Why Cats Need Perches and Places to Scratch at Home

Why Cats Need Perches and Places to Scratch at Home

by | Jul 8, 2019 | Pet Care & Tips | 0 comments

We know you’re probably used to hearing how self-sufficient cats are, and that they don’t require as much maintenance as other pets.

However, this is not entirely true.

Although cats can bathe/clean themselves, use a litter box instead of going outside to use the bathroom, and don’t have to be taken for walks, they still have needs that must be fulfilled.

Other than food, water, shelter, and a litter box, cats need perches and scratching posts/pads. And here’s why.


In case you don’t know what a perch is, it’s almost like a shelf or seat for your cat to lounge and sit on.

If you have a cat tower, perches are those round or square-shaped levels that are usually at the top of the tower and are supported by round beams that hold them up high.

Your cat needs a perch for quite a few different reasons:

  • Perches provide extra vertical space or territory. It’s in a cat’s instinct to jump/climb and perches mimic trees allowing cats to appropriately express their natural behaviors. Cats like to be up high. This allows them extra space to get away from people and other pets. Vertical territory helps cats in multi cat households to better share close or limited space.
  • Environmental safety and comfort. Cats need a sense of security. Providing them with a perch can be a confidence booster for cats that are timid or shy by giving them a visual advantage of overseeing their territory and a visual advantage lowers the risk of a surprise ambush. This can help cats that are known to hide from house guests or other pets.
  • Perches are entertaining. Cats can get bored easily. Providing your cat with a perching option near an open window allows them to gain visual, auditory and olfactory enrichment. Cats love to watch, listen and smell nature from the safety of their cozy homes. Placing a perch in the living room will allow them to oversee their family and maybe watch a bit of TV.

Scratching Posts

Does your cat like to use your furniture as a scratching post?

If you don’t have a scratching pad (flat scratching cardboard box specifically made for cats) or post (the ones that are round and cylinder in shape), cats will use whatever is in sight to alleviate their need to scratch.

Please know that cats do not scratch your furniture to be a nuisance. Scratching serves multiple purposes for your cat:

  • Scratching helps cats remove the dead outer layers of their claws.
  • Cats need to scratch an object to mark their territory visually and by scent (their paw pads contain scent glands that are triggered by the scratching motion). Declawed cats still display the natural behavior of scent marking even without claws.
  • Scratching allows cats to stretch their muscles in their arms and legs but also allows a chance to flex their feet and claws.

If you want to help minimize damage to your furniture and other important household items, make sure your cat has a variety of scratching posts, pads or towers.

Cats are both horizontal and vertical scratchers. It is helpful to have multiple posts or pads available in every room of your house to prevent inappropriate scratching behaviors.

Be sure to replace them as needed.