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What Causes Destructive Behavior in Cats?


Nowadays, many people express eagerness to own a charming, lovable, and sweet pet. The popularity of a Cat as pet is also increasing day by day because cats are good-natured and they offer companionship that is much-loved by most of the pet lovers. Like human being, cats have different ways on how they behave. Some cats also show destructive behaviour that makes home life difficult for the owners. Whether it’s attacking people and other pets, scratching the furniture, or simply breaking various objects, it all contributes to an attitude that needs to be stopped. This article will explain you the complete information about the destructive behaviour of the cats and the ways to tone down this behaviour.

It is quite normal for the cats to scratch few objects because they do this to exercise their feet and sharpen their claws. In addition to this, it is normal for cats to spend a lot of time licking themselves because this is how they clean themselves. The problem arises when cats lick or scratch the wrong household objects and do not respond to the discouragement. If the cats are not responding you, it means they are diagnosed as having a destructive behaviour problem.

There are two types of destructive behaviors: primary and secondary. When cats scratch on the wrong objects but don’t show any other symptoms, this is usually a primary destructive behavior. On the other hand, cats that spend too much time scratching or licking at objects likely have a secondary destructive behavior in cat. Both of these destructive behaviors can lead to problems with other organs of cats, such as the intestines and stomach, if left untreated.

Symptoms and Types of Cat destructive behavior:

Primary destructive behaviour Secondary destructive behaviour
Scratching carpets Things ruined to get the attention of the owner
Chewing on or eating house plants Owner always sees things get ruined
Scratching furniture Obsessive-Compulsive related destruction
Owner may or may not be around when symptoms first start Too much time spent licking its body (excessive grooming)
Frequently eating non-food items

Causes of Cat destructive behaviour:

Primary destructive behaviour Secondary destructive behaviour
Not enough, or the wrong kind of scratching materials No causes have been found
Not enough supervision  
Not enough exercise  
Not enough daily activity  


How to Stop a Cat’s Destructive Behaviour?

You can opt following steps if you want to stop the destructive behaviour in cat:

  1. Spray a cat repellent-  You can spray a commercial cat repellent on the objects that are off-limit to the cat. The unpleasant smell or taste of these repellents may cause the cat to leave the object alone. Apart from this, you can attach cotton balls, which are sprayed with perfume, on the items or stick a piece of double-sided sticky tape or aluminium foil on them.
  2. Place scratching posts near objects- You can place scratching posts near the items your cat likes to scratch. You should use scratching posts that resemble the shape and texture of the items. For example, if your feline companion likes to scratch carpets, you can purchase a carpet-covered scratching post and lay it down on the floor.
  3. Show your cat the scratching posts– You should show your cat the scratching posts and reward her with a treat when she uses them. If required, you can sprinkle some catnip on these scratching posts or attach some toys to them to attract your cat to use them.
  4. Position an empty can filled with coins- You can place an empty can filled with coins so that it easily tips over when your feline friend is about to scratch an off-limit object. When this can falls, it will create a noise that will frighten your kitty and may keep her from doing the damage.
  5. Schedule regular play dates- You can schedule regular play dates with feline friend in order to stop her destructive chewing, which may be triggered because she’s teething or looking for comfort.
  6. Add some parsley or lettuce to your cat’s food  If your cat is eating your houseplants, you can add some parsley or lettuce to her food. On the other hand, slowly switch to a food that is higher in fibre or offer a tray of oat grass to nibble on.
  7. Block access to off-limit items-  You can block your cat’s access to the off-limit items that she likes to destroy.
  8. Cat-proof your home- You should remove all the plants that are poisonous to the cats. You should also contain electrical wires in the plastic tubing or hide these wires behind furniture. You should also trim the cat’s nail on regular basis so that they remain dull and cannot do that much damage.
  9. Cover your kitty’s nails with plastic claw caps– This will help to avoid any unwanted damage. The commercial nail covers come with special glue to fix them and can be replaced when they come off.
  10. Consult your veterinarian–  If above mentioned efforts to correct your cat’s destructive behavior fail, you should consult your veterinarian as soon as possible. Your veterinarian can diagnose any health problem in your cat and prescribe medication to help correct this behavior.


Hailing from Delhi, Prateek Tiwari is an avid animal lover who believes in Mahatma Gandhi’s quote “The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” A graduate in Biotechnology, he has vast knowledge about different breeds of pets and pet food that are both nutritious and promote healthy growth. In order to make people aware about pets and pet care, he shares his expertise through his blog posts.

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