Pet Tip: Cat Scratching

In response to COVID-19, the Wisconsin Humane Society (WHS) Door County Campus has temporarily suspended adoption services, and all adoptable animals have been moved to the Green Bay and Milwaukee campuses. To learn about WHS’s response to COVID-19, visit Until adoption services resume, WHS will provide tips to help pets stay healthy and happy. 

Scratching surfaces is a normal feline behavior and one that cats are highly motivated to display, so it’s unrealistic to try to prevent them from scratching. Instead, the goal is to redirect the behavior toward acceptable objects.

First, you must provide objects for scratching that are appealing and convenient from your cat’s point of view. Observe the physical features of the objects your cat is currently scratching, then find an appropriate substitute. A few good options are a rope-wrapped post, corrugated cardboard or even a log. 

Place the new substitute near the inappropriate object, and cover the inappropriate object with something your cat will find unappealing, such as double-sided tape, foil or sandpaper.

Once your cat is consistently using the new scratching post, slowly move it to a better location over the course of a few days or weeks. Also gradually remove the unappealing coverings from the inappropriate object after your cat is using the new post consistently. 

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