Pet Tip: How to Redirect Cats’ Scratching Behavior

The Wisconsin Humane Society (WHS) Door County Campus is temporarily “pawsing” adoptions while it houses many dogs from other shelters to assist those shelters as they work through an animal-health situation (visit to learn more). WHS will resume regular adoption processes soon.

Until information about pets looking for new homes returns to this space, here’s some great advice for managing your cat’s urge to scratch.

Scratching is a normal feline behavior that cats are highly motivated to engage in, so it’s unrealistic to try to prevent them from doing it. Instead, redirect it toward acceptable objects.

You must provide objects to scratch that, from your cat’s point of view, are appealing and convenient, so notice the physical features of the objects your cat is currently scratching to gather clues about an appropriate substitute. Some good options are a rope-wrapped post, corrugated cardboard or even a log.

Place the 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, and gradually remove the unappealing coverings from the inappropriate object.For more cat-behavior tips, head to

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