s toes and declawing them can remove their natural ability to jump, climb, and protect themselves.

5. Try Pheromone Therapy

Your cat may be scratching the wall because they are anxious or stressed. You can try out a synthetic calming pheromone to help comfort your pet. Pheromones are odorless and colorless chemical signals that your animals pick up on and react to.

There are plenty of ways to give your cat pheromone therapy including plug-in diffusers, sprays, and collars. Plug-in diffusers and sprays can be applied in the areas you want your cat to stop scratching. If you find your cat has a favorite wall or corner they scratch, plug in or spray that area.

If you want to try calming your cat in general, you can use a pheromone collar which will keep the pheromone scent with them at all times.

6. Use Sandpaper or Double-Sided Tape

To create a bad association with your cat’s scratching behavior, try using sandpaper or double-sided sticky tape on the area they’re scratching. Both can be placed on the corners of furniture or near wall corners to make them an unpleasant place to scratch.

If you use sandpaper, put it in an inconspicuous location around the corner of a wall or piece of furniture. Your cat should avoid scratching that location as they can feel the texture on their claws. Sandpaper is typically used for wood surfaces, however, some people have also successfully used sandpaper to stop cats from scratching carpeted areas as well.

7. Redirect Bad Behavior

If your cat is scratching the wall, redirect their attention to a scratching post or toy. When you see them start to scratch the wall, make a loud noise like clapping your hands or shaking a can of coins. The sudden noise should startle your cat and they will likely stop scratching.

If you see your cat scratching walls, try and immediately distract them away from the inappropriate scratching by offering them a toy. You can also try placing fun toys where they normally scratch to distract them.

8. Talk to Your Veterinarian

If you have followed all of the tips above and your cat continues to scratch the walls, it may be time to visit your veterinarian. Some medical conditions could be causing pain in your cat’s claws causing them to scratch the walls.

It’s always a good idea to consult an expert if you find that you can’t change your cat’s scratching preferences.

Why Does My Cat Keep Meowing and Scratching the Walls?

If your cat is meowing and scratching the walls, they may be trying to get your attention. Make sure you are giving your cat plenty of attention during the day or providing them with toys or a cat tree to let out energy. Having other cats can provide a sense of companionship that can deter boredom or need for attention.

If you only have one cat, you may want to consider other pets if you have the time and budget.

Why Does My Cat Scratch the Walls of the Litter Box?

If your cat is scratching the wall of their litter box, they are probably trying to clean up their area after going to the bathroom. Many cats instinctively cover their waste and many times cats will scratch the litter box to remove their smell from the area. This is an instinctive habit derived from wild cats who compulsively bury and cover all waste. Cat owners can deter this by keeping the cat box clean.

What Do Cats Like to Scratch?

Cats like to scratch surfaces that are rough and provide resistance. This is why you’ll often see them scratching furniture, carpets, and posts. Cats also like to scratch in high places so they can get a good stretch. Providing your cat with a variety of surfaces and heights to scratch will help keep them from scratching inappropriate surfaces.

Why Does My Cat Scratch the Walls – Final Thoughts

Cat scratching is instinctive and feels good to cats, so many times the best way to deter wall scratching is to redirect the inappropriate scratching to acceptable locations like scratching posts and cat trees. Bored cats may scratch the wall if you don’t give them enough attention or entertainment so make sure you’re meeting all of your cat’s needs by providing them with toys and affection.

Need a complete list of items your cat may need? Check out our ultimate guide to cat essentials.

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