Why do cats sharpen their claws on furniture?
Nothing riles a cat owner more than when their manic moggie uses the family lounge suite as a claw-honing tool. Furniture scratching tatters the very fabric of cat ownership. But – the solutions are as sneaky as the behaviour of the culprit cat itself.
Partly it is a manicuring behaviour. By drawing their claws across fabric they are stripping away the dead and damaged claw tips just like we humans clip our long nails when they are annoying us.
However, cats also claw trees and, similarly, household furniture, to mark their territory. The marking occurs in two ways. The obvious tattiness of a tree trunk after being scratched by a cat is a visual marker, analogous to a news headline in the morning paper. The headline-scratching attracts other cats that approach the area to determine the fine print details left by the animal author.
The second territorial marker then comes into play by way of the scents released from the cat’s paws as it scratches. This scent provides a territorial marking function and identifies the cat that made its mark.
Lastly, some house cats claw furniture because they relish the effect their errant ways have on their owners whose rantings and ravings are just the stimulation a bored puss-cat needs.
Solving the Problem
The solutions to claw sharpening are borne from the reasons it occurs in the first place.