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Why Does My Cat Scratch My Bed Sheets?

If your cat scratches the bed sheets you may be wondering why this annoying behavior keeps happening…

Why does my cat scratch my bedsheets?

When your cat is scratching at your bed sheets, take a note of how aggressively they are doing it. If it’s just a bit of light digging, then they are likely just making themselves comfortable. More aggressive digging is typically done to get your attention – meaning that your cat wants you to stay awake.

So, now you know. But, could these soft blankets invoke memories? Should you discipline your cat for this? What can I do to prevent it from happening? Keep reading for these answers, and much more…

Could soft blankets remind your cat of its mom?

Cat on the corner of the bed.

Cat on the corner of the bed.

Soft blankets and pillows may also remind your cat of their mom, and in this scenario, the scratching behavior is simply a form of affectionate ‘kneading’, like your cat does when they are enjoying a nice petting session or well-placed scratches behind the ears.

Should I discipline my cat for scratching my bed sheets?

No. You should not discipline your cat for scratching the bed sheets. Punishment for this behavior isn’t going to work, because the cat is just doing something that comes naturally for them and they won’t understand why you are upset. This can make them think that you are simply being malicious and it could make your cat angry or distrustful of you.

How can I prevent my cat from scratching my bed sheets?

Rather than resorting to discipline that your cat might not understand, the best way to get them to stop scratching bed sheets and other places around the house is to provide them with alternatives. Scratching posts are good, just be sure not to throw them away immediately when they get a little wear and tear.

 Cats like it when the posts are frayed a bit, as they can get really get their claws into them.

When you cat starts scratching, say their name to get their attention, and move your cat to their scratching post. Don’t try to put their paws on the post, as this may make them dislike the scratching post and refuse to use it. After a few times of being moved, your cat will understand that you don’t want them scratching the bed.

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You can also keep a small rubber ball handy, like the type you find in gumball machines, so that if your cat is scratching because they want to play then they can chase the ball into the hallways and leave the sheets alone.

The ASPCA advises that there are plastic caps that may be put on a cat’s claws that do not harm the claws and adhere for approximately 4 -6 weeks and these can help. You can also trim their claws a little, provided that your cat allows it!

Finally, a little catnip sprinkled next to a scratching post or play area in the bedroom, right before you go to sleep, might let them get some of that play energy out and help to keep them from scratching your comforter, pillows, or sheets.

Can you cat proof your bed sheets?

You can minimize the chances of damage by using sheets that have a lower thread count, such as a 300 thread count set. They are a little less easy to unravel and thus a bit more resistant to scratching. Alternately, you can compromise, by folding up a cheap fleece throw that you can leave at the foot of the bed for your cat.

Cats love the feel of fleece and your sheets may well be spared!

Why are cat posts a good idea to prevent your cat from scratching your sheets?

Scratching posts, especially if placed closer to the bed, offer a more attractive ‘target’ when your cat feels like scratching. If your cat is coming to bed and just wants to flex those claws a little first, they will likely use that post if it’s close.

As we all know, cats are quite stubborn about doing what they want, so the best management strategy is not punishment – it’s convincing them that they want that scratching post more than they want your sheets!

Should you declaw your cat for scratching your sheets?

No. Declawing is not good for your cat and should not be done simply to spare the furniture. When a cat is declawed, they lose an important means to defend themselves against other animals. Not only this, but they also use their claws for climbing, sifting litter, and even in walking and stalking.

Declawing a cat requires surgery and there may be complications, such as nerve damage or even nails regrowing underneath the healed pads. This can cause pain for your cat, but it might just look like irritability. Finally, without claws, your cat may be more likely to bite, as this will now be viewed as their only form of defense.

Why does my cat attack the sheets when I make the bed?

Cat hiding in the sheets.

Cat hiding in the sheets.

Your cat loves attacking the sheets when you make the bed because it is enormously fun. Predators notice motion, and those sheets whipping around get their little hearts racing. They’ve learned by now that when they pounce on the sheets, the soft surface instantly collapses and compresses down in amusing ways.

What material is deemed as cat claw proof?

If material is quite tightly woven then this may be a less attractive target for cats, although some may well still scratch at it and eventually it will fray. Your best defense aside from scratching posts is furniture covers. Thicker covers may keep your cat away or at the least, provide a barrier to protect your furniture.

Double-sided tape, used in conjunction with furniture covers, is generally agreed to be the most ‘cat proof’ surface around. Cats really don’t like the sticky, gooey surface and they will leave it alone and look for something else to scratch instead.

Just make sure there is an ‘allowed’ scratching surface nearby and with a little luck, they will start using that instead.

Why is my cat climbing my bed sheets?

There are usually two reasons for your cat climbing the bed sheets. First, the motion in them when you get in bed may have prompted your cat to feel playful, so they’ve launched themselves at these funny ‘wiggling’ sheets.

Your cat might also simply enjoy climbing more than jumping, using the sheets just like we’d use a ladder. You can try putting a scratching post by the bed or a cat tower, just to give them something that they can still quickly climb to get into bed whenever they like in this manner.  

Why does my cat scratch my bed every morning?

While your cat might be doing this because they enjoy the texture of the wooden posts or the mattress material, often they do it to get your attention. Cats learn quickly when you don’t like something and some of them are quite happy to use that knowledge when they want attention or their food bowl is empty.

If your cat likes laying on its back and scratching underneath, then you should make a barrier to keep them out. Plastic under-the-bed storage is useful for out of seasons clothes so you can make more closet space at the same time that you are sealing off those vulnerable areas.

You can also place a scratching post close to the bed, double-sided tape, and there are even some scent deterrents available at your pet store. If all else fails, it is easiest to simply set your alarm a little earlier so that you can fill that food bowl and catch a few more minutes sleep before work!

Lindsey Browlingdon