How do cats use their claws to mark their territories?

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When your cat is scratching on his scratching post, a tree outside in your yard, or the arm of your sofa, he’s doing a lot more than just sharpening his claws and destroying your furniture. Your feline is also marking his territory.

Domestic and wild cats alike have scent pads on the bottoms of their paws, which means that when they’re scratching something, they are also leaving their scent behind on the object. In a household with multiple cats, this can quickly become problematic when one cat starts to scratch on the furniture, as the other cats will soon follow with their own scratching so that they can leave their own scent on the furniture as well.

While it is very a very irritating and destructive behavior, you should not punish your cat for something that simply comes naturally for him. Instead, you should ensure that your cat has a suitable scratching post toward which he can turn his marking attentions. Very often, cats can be convinced to use a scratching post instead of the furniture when catnip is sprinkled or sprayed on the scratching post itself.

You may be able to deter your cat from marking territory on your favorite love seat if you spray a bit of white vinegar onto the furniture. Cats are generally not huge fans of white vinegar, so they are much more likely to turn to the pleasant smelling scratching post.

Even a tree branch nailed to a board can provide your cat with the perfect place to mark his territory and sharpen his claws.

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