It’s the bane of the modern cat owners’ existence, am I right? All that furniture, shredded. It doesn’t look good!
Despite what you might think, cats don’t scratch to be annoying. They don’t know your sofa is expensive or that your drapes look terrible when they’re all loopy.
Cat scratching is an important part of natural cat behavior, and as the owner of a large cat or Maine Coon it’s something you need to come to terms with.
Luckily, there are a lot of techniques and products you can put to good use, so that your kitty is expressing positive scratching behavior rather than destructive behavior.
In this post we’ll cover everything you need to know about cat scratching, as well as recommending some good scratching products you can consider for your large cat or Maine Coon.
Cats scratch for a range of reasons – none of which are designed to drive you crazy, even though you might think so!
The three most common reasons that cats scratch are:
When a cat scratches on an object, they leave their scent on that object. It comes from special glands in their paws. Once they leave their scent behind, that object becomes “theirs” and it’s a place they’ll often return to, to keep scratching.
This is good, if you get them using a scratcher from the start. Once their scent is on the scratcher, they’ll return to it again and again.
It’s also annoying if they’ve been using your favorite chair because they haven’t had another option to scratch on – then you’ll need to take the time to train them to use a proper scratcher instead.
Don’t give up. Most cats will prefer a proper scratching post to your sofa, if they’re given the chance.
Have you noticed that your large cat or Maine Coon will often have a stretch and a scratch when they’ve woken up from a nap? This is part of their natural behavior – just like we yawn and stretch, they do the same.
Your Maine Coon will also sometimes scratch if they’ve been playing with other cats or children in the house and they’re a bit excited, “het up”, or feeling a little frustrated. These are all times when scratching on a sturdy scratching post helps them to express how they’re feeling.
You’ll never see your Maine Coon or large cat trying to scratch their back paws. It’s always the front two that are responsible for ruining your chair’s upholstery or scratching on your curtains.
Cats use the claws on their front paws for all sorts of purposes. Their claws work just the same way as our fingernails do – they help your Maine Coon grip when they’re leaping up the cat tower or over your back fence.
Sharp claws also help a cornered cat defend themselves if they need to fight. Even a well-placed swipe across the nose of a curious dog or other animal can be enough to convince the animal to leave them alone!
Claws also help cats to hunt and catch their natural prey of mice, lizards, small birds and other animals. Scratching helps to remove old nail sheaths so the newer nail can come through.
Most cats prefer to scratch something that is vertical, but some large cats also like to scratch something that’s horizontal – it doesn’t take as much effort!
Your cat will show their natural preference very early on. You can use two different types of scratching posts and they’ll quickly choose their favorite.
If they try to scratch your sofa or your curtains, the way you respond is important. Don’t smack the cat or yell at it. Just gently redirect them to the scratching post instead.
You can rub some catnip on the scratching post to encourage your pussin to use it (as long as they’re over six months old – they only develop a response to catnip after this age).
Because you’ve got a big cat, who’s probably heavier than the average, you need to make sure your scratcher can handle the weight of a cat pushing and pulling on it. Make sure you buy something that is sturdy and made of a durable material – sisal, rope, carpet or cardboard.
Here are three options to think about when you’re choosing a cat scratcher for your large cat or Maine Coon:
This tall post is a great option for your Maine Coon – at 32 inches high, your pussin can really stretch their legs and get a good scratch going! It’s made with natural sisal and wood, with a sturdy 16” x 16” base to help prevent wobbling. Your big kitty will also enjoy the platform at the top which they’ll use as an observation deck.
If your cat prefers a horizontal scratching option, this stylish cardboard scratcher and bed could be a great choice. It’s made from heavy-duty recycled cardboard, and at over 34 inches long and 10 inches wide, your pussin will have plenty of room to stretch out those front paws. This scratcher won a 2015 Eco-Excellence award.
This two-in-one cat cradle and scratching post will get lots of love from your Maine Coon or large cat. It’s solidly constructed to withstand the weight of your big pussin, and made with high-quality carpet (on the cradle) and sisal rope on the scratching post. It’s a big 35 inches high on a 19 x 19-inch base. The scratching post can be scratched and climbed safely – and the cradle will handle your large cat with ease. They’ll enjoy having a comfy bed high up off the floor!