Reasons Why Cats Like to Scratch and How to Avoid

Cats have pretty bad rap at times, with people thinking they are always aggressive or sassy. However, there are a lot of adorable cats who love to snuggle and appreciate all the attention, just like dogs. You can hear them purr, chase, play around, and rest on your chest at the end of the day.

Unfortunately, there are also cats who do like to scratch, not only toys and scratch posts but people as they attempt playing with them.

What’s the deal with the scratches? Are they aggressive and hate you? What can be done to stop it? Read on to find out.

Why Do Cats Love Scratching?

Anyone who has a cat will most likely have a hilarious story about how their cats scratching them, accompanied with a few bites here and there. Sure, this is quite painful and irritating to deal with, but you should know that cats won’t do that without reason.

Cats are intelligent and predictable animals, with biting and scratching being cause-and-effect behaviors. There are two kinds of scratching behaviors in cats, both of them caused by us humans and our ‘failures’.

  1. Playful Scratches

Think about the games cats love to play, such as chasing balls or toys you got from Direct To Pet Online Store or other pet shops. The goal for your cats is to win the game, catching the toy and controlling and/or defeating it.

The way they would try to dominate is by using the skills they have, using their claws and teeth to “kill” their prey. This isn’t exactly aggressive behavior, but just a way to use the method he knows how in order to win the game and kill what he’s hunting.

This method can be done with toys, other cats, or unsuspecting humans that don’t know they are the cat’s plaything! This is most likely why your cat would target your hands the most, as they make the best ‘toys’ and will find entertainment in catching them regardless of what they have to do, may it be scratching or biting.

  1. Aggressive Scratches

Another annoying situation for cat owners is when you’re petting and cuddling session with your cat ends up with you being clawed at. Owners may mistake this as a sign that their cats don’t like them or their affection.

However, cats would bite during cuddles for various reasons, which most often is caused by them feeling overstimulated and feeling like they’ve had enough. Overstimulation is the most common reason since most cats don’t like being touched, especially on their chest or belly area.

This all depends on the cat’s personality, as it varies from cat to cat. Kittens would typically bite as a form of play, but when it comes to an adult cat, it means it’s time that you stop petting them.

Other times, they feel fear, redirected aggression, or they simply don’t feel well. Sometimes cats suddenly become frightened or startled, so they change their attitudes very quickly to go into defense mode. It may come from other cats or strangers entering rooms, or even hearing them in nearby areas, though they can start coming back to their affectionate state shortly afterward, or feeling less defensive.

However, if you notice that your cat is biting and scratching at you in areas that he usually has no problems with, along with showing other sickly symptoms, then it may be time to take them to a veterinarian. Aggression may be a way for your cat to tell you he’s sick or in pain.

The behavior is quite confusing since it’s sudden and unpredictable. However, from a cat’s perspective, he’s probably given you many warning signs before he claws at you! Such signals include:

  • Narrowed eyes
  • Purring stops
  • Ears flick or rotate sideways
  • His body shifts
  • He starts growling
  • His tail starts to thump and lash a bit
  • Skin ripples

These are all signs of him being in defense mode, ready to pounce at the right time.

How to Avoid Cat Scratches

Now that you know why cats tend to scratch, the next question is: How can you avoid them from scratching you? Here are several tips you can follow:

  • Make sure your cats learn that your hands are NOT a plaything by firmly saying ‘NO’ to correct your pet, doing so loudly and clearly. This might startle your cat but also break their focus on your hand, and when you have his attention, slowly remove your hand and do NOT yank it away. This will hurt and may have your cat think it’s a plaything to chase at!
  • Be aware of your cat’s behavior and know when to stop cuddling them. Give him the time alone if he’s had enough of being petted!
  • If he scratches again, grabs him by the scruff, only during severe circumstances. Consider trimming their claws as well to make clawing less painful, if he does it again.

Wrapping It Up

Hopefully, this article helped you learn all about why cats scratch and how you can minimize their clawing at you or other people. Follow any of these tips and continue learning more about your cat’s behavior, along with how to keep them happy and healthy now!

Do you have questions or want to share your own insights on cat behavior, particularly in scratching? Share them in the comments section below, all of your thoughts are much appreciated.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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