Cats sleep anywhere and dig their nails into anything. From litter boxes to floors, carpets, and couches, everything is a scratching post for these felines. But why do they do this?

Short answer, digging is a natural instinct for cats to mark their territory, groom their nails, hide food and feces, or just to stretch and play. Depending on where your cat is digging, you can determine the reason for its digging.

Let’s discuss the reasons for cats digging in different places.

Notice Where Your Cat Digs

Notice Where Your Cat Digs

Before understanding the reasons behind your cat’s digging, you need to notice where your cats dig. This will help you determine the reasons and take necessary steps if there are any underlying reasons.

In general, cats are seen digging into their litter boxes, floors, carpets, cardboard boxes, top of couches, books, and your laptop or desktop keyboards.

This digging tendency may come from different reasons. Sometimes the cat may try to hide food other times it may just be playful or grooming its claws.

Whatever the reason is, you should observe this digging tendency carefully. Sometimes your cat may tell you to change litter by digging while other times it may just be trying to get your attention. 

Why Is Your Cat Digging?

Why Is Your Cat Digging

As mentioned above, cats dig for several reasons and it can be detected by the place they are digging. Here is a guide for you to understand your cat’s scratching and digging.

1. Natural Instinct

Digging is a natural instinct for all felines. Wild cats dig to create a safe and comfortable space for them to sleep or sit. Smaller felines like cats also dig into the ground of trees to hide from bigger predators.

Although your cat is domesticated, it still does have its instinct. So, whenever you see your cat digging into floors or carpets, it may be trying to make itself more comfortable in a cozy space.

2. Marking Territory

Another reason cats dig is to mark their territory. Cats possess scent glands in their paws, which spread their unique scent when digging.

If your cat is relentlessly scratching floors and walls after bringing another pet, it may be marking its territory, so the new pet keeps its distance. 

3. Stress

Anxiety and stress is another trigger for your cat to scratch all over your house. If there is a change in environment or their daily routine, the cat may feel stressed and dig to relieve stress.

Bringing in a new pet can also cause stress and anxiety in cats. If that’s the case, you will need to take proper measures to introduce your pets to one another to reduce such behavior.

4. Stretching

If there is a common trait every cat shares that would be their love for sleep. Cats fall asleep in the weirdest places and stretch after waking up without a care in the world. As a part of their stretching routine, they may dig a bit as well.

When stretching, a cat extends its muscles and claws to make itself limber and relaxed. You can identify this reason for digging as the cat will do it almost every time it wakes up from sleep.

5. Nail Trimming

Most cats are very concerned about their outlook. They are always grooming and are cleaner than almost all pets. Digging could be a part of their grooming routine to help shed the outer layers of their claws. It allows them to keep their claws sharp and healthy.

You can clip their nails to reduce their digging tendency. However, they may start to dig vigorously once their nail grows back, which could grow very quickly. 

6. Exercise and Playing

Cats may not be a very active pet. You may see it sitting or sleeping most of the time. However, even the laziest cats need to be entertained and they go for zoomies at some point in the day.

During their zoomies, a cat may run around and scratch whatever surface they see in front of them. This is a huge part of their exercise and play routine.

If you want to prevent your cat from ruining your carpet, couch, or floors during zoomies, you can invest in some scratching poles. Your cats are more likely to scratch in scratching posts than on hard floors to groom themselves better.

7. Litter Box Behavior

Litter boxes are one of the common places where cats dig. This is a behavioral instinct for cats as they like to bury their feces.

In the wild, a cat may be considered a predator, however, due to their smaller size they can also be prey for apex predators. Therefore, keeping their waste hidden helps them survive in the wild.

However, if you notice excessive digging, your furry pet may be unhappy with its litter condition. In such cases, you may need to clean the litter box and fill it with new litter. 

8. Hiding Food

Who else has seen their cat run away with a food item and scratch the life out of carpets? I definitely have. My cat likes to have its treats on our living room carpet and sometimes keeps the treats hidden.

When your cat is digging its nails in the floor or litter during its feeding time, it may be trying to bury the food to consume later. It is a natural behavior for cats. 

If your cat is digging around its food it may be a sign that you are feeding your cat too much. You can reduce such scratching by getting an automated feeding bowl for your cat.

Final Words

It is important to understand the reasons behind your cat’s scratching to help resolve any underlying conditions. Once you learn why your cat is digging, you can help accordingly. This will help maintain good health for your cat while building a good bond with your cute cat. 

Cats are complex beings with puzzling and unpredictable traits. However, when you pay proper attention, you will learn to understand the underlying meaning of such behaviors. This will greatly help you to understand your cat’s needs and keep it healthy and happy.