Ragdolls are incredibly docile, affectionate, chill, and loving cats amongst the many different cat breeds who share their homes with humans. Because of their relaxed personality, you wouldn’t really expect a Ragdoll cat to have a personality for destructive behavior.
And you would be correct. Out of all of the cat breeds, Ragdolls are the least likely to shred your leather couch or go to town on a table leg. However, that doesn’t mean that Ragdolls will never exhibit that kind of behavior, as they are still cats at the end of the day.
There are a lot of ways in which a cat can express itself or deal with its own, physical issues and one of those ways is to make use of its claws. Cats don’t run around thinking that they want to destroy all of your hard-earned stuff. However, that won’t stop them from making mincemeat out of your recliner.
Thankfully, that’s not a dominating feature when it comes to Ragdolls, but you do want to ensure that there is an object to which they can go when it’s time to get the claws out, such as a claw-post, or similar cat furnishings.
Why Do Ragdolls Scratch?
Aside from the fact that they are cats and that is simply what cats do, there are several reasons that Ragdolls scratch and all of them are associated with the fact that they are cats.
- Maintaining their own claws
- Getting their morning, afternoon, and evening stretch in
- Scent marking
Cats do have to maintain their claws and they have to do it on a routine basis. Unlike dogs, a cat’s claws are its primary weapon for either defense and/or offense. Their claws are important to them and it’s why many believe that declawing a cat is simply inhumane treatment.
Using their claws to scratch helps to remove the old, outer layers through friction and abrasion. They aren’t so much “sharpening” their claws as they are uncovering the new growth that’s beneath the older, outer shell.
It’s something that cats must do and they know to do it instinctively. Cats are apex predators amongst their own weight class and below and their claws are essential for both their survival and their livelihood.
As a person, you may often stretch by grabbing ahold of something and pulling in the opposite direction. Cats are very similar when they feel the need to stretch their muscles, ligaments, and sinew. They grab ahold of the nearest thing and stretch their body out.
At first, you may believe that your Ragdoll is scratching when it is actually trying to stretch itself out. Often enough, the pressure of its body will drag its claws across the surface of whatever it grabbed, which is basically the same as scratching, just with a different purpose in mind.
Ragdolls, like all cats, also leave behind scent markers when they scratch. Oftentimes, they are not scratching to renew their claws. They are actually marking the area with their scent. Many people believe that a Ragdoll is marking its territory.
However, Ragdoll cats are not fiercely territorial and it’s more likely an instinctive thing, rather than a purposeful, mindful attempt to mark their territory. A Ragdoll is the last cat that would pounce another animal for coming within the area in which it recently marked.
How to Stop the Scratching
Ragdolls don’t scratch as much as many household cats do, however, that doesn’t mean that they won’t do it at all. Also, there’s always that one Ragdoll that will give the rest of them a bad reputation by being a scratching maniac for no particular reason at all.
If you want to stop the scratching—and most sane cat owners would—there are a few things that you can do to stop and/or redirect it to a more suitable place.
- Purchase plenty of toys
- Get a few cat scratching posts
- Give your Ragdoll plenty of attention
- Trim your Ragdoll’s claws
- Train your Ragdoll
Cat toys are distracting and although the Ragdoll isn’t the most excitable and playful cat in the world, some good toys, and maybe a helping of catnip, can suitably distract your Ragdoll from focusing all of its attention on your chair.
Cat scratching posts are an excellent tool for refocusing your Ragdoll’s attention on something worth scratching. If you’re feeling especially giving, you can purchase your own cat apartment, so your Ragdoll has all of the freedom to climb, scratch, and sleep in a comfortable dwelling.
Ragdolls crave your attention. They are often nicknamed puppy-cats because of their propensity for acting like a dog rather than a cat. They will follow you around and prefer to sleep right next to you or on your lap if they can get away with it.
Giving your Ragdoll plenty of attention will provide a healthy distraction and routine happiness that will reduce stressful acting out, such as scratching the surface of whatever comes to mind.
Trimming their claws may not cut down on the scratching but it will lessen the severity as you explore other avenues to put a stop to it. Last but not least, you can spend the time necessary to train your Ragdoll, not to scratch. It’s the longest but most successful path.
Ragdolls aren’t the most “scratch-happy” cats out there but there is the occasional, oddball in the breed that will scratch more often than it should. So long as you’re patient and follow the steps above, it will be a brief period of irritation and nothing more.