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Why Does My Cat Attack Door Frames?

If your cat is attacking your door frames you may be wondering why this is happening and what you can do about it…

Why Does My Cat Attack Door Frames?

Cats are territorial animals. Your cat is attacking door frames as a means of marking its territory, through the scent left from its paws and the physical marks left by the scratches. This is completely normal behavior and not a sign of distress or any other psychological issue.

So, now you know. But, how can I protect my door frames? Why does my cat chew the door frames? What’s the best way to repair a scratched door frame?

Do cats enjoy scratching door frames? 

a cat sitting by door.

A cat sitting by door.

Door frames just happen to be a great scratching post for your cat. Cats like to leave marks in places that other animals might see, including you. 

Door frames are routinely passed by members of the family. Door frames are also stable, permanent features that won’t fall down or be taken away.

How Can You Protect Your Door Frames From Your Cat?

Protecting your door frames from your cats’ scratches can be pretty tricky, but not impossible.  Here are a few tips:

Distract Your Cat 

Distracting your cat may be an option. If you cater to their instincts, you may be able to lure your cat away from the door frame. Try placing a scratching post near the door frame if you can, and scent it with catnip or other scents that cats love. 

Alternatively, you could place a toy or something to play with as a means of diverting their attention from scratching that spot.

Ban Your Cat From That Area (if possible)

We would all love for our pets to have free roam of the house, but sometimes it isn’t possible, especially if your cat is causing damage.

Try keeping your cat out of the room where the door frame is, or at least the side of the door frame it likes to scratch. Over time your cat will become accustomed to not going in that space.

Cover the Door Frames Temporarily

Covering your door frame with something that your cat would not enjoy scratching, like a metal object, may be a good way to train your cat from scratching your door frame.

Cats are creatures of habit, and if they are unable to scratch the door frame for a while they will eventually stop trying altogether.

This is perhaps a good technique for kittens and younger cats that are still developing their routine. Older cats that have been scratching the same door frame for years may find the adjustment a little more difficult.

Should You Use Nail Caps on Your Cat to Save Your Door Frame? 

Cat nail caps are robust little pieces of plastic or rubber that fit over your cats’ nails. They can potentially save your door frames from damage, but there are pros and cons of using them:

Pros:

  • They do not harm or hurt your cat (although test a few different ones to make sure your cat isn’t allergic)
  • The material is flexible and doesn’t affect your cats’ other activities
  • Nails can still retract while wearing caps
  • Caps do not affect normal nail growth
  • Easy to put on

Cons:

  • Need to be replaced as your cats’ nails grow (every 4 – 6 weeks)
  • Your cat may attempt to bite them off
  • Can affect your cats walk
  • Recommended that cats be kept inside while wearing

Why Do Cats Destroy Things and Jump on Door Frames?  

Although cats are domestic animals they have still retained many of their natural instincts. According to evolution, your cat is designed for jumping up and down trees and sneaking around in tall grass. 

These behaviours that we see as playful are actually very important hunting behaviours that cats developed to survive in the wild.

What Is The Best Way to Repair a Cat Scratched Door Frame? 

One of the best ways to repair a door frame without replacing it entirely is to use Bondo. Bondo is a resin-based filler that is commonly used in automotive repairs, but a version for wood is readily available.

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Top 10 Cat Breeds

Bondo for wood comes in colors according to your wood type for easy blending. Be sure to use Bondo immediately after mixing it as it solidifies quickly. Only use small amounts at first, so you don’t end up wasting it. 

Why Does My Cat Chew The Door Frame? 

Cats can show compulsive behaviours, and chewing wood is common. Cats’ instinctual behaviours are linked to hunting and stalking prey, which results in chewing!

There is a ‘Chewing Spectrum’ when it comes to cats. Some do not chew at all while others chew you out of house and home. If your cats’ chewing has become compulsive then try spraying the door frame with bitter apple spray (they don’t like the taste) or covering your door frame with double sided sticky tape.

Can Lemon Juice Spray Prevent a Cat Attacking Your Door Frame? 

A glass of juice.

A glass of juice.

Yes and no, it all depends on your cats personal preferences.

Many cat owners successfully stop their cats from scratching door frames with lemon spray, others say it had no effect at all.

Overall, sprays with different scents can help you manage damaging cat behaviours, but only if your cat doesn’t like the smell.

It is best to experiment with a few different scented cat sprays and see if any work. Like people, cats have different likes and dislikes too!

Why Is My Cat Hugging My Door Frame? 

Cats exhibit all sorts of weird and wonderful behaviours, and door hugging is an invitation to play!

If you have noticed your cat doesn’t scratch the door but hugs it, and runs away from you when you approach, this is a textbook request for a game of chase!

Cats often do this to each other, they will entice each other into rounds of chase for fun. Engage by chasing your cat a little then giving them an opportunity to come back. You can also introduce toys and other things for you to play with together.

Why Is It Best To Have a Large Scratching Post To Distract Your Cat From Your Door Frame? 

Large scratching posts are best for cats of all sizes, because it enables them to stretch themselves out fully while scratching, this is why door frames are a common favourite among cats.

The key to scratching isn’t just in the claws but in all the movements involved in the scratch. The scratching feels good for your cat, and having the ability to scratch deeply is also important.

So if you wish to save your furniture it is advised to have a few lage scratching posts available around the house, and in areas where family members commonly spend time or pass through.  

High traffic areas are where cats love to scratch most, as part of their territory marking behaviour.

Can Climbing Walls and Perches Prevent Your Cat Attacking Your Door Frame?

Yes, climbing walls and perches can help prevent your cat from attacking the door frame, however it is not a guaranteed solution.

First you must figure out why your cat is attacking the door frame. Usually it is instinct, and if this is the case then a climbing wall or perch may be an ideal solution as they allow cats to mimic these wild behaviours.

However if it is territorial behaviour, a wall or perch might do the trick, depending on where it is placed.

If you can place these items in spaces where the family often pass through, or very close to the door frame your cat is already fond of, then your cat may choose this new spot as its preference, especially if it is made of a scratchable material that your cat likes.

Lindsey Browlingdon