Why Does My Cat Scratch The TV? (Cracking The Cat Code)

Why Does My Cat Scratch The TV?

Do you know what’s more frustrating than the final season ending for the Game Of Thrones?

Me having to get up 20-30 times to drag my cat off my TV.

My cat has a knack for getting in front of my TV at the most crucial moments, standing on his hind legs to paw and scratch at the TV.

It might seem adorable for the first 54 times but it can quickly turn irritating and costly when your cat damages your expensive TV.

But why does your cat like scratching your TV?

Cats scratch the TV due to a combination of reasons such as seeking attention, mistaking the TV screen for a potential hunting target, or simply enjoying the texture of the screen. To prevent this behavior, provide alternative scratching surfaces, engage your cat in interactive play, and apply deterrent methods such as double-sided tape or a screen protector.

In this article, we will explore the science behind cat scratching, the reasons why your cat might be drawn to your TV and how to prevent it.

What Do Cats Scratch?

cat sharp claws

When I look around my home, I can see all the ‘artwork’ that my cat has left around the premises.

Cats are chronic scratchers and if you have a cat, this is something that you have to accept.

They scratch for a variety of reasons that are rooted in their natural instincts and behavior.

The main reason for the scratching is to maintain their claws by removing the outer layer of the nail.

This action reveals a sharper, healthier claw underneath.

Cats are natural predators and depend on having sharp claws to rely on for catching their prey.

A world-class chef wouldn’t step into the kitchen with a blunt knife either.

You’ll also notice that your cat scratches a lot when it wakes up as this helps to stretch its body. 

Particularly its back and shoulder muscles, which help it stay limber and agile.

Scratching is also another form of communication for cats. They have scent glands in their paw pads which marks their territory when they scratch something. 

Some cats will even scratch the floor around their water bowls as a way of marking their resource.

Such an action is more common in multi-pet households.

Why Is My Cat Obsessed With The TV?

It is easy to get frustrated and irritated by your cat’s non-stop fascination and scratching of the TV. 

Here are some reasons that will help you better understand why. 

Your Cat’s Natural Hunting Instincts

“Your cat might not be feral but it has the DNA of a wild cat in its genes.”

You’ve probably seen your cat chasing shadows, pouncing on flying bugs or trying to catch the elusive laser pointer. 

Cats are naturally drawn to movement as it triggers their deeply ingrained hunting instincts and prey drive. 

Your cat might not be feral but it has the DNA of a wild cat in its genes. 

It won’t be able to resist the urge to ‘hunt’ and scratch at the TV when it sees something that resembles prey moving on the TV screen. 

To your cat there is a prey stuck in the TV and it is your cat’s job to get it out, dead or alive. 

Picture your cat as a tiny, fluffy lion, stalking its unsuspecting prey (aka the TV). It’s quite endearing when you think about it that way, isn’t it?

Your TV Resembles A Cat Bed

After some time, I finally figured out why my cat was scratching my TV so often. 

I came home and saw him sleeping or trying to fall asleep on top of my TV. 

Imagine a 10 pound cat trying to balance its entire body weight on a platform that’s only 1.5 inches wide. 

Suffice to say, he didn’t last long but you got to give him credit when it’s due. 

It seems that whenever he starts scratching at the TV, it means that he is trying to get on top of it. 

Your Cat Is Territorial

“Your cat is essentially claiming the TV with its personal signature.”

cat marking with urine

Don’t let your cat’s cool and calm demeanor fool you. 

Underneath all that cuteness and fur is a feline that craves his own territory and will fight to defend its turf. 

All cats are territorial due to their solitary nature. 

Many cats have to fend for themselves at a very young age and by claiming as much territory as possible, they are securing resources and shelter. 

Cats have scent glands in their paw pads and can mark their scent on objects by scratching them.

Does your cat like rubbing its gum on your things too?

Scent glands in its cheeks also help to pass on its scent on objects it rubs its face on.

Just so you know, your cat is the true owner of your home and you pay rent by feeding and giving it chin rubs. 

Your cat’s scratching on the TV is its way of saying, “This is mine!”

Your cat is essentially claiming the TV with its personal signature.

Your Cat Is Bored And Feeling Unappreciated

Ever heard of the saying “An idle mind is a devil’s workshop?”

Rest assured that your cat can turn into a little demon if it’s feeling bored and neglected. 

Even though our cats are capable of sleeping up to 20 hours a day, they still do require some form of interaction and attention

Your cat might not need the same level of involvement as your dog but you can’t just adopt and forget your feline friend. 

A cat that doesn’t get enough attention or mental stimulation can start to become destructive. 

Scratching your TV is one way of showing its displeasure. 

Many studies have shown that domesticated cats enjoy bonding with their owners. 

That is something that we should all learn to cherish. 

How To Stop My Cat From Scratching The TV?

All is not lost if your cat’s scratching on the TV is driving you nuts. 

Here are some effective methods that I have used to deter my cat from doing so. 

Give Your Cat Its Own TV

You don’t have to get your cat an 80-inch OLED HD TV. 

Do you have an old mobile phone or iPad that you no longer use?

If your cat likes watching stuff on the screen, play a cat video on it for your cat to watch. 

Your cat can scratch and nibble at the screen all day long without having to lay paws on your TV. 

It won’t take long for the novelty to wear out eventually. 

Take Preventive Measures

“You can also use aluminum foil as that works very well to deter cats too.”

Maybe your cat has a thing for big TV screens instead of a tiny iPad. 

If your cat is still scratching your TV, you can use tape and aluminum foil to stop your cat from coming near it. 

This method worked really well for me as it really drills into the cat that the TV is evil. 

What you want to do is get some sticky tape and wrap it a few times around the TV. 

Let the stick part face outward so that it does not get all the sticky goo on your screen. 

But more importantly, many cats are not fans of getting sticky tape on their paws. 

You can also use aluminum foil as that works very well to deter cats too.

If you have an air mattress at home, covering the top of the mattress with aluminum is a great way of preventing your cat from scratching the air mattress. 

Placing foil or sticky tape on the TV cabinet also gives this method a double boost. 

Once everything is set in place, switch on the TV to bait your cat. 

I am very sure that your cat won’t stick around once it feels the texture of sticky tape or aluminum foil on its paws. 

You might have to entertain yourself with your cat’s iPad for the time being while your main TV is being used to train your cat. 

Distract Your Cat

gold fish

I sort of stumbled on this method by accident. 

Besides having a cat and dog, I do keep fish at home as well. 

I don’t have a big aquarium but a small fish bowl with a couple of goldfish in it. 

The fish bowl is usually placed on my study table but I moved it to my TV cabinet to make space for my new monitor. 

As my cat was making his way toward the TV again, he got distracted by the fishbowl and made a beeline for it. 

He spent the next hour just observing the fish until he got bored and went for his nap. 

So if you don’t mind looking after a few fishes, having a small fishbowl to distract your cat can work tremendously. 

Just make sure you have a netted cover for the opening to prevent your cat from having a fishy snack. 

Another good way to distract your cat is to have a scratching post at home. It wouldn’t hurt to have at least two scratching posts for your cat. 

When I see my cat about to scratch my TV, I will carry him and place him next to the scratching post till he gets the message. 

Get one that is long enough for your cat to fully stretch itself when scratching. 

Give Your Cat More Attention

How much attention are you giving your cat on a daily basis?

5 minutes? 10 minutes?

Every cat owner should spend at least 30 minutes of undivided attention on their cats every day. 

The best way to give your cat attention is via grooming or playtime. 

Even having your cat sit next to you while you read a book or watch TV is good enough for the cat. 

Your cat won’t feel the need to scratch your TV or embark on a destructive quest if its getting sufficient attention from you. 

Cut Your Cat’s Nails

It won’t be possible to catch your cat in the act all the time. 

One way to prevent your cat from damaging the TV screen with its sharp claws is to trim them on a regular basis. 

I find that as cats get older, their claws tend to grow faster. So a proper trim once every two weeks would be a good frequency. 

And NEVER declaw your cat just to stop it from scratching things at home. 

Many cat owners are under the impression that declawing is just removing the cat’s claws. 

But the procedure involves removing the cat’s toes as well. 

It is painful for the cat and totally unwarranted. 

Should I Let My Cat Watch TV?

I don’t see a problem with letting your cat watch TV if it doesn’t get overly excited about it. 

If your cat gets too caught up in the moment when it starts seeing birds and insects moving on the screen, then it would be best to not show it in the first place. 

You don’t want your cat damaging your expensive TV or worse, toppling the TV on itself. 

That can cause some serious injury to your cat.

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