Scratching at smooth surfaces (mirrors, glass, plastic, etc) - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-30-2011, 06:29 PM Thread Starter
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Scratching at smooth surfaces (mirrors, glass, plastic, etc)

This is not really a thread asking for advice, but just wondering if any other cats exhibit the very strange behavior Lily has...

Lily has this very odd habit of obsessively scratching ANY smooth surface. The sliding glass door, a full length mirror, the picture hanging above the couch, a notebook with a smooth cover lying on the floor. She just stops what she's doing and scratches and scratches with both paws, almost as if she has a compulsion to do so. Recently, we got a covered litter box. We gave them a few days to adjust to the new box before putting the cover on, and left the cover nearby on the floor. Lily began obsessively scratching the box lid, and going inside the lid and scratching from the inside, too. Now that the cover's on the box, when she uses it, she stops to scratch at the door flap for quite awhile before exiting. Spencer just stares at her from the outside, confused.

It's really more hilarious than annoying, and she's not damaging anything, but I'm just wondering if anyone else has seen this behavior in a cat.

Spencer and Katie
and Lily, always in our hearts
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-30-2011, 07:23 PM
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Neither of my girls scratch smooth surfaces, although fortunately they tend not to scratch much other than their scratching posts in any event. Still, I've heard that cats normally don't like to scratch smooth surfaces. So, I'm with Spencer...confused!

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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-30-2011, 07:42 PM
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Originally Posted by yellowdaisies View Post
This is not really a thread asking for advice, but just wondering if any other cats exhibit the very strange behavior Lily has...

Lily has this very odd habit of obsessively scratching ANY smooth surface. The sliding glass door, a full length mirror, the picture hanging above the couch, a notebook with a smooth cover lying on the floor. She just stops what she's doing and scratches and scratches with both paws, almost as if she has a compulsion to do so. Recently, we got a covered litter box. We gave them a few days to adjust to the new box before putting the cover on, and left the cover nearby on the floor. Lily began obsessively scratching the box lid, and going inside the lid and scratching from the inside, too. Now that the cover's on the box, when she uses it, she stops to scratch at the door flap for quite awhile before exiting. Spencer just stares at her from the outside, confused.

It's really more hilarious than annoying, and she's not damaging anything, but I'm just wondering if anyone else has seen this behavior in a cat.
My female cat does this to let me know she is hungry.
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-30-2011, 08:18 PM Thread Starter
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I don't think it's because she's hungry or wants anything at all (although that would make so much more sense!) because sometimes she does it right after she eats. She does it at any time of day!

It's very funny, because she doesn't scratch the furniture or anything (she did that twice the first day we brought her home, and never has since), and she is very good about using scratching posts...it's almost as if this scratching need is totally separate from "normal" scratching.

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and Lily, always in our hearts
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-31-2011, 01:49 AM
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I don't think it's because she's hungry or wants anything at all (although that would make so much more sense!) because sometimes she does it right after she eats. She does it at any time of day!

It's very funny, because she doesn't scratch the furniture or anything (she did that twice the first day we brought her home, and never has since), and she is very good about using scratching posts...it's almost as if this scratching need is totally separate from "normal" scratching.
Hehe, lucky you, my cat scratches the furniture a lot and ignores the scratch post. Look, I ended up thinking cats are big fetishists hahaha. They like particular things, such as mine likes the fluffy sofa and not a perfectly good, sturdy scratch post and yours like smooth surfaces.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-31-2011, 01:31 PM
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Jitzu does this too, she especially loves dark shiny surfaces and will paw them for 10 minutes at a time sometimes. We call it 'making portals', lol.

She doesn't really scratch, more just paws at it. If she starts using her nails I tell her 'uh uh', and she goes back to just paws. It's kinda cute actually.

Torri will sometimes do this, but only at her reflection in the mirror...she also meows to the Torri in the mirror though. I think in her case it's more of an excited/play thing.


Becky and the cats: Jitzu (11), Torri (9), Doran (8 ), and Muffin (8 )
The boys at 8 - not lol
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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-31-2011, 02:13 PM
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Both of my cats will scratch the floor sometimes around the mat that their food dishes are on.

If there is a cat wandering by outside, Harli stands up on her hind legs and scratches the patio door with her front paws.
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-31-2011, 04:10 PM
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My cat does scratches smooth surfaces sometimes too. I've never figured out why. He seems to enjoy it though. "making portals" that is classic...lol...I might have to borrow that one.....very sci-fi sounding.
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 01-31-2011, 04:45 PM
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One of the walls of the apartment is made up of several panels of floor to ceiling mirrors (weird, I know... it was the demo suite) and my cat's food bowl sits against it. He sometimes paws at it and I have no idea why, most often after he's eaten some food.


Along with the dogs Tara and Coco.
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 02-01-2011, 08:30 PM
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Pawing around food bowls or floors can be for a few reasons.

If Doran is pawing the floor I know someone has had a hairball, he only does this to 'cover' a mess.

Muffin will occasionally try to 'hide' his food. So he'll paw the floor near his dinner or snack to save it for later. Cute cute cute!

Jitzu's pawing is different. She walks up to a surface, usually a window at night, or my BFs black desk, sits back on her haunches and paws at the wall/window/surface. Like I said before she goes for quite a while. Hasn't hurt anything yet so we don't worry about it.
Jitzu is our 'journeyman portal maker', Torri's still an apprentice. Torri gets bored much faster and only does it for 30 seconds or less. lol


Becky and the cats: Jitzu (11), Torri (9), Doran (8 ), and Muffin (8 )
The boys at 8 - not lol
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