How to Keep Cat from Scratching Door in 5 Steps | Pet Pro Advice

How to Keep Your Cat from Scratching the Door in 5 Steps

Cats scratch doors and doorposts for a number of reasons that range from compulsive grooming to boredom. Below are five steps on how to keep cat from scratching door. They are ranked in order of simplicity and effectiveness from most effective to least effective. Each step contains a brief summary of how to keep cat from scratching door, followed by bullet points outlining the specific details of each step.

1. Keep Your Cat Well Groomed

How to Keep Your Cat from Scratching the Door

One of the most natural reasons that cats scratch at things is to keep their nails a proper length. If your cat has recently developed a habit of scratching at doors or doorposts whereas he/she didn’t before, it may be that their nails are growing uncomfortably long. Here is how to keep cat from scratching door:

  • Trim your cats nails every 10 days to 2 weeks (recommended by the ASPCA*)
  • Let your cat get used to the sound of the clippers before you start to trim their nails regularly
  • Reward an amicable trimming with treats – each one or two claws if necessary – until they become comfortable with the process
  • Avoid the pink part as that is where the blood vessels are
  • Do not try to trim all 10 nails at one time; it is better for both you and your cat to do it in multiple settings

2. Ensure Your Cat Has Toys and Is Well FedHow to Keep Your Cat from Scratching the Door

For some cats, scratching is a sign of boredom. This is especially true if your cat is put into another room for periods of time or overnight. He/she most likely does not appreciate the lack of attention and will scratch at the door as a way of calling out your attention.

  • If your cat is being kept overnight in a room, ensure a food bowl is left with him/her
    • If your cat tends to overeat, consider purchasing a cat food dispensing bowl to limit the amount of food they will have access to
  • Invest in a few new toys and limit them to the room where the cat is to be kept; this will keep the cat interested in them for longer periods of time. One such example is the Play n Squeak Mouse Hunter cat toy, but there are other brands available as well.

3. Provide an Alternative Scratching Place

If your cat scratches purely for enjoyment, toys and food may not cut it. Purchasing something that the cat can scratch in lieu of a door can be pricier, but generally works. Scratching posts or trees come in a variety of sizes and styles, and it is recommended that you purchase a scratching post that is equal to, or taller than the current area your cat is scratching. Here are a few things to consider on how to keep cat from scratching door using alternative methods:

  • Size of the area where you are going to place the tree or scratching post
  • Type of material used to cover the tree or scratching post (you’ll want something especially durable)
  • How active your cat truly is; older cats will need a tree with stairs or a ramp that allows them to climb more easily than younger cats would

4. Deter Your Cat From Scratching

If satisfying or distracting your cat does not keep them from scratching doors, there are gentle methods of deterring them instead. Here are some steps to keep cat from scratching door that are not damaging to the cat:

  • Place double-sided sticky tape across the area that your cat is scratching; cats hate sticky surfaces and often this will stop the scratching
    • Specific brands of cat tape are available at both pet stores and online; this tape tends to be wider and more resistant to claws
  • Purchase a scratch repellant from your local pet store and spray around the area your cat is scratching
    • Your local pet store will have the most animal-friendly, non-toxic brands
  • Invest in a motion-triggered repellant diffuser; these will release a scentless, animal repellant when your cat comes within a certain radius that will deter them from scratching the door

5. Designated Scratch Area

If all else fails, you may have to simply allow your cat to scratch at their preferred spot on the door or doorpost. However, you do not have to accept the standard accompanying damage. Instead, you can invest in a door frame scratch protector. Most often, the scratch protectors are a type of clear plastic and can be applied over the area the cat tends to favor. Over time, most cats stop going to this area as the scratch protector is not as fun. To ensure you select one that fits your needs here is how to keep cat from scratching door using this protector:

  • Measure the approximate scratch area that your cat is currently enjoying
  • Purchase a scratch protector that is larger than the surface area of that scratching space
  • Install the scratch protector over the area


Each cat is unique with their own personality. There may be a combination of these steps that you will need to take in order to successfully stop them from scratching. Working patiently with a combination of these steps will help you and your cat make progress. If you have gone through additional steps on how to keep a cat from scratching the door, feel free to share below for additional insight.

*The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals 

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