why do cats rub their paws on windows?
Questions About Cats

Why Does My Cat Keep Scratching Windows?

Pet owners are often curious as to why their cat constantly scratches at windows. It makes an irritating noise and damages the window.  Some cats are more prone to this behavior than others.

Cats often scratch at windows because your cat has spotted birds or mice outside. She’ll feel frustrated because she’s an instinctive hunter. A territorial cat may have glimpsed her own reflection and thought that it was another cat. She may want to sharpen her claws on windows, or finds the grating sound soothing.

There are several potential explanations for cats scratching at windows. Thankfully, felines can quickly be trained out of the behavior before they hurt themselves or your home.

Why Does My Cat Scratch Glass and Mirrors?

There are many reasons why cats like to scratch at windows and mirrors. These are as follows:

  • Watching birds and wanting to hunt them
  • Seen her own reflection and wants to fight this ‘other’ feline
  • Sharpening her claws
  • Your cat is stressed and finds scratching the window soothing

If you can understand why your cat is scratching your windows all the time, you can take the necessary action and put an end to it. Let’s look into each explanation in a little more detail.

1) Cat Has Seen Birds Outside

The most common explanation for window scratching is a cat’s desire to hunt the birds outside. Many cats will sit and watch birds for hours, as though she’s hypnotically transfixed. She may even trill and chirp in an attempt at mimicking her aspiring prey.

Your cat is likely to grow frustrated with just watching. A cat scratching a window really fast is expressing irritation at her spectator status. She wants to be outside hunting birds.

As Affinity Pet Care explains, playing hunting games with your cat will indulge her instincts, and no birds need to die. Also, you’ll also strengthen the bond between you and your cat.

cat scratching window

A toy on a fishing rod is the best solution for hunting games. These will be available from any pet store. Just dangle the toy and allow your cat to stalk it. She’ll pounce on the toy. This simulates the hunting that she’d do in the wild. There is also a variety of free ways to play with your cat.

In the wild, your cat would not catch her prey every time. You’ll have to prevent your pet from ‘winning’ every game, mixing the results up a little. She’ll become bored of playing otherwise.

2) Cats Fight Their Own Reflections

This behavior stems from your cat not recognizing her own reflection. What your pet does see is another cat. In her mind, this is a rogue feline that is trying to invade her territory. Your cat will do what comes naturally to her. Namely, defiantly guard their home with teeth and claws.

Some cats realize their mistake sooner than others. In some cases, it’s the lack of smell that gives it away. Others will grow bored with what appears to be a constant stalemate. She will notice that, when she backs away, so does this other cat.

Just be aware that, in such a scenario, repetition is likely. Your cat didn’t see her conflict with her reflection as a mere battle. It was just one salvo in an ongoing war.

3) Cats Sharpen Their Claws on Windows

Cats are naturally inclined to sharpen their claws, and windows provide an excellent opportunity to do so. Glass is one of the few materials that are resilient to the attention of feline claws.

This is good, in that your cat will not do any lasting damage to the glass. What is less than ideal is the habit itself. It will be like nails on a chalkboard constantly.

This behavior can be resolved with scratching posts. Cats need to scratch as it’s part of their genetic instinct. Sprinkle catnip on a scratching post and she’ll do so in the right place.

4) Relieve Stress and Anxiety

If your cat doesn’t feel safe and comfortable, then she’ll self-soothe any way they can. This often involves destructive behaviors. As windows don’t break or shatter, they’re the ideal target.

Equally likely is boredom. If your cat doesn’t have enough to do, then she’ll find unwelcome ways to amuse herself. It won’t go unnoticed that scratching windows generates a reaction from humans.

Keep your cat amused and entertained with a reliable routine. You’ll already be playing hunting games to deal with your pet’s desire to stalk birds. Ensure that your cat has plenty to do. Your cat needs to be mentally and physically challenged regularly in order to stay happy and contented.

Why Do Cats Paw at Windows?

Cats are rubbing their paws on a window, with no attempt to scratch, is fairly common. There are three possible explanations for this behavior, all of which are entirely innocent:

  • Your cat is yawning and stretching, using the window to support her weight
  • Your cat is testing the window’s strength to see if it will open like a cat flap
  • Your cat is leaving her scent on the windowpane and marking it as her own

Stretching and leaning on windows is a common behavior in cats. Many felines enjoy dozing on a windowsill, after all. It’s the best way of absorbing rays of the sun without being outside.

With the aid of a window to lean on, your cat can stand on her hind legs. This enables her to unlock any kinks with a big stretch. It will only take a few seconds, and your cat will feel much better for it.

cat scratching window really fast

Your cat may apply pressure to see if the window opens. Even a cat that seems content to live indoors will be curious about the outside world.

Your cat will be seeing if the window lets her out as a cat flap would. She may also be imitating behavior they saw you engage in, such as opening a window.

Consider whether your cat is marking the window. Cats have scent glands in their paws, after all. There are various reasons why a feline would do this.

If you have multiple cats, one will mark the window as ‘her’ viewing and napping spot. If your cat considers guarding the house her responsibility, she’ll leave her scent to warn off intruders. Cats may even mark a window to remember that it’s a good spot for bird watching.

These will be short-term behaviors. They’ll also be comparatively sporadic. If your cat is regularly scratching with intensity, you should train her out of the habit.

How to Stop Cats Scratching Windows

If your cat is determined to scratch at windows, investigate training techniques that break the habit. As per SFGate, methods for training a cat out of scratching a window could include:

  • Deny Access. Move any furniture close to the window so your cat struggles to reach it. The only problem with this is that you’ll suffer from the lack of light.
  • Tint Your Windows. If you tint your windows, your cat will struggle to see out of them. If she doesn’t see anything that provokes her, your pet is less likely to scratch.
  • Apply an Unappealing Scent. If you have a room freshener by the window, use a scent that cats loathe. Citrus will usually cause a cat to keep her distance.
  • Use Double-Sided Sticky Tape on the Windowsill. Cats do not enjoy sticky sensations under their paws. Applying this tape will keep her off the windowsill.
  • Use Deterrent Training. Make a loud noise when your cat starts scratching. This isn’t recommended, though. If startled, your cat could fall from their window perch.

Of course, keeping your cat entertained in other ways is also critical. Encourage scratching in approved places, such as scratching posts. Engage in regular playtimes. This will keep your cat content and less likely to take out her frustration on your windows.

There will always be a reason why your cat is scratching on the window. While she will be naturally curious about the surface, she’d ordinarily move on. Something about the window is maintaining her interest. Scratching will be the next logical step.

Train your cat out of this behavior, but take the time to work out why she is scratching in the first place. Unlocking the root cause of this habit, could help to improve your cat’s demeanor.