February 3, 2023

Why does my cat scratch the curtains?

Cat climbs curtains

(Q) My indoor tom cat stands on his back legs on the window sill and scratches at my net curtains. How can I stop him doing this before I replace my curtains?

(A) Behaviourist Jon Bowen says: It sounds like your cat is very interested in looking out at the world, and it is good that you are trying to take this into account when replacing your net curtains!

Being kept indoors, the main source of visual excitement for your cat is the world outside. My first suggestion is that it would be a good idea to increase the amount of environmental enrichment available for your cat in the home. Look for some of the interactive toys that respond to a cat’s movement, provide all of your cat’s food through an activity feeder and bring interesting things into the home for your cat to investigate, like bird feathers you find in the garden. 

This will increase the amount of interesting things to do inside and reduces the reliance on an outside view.

Stopping your cat from clawing the nets is not going to be easy, and you probably should not even try. Anything that restricts his outdoor view will take away a significant source of stimulation for him. 

One option that could help reduce net-clawing is to have an area of the window sill that allows an unobstructed view, with the net pulled back so that it is not in your cat’s way. 

Another is to put net curtains on the lower part of the window and give your cat a piece of furniture to sit on that gives him a view through the top part that has no net. Specialized cat climbing furniture is perfect for this.