Rossi, A. P., dos Santos, C. R. C., Maia, C. M. et al. 2023. Rescued cats prefer to scratch fabrics commonly used to cover upholstered furniture. Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science 26(3), 313–324.

Preference responses of cats for scratching fabrics commonly used on furniture were evaluated during four consecutive days in three Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) that rescue companion animals. Cats were grouped and their choices were registered at a group level (no individual identification). Daily choices for chenille, suede, synthetic leather, or waterproof grosgrain fabrics were evaluated for the cats’ groups. A preference for chenille and non-preference for synthetic leather and waterproof grosgrain was found, independent of the NGO. In conclusion, although not using chenille does not assure that cats stop scratching furniture – especially if no other option to scratch is available – synthetic leather and waterproof grosgrain seem to be less attractive fabrics for these animals. Further studies are needed to investigate whether these findings apply to cats in a home scenario, when just one or a few individuals are usually present and only one type of fabric covering furniture is commonly available. Although we did not investigate the effect of providing scratching posts for these animals, we recommend such posts are available in the environment as scratching behavior is important to cats.

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