Cats are affectionate, playful, and curious, but they can also develop some strange habits. Whether your cat is scared of cucumbers or enjoys playing with trash, you’ve probably noticed your cat displaying other odd behavior such as eating their scratching post. There are sometimes when an odd behavior can be explained, while there’re other times when you’ll have to do a little detective work to try to figure out why your cat is acting strange.
Why do some cats get so obsessed with their scratching posts that they try to eat it?
Why A Cat Is Eating At Their Scratching Post
As cats like to groom each other and their scratcher is probably covered in fur, the cat may feel like they are actually grooming another cat while they’re licking or eating at their scratching post. If it’s a single cat household, this could be a sign of loneliness.
Pica is an unusual behavioral where a cat feels the urge to eat or lick non-edible materials like blankets, rugs and carpets. As your cat’s scratching post is likely covered with a layer of carpet or rope, it could have become your cat’s new pica obsession.
Although there isn’t a single answer as to why a cat wants to lick or eat things that aren’t food, it could be related to things like genetics, stress or boredom. This unusual behavior can start as early as three months old, although some cats can grow out of it in a few years.
Stress And Anxiety
A cat eating at their scratching post could be their way of getting your attention. This behavior could be the result of stress or anxiety, particularly if there’ve been recent changes in the household.
Knowing your cat’s normal behavior, and keeping a close eye on any behavioral changes, can go a long way toward helping a needy cat eliminate any attention-seeking behavior.
Looking For Attention
Although it may sound obvious, there’s one thing you need to understand. If your cat learns that eating at their scratching post gets attention and achieves the desired result, your cat will probably do it more.
The problem with reacting to your cat with shooing or scolding could potentially have a reverse effect, making your cat do it even more. Remember that your cat will always prefer any attention to no attention at all.
If you think your cat is doing it for attention, pay zero attention to your cat’s demands. Once your cat stops eating at their scratching post, wait for around a minute before paying attention to your cat. If it’s done right, your cat will recognise the reward for being calm. If you reward the cat too soon, it will just reward the attention-seeking behavior.
Note: For this to work, you need to be consistent.
Why Playtime Planning Is Important
Cats enjoy nothing more than the thrill of the hunt, even indoors. The more you can replicate the hunt for prey during playtime, the more fun your cat will have. Whether you’re letting the toy “flee” from your cat to allowing your cat to win and “kill it”, your cat will benefit from the mental and physical effort.
Other tips to help keep your cat’s mind engaged include:
- Choose the toys your cat enjoys the most. So, if your cat loves wand toys but ignores balls, follow their lead.
- Avoid using laser lights. Lots of cats find lasers that they can’t catch too frustrating. Rather, use something like a wand toy so your cat can catch it.
- Play at different times throughout the day. The reason why you want to play at different times throughout the day is that your cat will have more energy during different times of the day. Once you’ve found out to see when your cat enjoys playing the most, schedule some one-on-one time with your cat to encourage them to exercise.
Why Consistency In Your Cats Life Is Important
As cats are creatures of habit, even tiny changes in your cat’s life could disrupt their behavior, such as litter box location changes, moving to a new home, or, worse, changing feeding time.
To improve your cat’s habits and behavior, you should improve the predictability of your cat’s life. Small things like feeding your cat at the same time every day. You could also make a habit of playing with your cat right after you come home every day after lunch. You could feed your cat an hour after you wake up, rather than at a random time whenever you’ve happened to think about it.
Over time, your cat will see patterns in these little things and won’t be as persistent in trying to get your attention. If your cat understands that they’ll have time to interact with you after you eat, your cat will be less demanding compared to receiving attention whenever he or she meows slightly louder than usual.
Your cat may be eating at its scratching post because it’s attracted to the pheromones on it. Keeping your cat as active as possible is key to enriching your cat’s life. Some of these ideas to keep your cat active should help to prevent your cat from eating at their scratching post.