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How to Stop a Cat From Scratching Doors: 10 Useful Tips

Written by: Emma Stenhouse

Last Updated on April 8, 2024 by Catster Editorial Team

cat scratching the door

How to Stop a Cat From Scratching Doors: 10 Useful Tips

Scratching is a natural behavior for cats. When they scratch your door, however, it can be annoying and may cause damage that you have to repair.

Fortunately, there are ways to train your cat to stop scratching at your doors and redirect that energy into more appropriate behaviors. Read on below to find out more.

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Why Do Cats Scratch Doors?

Cats may scratch doors for several reasons, including:
  • Curiosity: Cats are naturally curious. If there’s a door closed, they may wonder what’s happening behind it that they’re not privy to. This is especially true of doors that are always closed, such as your backdoor or basement door.
  • Boredom: Scratching is a fun behavior for your cat, so scratching at a door could simply be due to boredom. Doors are solid and offer resistance, making them ideal scratchers for your cat.
  • Attention Seeking: If your cat wants your attention, scratching a door is a good way to get it. Your initial reaction may be to yell or scold, which gives your cat the attention they want.
  • Maintaining Nails: If you don’t have enough enrichment for your cat, they may need to scratch at other items in your home to maintain their nails—including your doors, furniture, and carpets.

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How to Stop Your Cat From Scratching at Doors in 6 Steps

It’s helpful to identify why your cat is scratching at your doors, but these tips can help you provide more appropriate outlets and discourage destructive scratching:

1. Provide Scratching Posts

Scratching posts are a necessary enrichment item for your cat. If you don’t have a scratching post, your cat will be forced to find new places to scratch to maintain their nails and get some stretching. Make sure you have at least two large, stable scratching posts in your home.

If you already have a scratching post that your cat doesn’t use, consider upgrading it. It’s possible that it’s worn out or doesn’t offer enough interest for your cat. You could also try wall and floor scratchers to give your cat variety. Cardboard scratching posts or mats are ideal because your cat can shred the cardboard easily and release their scent, which encourages them to continue using it.

Some cats may prefer fabric or rope, however, so experiment until you find your cat’s ideal option.

2. Keep Your Cat’s Nails Trimmed

Cat claws grow endlessly, but they shed the outer layer regularly. Cats are naturally inclined to scratch to keep their nails sharp and short for hunting and climbing. If you’re not trimming your cat’s nails enough—and not providing ways for your cat to maintain their nails—they will take matters into their own “hands” by scratching solid surfaces like your doors.

Make nail trimming part of your regular grooming routine. Some cats are finicky about their nails, so take it slow. Even if you only trim one nail at a time, make it a positive experience with lots of treats and slowly work your way up to full paws and, eventually, all four paws.

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3. Offer More Stimulation

Cats need both physical and mental stimulation to relieve pent-up energy. In addition to scratching posts, make some playtime part of your routine and give your cat some exercise. Interactive toys like laser toys or puzzle toys can encourage your cat to hunt and pounce, giving their brain and body a workout.

You could also incorporate cat trees and perches with dangling toys and scratch posts to keep your cat more entertained.

woman playing with her cat on sofa
Photo Credit by: Kutuzova_Svetlana, Shutterstock

4. Feed Your Cat Before Bedtime

If your cat is scratching at your closed bedroom door at night, you may need to adjust their feeding schedule. Cats are nocturnal, so if they’re hungry, they’re more likely to annoy you for food. Try feeding your cat close to your bedtime to make them more likely to sleep instead of scratching at your door.

5. Schedule a Vet Appointment

If your cat has only recently started scratching at your doors, there could be a medical problem to blame. Schedule a vet appointment to ensure that your cat doesn’t have any health problems that are leading to increased scratching.

vet petting the cat and talking to the owner
Image Credit: Stock-Asso, Shutterstock

6. Redirect the Behavior

While other interventions can help, you may need to train your cat to stop scratching your door. Most importantly, don’t give your cat any attention when they’re scratching, as this reinforces the behavior. Don’t scold, open the door, call them, or anything else.

Positive reinforcement training to redirect your cat is one of the best ways to teach your cat what’s appropriate to scratch. Reward your cat for using a scratching post or mat instead of scratching at the door. You could also put double-sided tape or tin foil on your doors to discourage the behavior while you work on training.



Cats scratch at doors for various reasons. While it’s important to get to the bottom of your cat’s behavior, these tips should help you redirect your cat’s behavior and teach them more appropriate ways to satisfy their scratching instincts.

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Featured Image Credit By: SoNelly, Shutterstock

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