Kittens and young cats play hard, which is necessary for the wild because play is training for critical life skills of hunting and fighting.
Adult cats are less inclined to do so, but if you don’t provide an indoor cat with enough toys to play with will still have a hunting and fighting need that it must satisfy. Scratches can leave marks and sometimes even permanent scars. So why do they do it?
Not all cats scratch their owners. You only get constant scratches from very young cats who are learning to keep their claws in check or older cats who are either feisty, haven’t been raised properly, or have been severely provoked.
Do All Cats Scratch You?
While many cats don’t routinely scratch their owners, it’s an experience most cat owners face.
It’s important to realize that not every scratch signifies aggression. Cats often associate hands with play, especially if they’ve been teased or prompted to attack fingers in their early years.
On the other hand, frequent or aggressive scratching can be a sign of a deeper issue. It might indicate that the cat feels threatened, is not yet socialized, or is being forced into social situations before it’s ready.
Another interesting fact is that while a well-socialized cat might scratch unintentionally during play, this isn’t done out of malice. If you have a history of playing with your cat using your hands, the cat might continue to see them as playthings.
And remember, if a cat does scratch you, always disinfect the wound, and if a bite breaks the skin deeply, seek medical attention.
Do Cats Realize They’re Scratching You?
In general, cats aren’t always aware they’re scratching or hurting you. The problem is that people do not have fur. We lack a protective layer of hair that cushions the blow and softens the edges.
Even if a cat has learned to play with other cats, she won’t realize how much damage she’s causing by clawing you.
You can use your hand at times, but you must be cautious. A cat can easily get carried away. When they start acting like that, use a toy. In general, utilizing a toy is preferable. You don’t want them to see hands as toys.
How to Train a Cat Not to Scratch You
Training a cat not to scratch is about understanding and then modifying their behavior.
A golden rule: never treat your body parts as toys. This only teaches the cat that it’s okay to scratch or bite them. Instead, divert their attention to appropriate toys, especially those that engage their hunting instincts, like toys on a string.
If they do scratch, a sharp “ouch! no!” can indicate to the cat they’ve hurt you — this is similar to how kittens react when their siblings play too rough. Ignoring the cat for a short period after they scratch also helps reinforce the lesson.
If your cat remains excessively playful or seems anxious, consider introducing a second cat to help dissipate that energy. Always keep toys on hand and redirect your cat to them if they start focusing on your hands.
Remember, while it’s okay to trim the sharp tips of their claws, never declaw a cat. And above all, let the cat approach you on its terms. Forcing interaction can lead to aggressive behavior.
Are There Cats That Won’t Scratch You?
Cats are unique individuals. Unlike dogs, temperament is not typically determined by breed. It only affects the appearance of cats.
Whether they will scratch will usually depend on the personality of the cat. Some cats do not play harshly or bite because they were trained not to and are generally relaxed. Others think your hand is a toy. Some catch mice, while others are terrified of them.
One of my cats has been with me since she was a month old. She will be five years old next month. I stroke her belly, kiss her on the cheek, and so on, and she has never scratched me seriously or anybody else. I even check her nails by squeezing her paws. It’s how she is.
I think most cats pick and choose who they cooperate with. Some cats prefer all humans, while others prefer only a few. Some cats are compatible with all cats, while others are not.
Kittens, on the other hand, are wrecking balls that require a lot of attention, and you have no idea what their personality will be like until they grow up.
What is the friendliest cat breed?
Ragdolls and Maine Coons are generally friendly, but it will depend on the cat’s personality and upbringing. The breed is not a good indicator of conduct. You should avoid a few breeds, such as Bengals and Savannah cats, but everything else is a matter of personality.
Why do cats scratch posts?
Cats would use their claws to hunt prey and marking trees and other hard objects in the wild. Their nails will grow long if they do not scratch, so it’s essential to remove those layers of their claws so they can have fresh ones. In addition, they also mark the territory this way.
Do all cats scratch furniture?
Scratching is a natural, intuitive habit in cats. However, not all cats scratch furniture. You can train them by getting a scratching post and demonstrating that this is where they should do it. When they use the post, reward them. And this way, your cat will learn.