Why do cats scratch their claws? Reasons and countermeasures – MOFUCAT Skip to content
猫はどうして爪とぎをするの? その理由と対策 - MOFUCAT

Why do cats scratch their claws? Reasons and countermeasures

Speaking of cats, you may have an image of sharpening their claws. Cats are instinctual scratchers, and you need to provide them with their favorite scratcher. In this article, why do cats scratch their claws? We will tell you the reason, the type of nail sharpener, and how to prevent nail sharpening at home. If you have any concerns or questions about scratching your cat's claws, please read on.

Why do cats scratch their claws? Reasons for sharpening

Unlike dogs, cats are animals that instinctively sharpen their claws. Unlike human nails, cat nails have a layered structure similar to that of an onion. New nails grow from the inside, and by sharpening the nails, the old outer layer peels off. The reason why cats scratch their claws is
  • to catch prey
  • For marking, fighting or intimidating
  • dislocation behavior
There is something like this.

to catch prey

Wild cats lived by catching small animals such as mice and insects on the ground from high trees. At that time, by using the sharp pointy claws, I was able to finish it with a single blow. For indoor cats, it's no longer necessary, but it remains an instinct.

For marking, fighting or intimidating

Cat's nail sharpener also has a marking meaning. A cat's paws have "apocrine glands" that emit a special smell, and the sticky sweat that comes from these glands is a way to show off. In addition, by placing the scent as high as possible, it emphasizes its strength. Its sharp claws are also useful in fights and intimidation. In reality, they use their voices to intimidate each other and rarely hurt their opponents, but in the unlikely event that they are about to be killed, they will protect themselves with their sharp claws.

dislocation behavior

It seems that many owners have seen the scene where they start sharpening their nails when they are surprised or uncomfortable. This is called "displacement behavior", and is the same behavior as people scratching their heads when they are in trouble, or extorting money. By sharpening the claws as a "displacement behavior" seen when animals are in a conflicted state, they calm down.

Types of nail sharpeners and how to choose them

There are various types of cat claw sharpeners in terms of size, shape, material and design, so you need to choose the one that suits your cat. However, even if you say "what suits your cat", you often don't know what kind of nail sharpener your cat likes until you actually use it. We also tell you the types of nail sharpeners that cats generally like, so please refer to the following.

Choose by shape and size

In the shape of a nail sharpener,
  • put down type
  • vertically long type
  • wall mounted type
And so on. You won't know what you like until you actually use it, but in one experiment, it was reported that kittens prefer the S-shaped stationary type nail sharpener, and adult male cats prefer the pole type nail sharpener. . This may be because kittens can use their entire body to play with their claws, and for male cats, by putting their own scent on a higher position, it is possible to appeal to their strength. It is said that. Cats also tend to like large sharpeners because they are more stable and allow sharpening from different angles. Especially for large cats, prepare a large nail sharpener with some weight.

choose by material

For the material of the nail sharpener,
  • cardboard
  • Made of linen
  • cotton
  • carpet
  • wooden
And so on. Cardboard sharpeners are the cheapest and cats often like them. It also has the advantage that it can be easily disposed of as burnable garbage when it becomes old. However, it is also a disadvantage that frequent cleaning is required to produce dregs. Linen or cotton nail sharpeners tend to be less likely to leave crumbs. It has a certain amount of strength, so it is recommended for children who sharpen their nails vigorously. However, some children dislike the unique smell. Many children also like the carpet material, but be careful as some children can't distinguish it from the carpet used as interior decoration. Wooden nail sharpeners are a recommended material for cats that were originally sharpened with wood. Disadvantages are that it produces wood chips and is a little expensive.

choose by design

A nail sharpener should be kept in a corner of the room for a long time. Therefore, it is good to have a design that matches the room and satisfies the owner. Whether it's colorful or with cute motifs, it's nice to have stylish looking nail sharpeners.

Cat scratching measures

For cats, scratching is an instinctive behavior that cannot be stopped. (More importantly, if you stop doing it, you'll get stressed out.) Also, I don't do it now from the perspective of animal welfare, but I used to have "claw removal surgery" for my cat. Sometimes it was a very painful procedure. "I don't want cats to scratch their nails on furniture or walls!" Please refer to the selection points mentioned above and prepare accordingly. Also, take measures against nail sharpening in areas where you do not want your nails to be sharpened. For example, one method is to put double-sided tape on places you don't want to be wiped. If you've ever seen a cat's reaction when something sticky (such as the sticky surface of a roll) gets on its paws, you may know that it sways its paws and runs quickly. You know. Cats hate that sticky feeling, so naturally you will cut down on the number of times you scratch.

[Summary] Why do cats scratch their nails?

Cats are animals that instinctively sharpen their claws, so prepare your favorite nail sharpener that suits your cat. We choose sharpeners based on their size, shape, material and design, but in the end, we tend to prefer "large and stable sharpeners". Try it out and find the perfect one for your cat!
Back to blog