Science: If your cat scratches your furniture, it’s because of stress


By John

The presence of children, personality traits and activity levels of cats influence their habit of scratch the furniturebut it is possible to implement strategies to help our four-legged friends to correctly direct their claws. This, at least, is what emerges from a study, published in the journal Frontiers in Veterinary Scienceconducted by scientists from theAnkara University.
The team, led by Yasemin Salgirli Demirbas, evaluated the factors that influence the behavior of our furry friends and their habit of scratching and clawing armchairs, cushions, rugs and sofas. The feline instinct to use claws, experts explain, is innate, but can be perceived as a behavioral problem by owners, who often respond with corrective interventions that are not cat-friendly. “Our findings,” says Salgirli Demirbas, “can help families manage and redirect scratching towards appropriate materials, which could help promote a more harmonious environment for both animals and caregivers.”
In the context of work, theThe research group involved over 1,200 cat owners in France, asking them information about the daily life, characteristics and behaviour of their four-legged friends.. The results highlighted the factors that influence the tendency of cats to scratch furniture. “A clear link emerges,” he reports, “between certain environmental and behavioral factors and an increase in the probability that the cat will exercise with its claws. In particular, animals more prone to this habit were associated with the presence of children in the home and high levels of nighttime activity, both related to greater stress for the furry friends.” When cats play for a long time, the experts explain, their bodies could be subjected to greater stress due to continuous stimulation. “To reduce the risk of unwanted scratches,” the authors say, “it could be useful to place the scratching post in areas where the cat passes frequently, near the places where it rests. Pheromones, which have a calming effect on the animal, could also be useful. Understanding the emotional motivations underlying the behavior of our four-legged friends, such as frustration, allows us to better deal with any problems.” The researchers specify that play sessions should be short and imitate a successful hunting model. In this way it is also possible to promote the bond between the animal and the owner.
“The data we have collected – concludes Salgirli Demirbas – have allowed us to gather unique information on the behavior of cats. In future research we will try to develop more effective strategies to manage potentially worrying situations, ultimately improving the bond and harmony between cats and those who take care of them”