cat scratching the wood (how to fix cat scratches on wood trim)

Many cat owners find themselves asking, “how to fix cat scratches on wood trim?”

Cat scratch marks are a nuisance for everyone who wants their home to look its best. 

So I’ve done significant research to help fix this problem.

Let’s dive into the task and repair your wood trim to its former glory.

READ MORE: How to Fix Cat Scratches on Walls

4 Steps to Fix Cat Scratches on Wood Trim

Before starting with the first step, it’s essential to outline it’s not a complex process. It shouldn’t be too much for anyone with a bit of DIY experience to get the job. 

More importantly, all the necessary materials will be available at most hardware or paint stores. Many readers will have these required items right in their workshop or toolbox:

  • Damp rag
  • Wood filler putty
  • Putty knife
  • 220 grit sandpaper
  • Paint or wood stain (your choice)

Step 1: Clean the Area 

I’d begin by grabbing a damp rag and cleaning the area. You’ll need to remove all the surface debris and dirt to move on to the next steps.  

However, don’t soak the area with too much water. You want the space to have a quick drying time, as it needs to dry before starting step 2. 

Step 2: Fill the Scratches and Nicks

Locate some wood filler putty to fill the scratches and nicks. But I can’t stress enough that using a putty knife is vital to this step. 

After all, you need to apply the putty evenly when filling in these areas. Proceed to scrape the site clean and even it with your trusted putty knife. Then, let the putty dry. 

Step 3: Sand the Repaired Area

After the putty dries, I’d recommend using 220 grit sandpaper to sand the repaired area. But make sure to sand the area smoothly and evenly. 

It should be like those cat scratches never existed. Once you’ve finished the sanding, use a damp rag to wipe the area and remove the sanding dust. 

Step 4: Paint or Stain the Area

The last step is painting/staining these areas to match their original stain or paint color. Your wood trim will now be free of those unwanted cat scratches until your cat does it again.

Check: My cat scratched someone can they take my cat from me?

Why Having Claws and Scratching is Important to Your Cats?

cat about to scratch a table

Of course, there are many reasons behind your cat’s need to scratch.

Understanding why it’s important to them will help you redirect these behaviors and save your wooden furniture. 

Hunting

Cats “are, first and foremost, natural-born hunters” [1] at a heart. It’s a natural behavior, and their retractable claws provide them with traction while running to make catching prey easier. 

You’ll notice these instincts when they play with their toys. It’s ingrained in them, and it doesn’t go away simply because their meals now come from you.

Stretching

Gripping onto items like a carpet or couch allows cats to stretch and twist their bodies entirely. As a result, it provides them with excellent exercise and enjoyment. 

It’s the same feeling that we get from yoga or other stretching activities. In other words, stretching “feels good and increases blood flow.” [2]

There’s no reason to take this away from them by declawing. Check out this video to learn more about why declawing isn’t such a good idea:

Climbing

Have you ever wondered why a cat’s claws are curved? They’re curved to help a cat climb up trees and onto other surfaces when feeling threatened. 

Indoor cats use them to grip household items like wooden furniture or cat scratching posts. But, more importantly, it gives them a way to escape when the family dog gets too frisky or rambunctious. 

Protecting Themselves

Claws are one of the ways your cat can defend itself against a predator. Indoor cats don’t usually need to protect themselves, but it’s a nice security blanket for them. 

Otherwise, they could be in a precarious situation without a way to defend themselves. Cats also use their claws to send messages, such as swatting to encourage distance.

It’s a helpful tactic for them, especially in multiple pet households. How else are they going to tell your new puppy to stay away from when they’re sleeping?

Leaving Their Scent

Anytime a cat scratches, they leave behind a scent produced from glands on their paws. [3] It becomes a unique signature to other animals and cats about who owns that area.  

Should I Punish My Cat for Scratching?

Punishing a cat [4] for scratching has crossed the minds of every owner. But it’s not a good idea because we mainly catch them after the fact. 

Punishment methods are only effective when catching them in the act. Punishing them after the incident won’t change their behavior and will have negative consequences. 

If punished after, cats are not uncommon to become afraid of their owners or environment. Some aggression might present itself when a cat doesn’t understand the reason for its punishment. 

Overall, punishment won’t work by itself because it’s not showing them where it’s okay to scratch. You aren’t redirecting its natural behavior in a more favorable area.

I’d only use punishment when catching them in the act and providing them with acceptable scratching objects. In these cases, remote punishment techniques are the best.

These techniques include making a loud noise or whistling. It’ll teach them to stop scratching the areas when in your presence. 

But it won’t teach them to stop when you aren’t there.

If you want to stop scratching completely, check out our article “How to Train Cats Not to Scratch Furniture.” It sure has helped with mine!

How to Fix Cat Scratches on Wood Trim FAQs

 

Does vinegar and olive oil fix wood scratches?

Vinegar and olive oil can fix scratches. Mixing 3/4 cup of vegetable oil and 1/4 cup of white vinegar into a bowl and wiping onto a wood scratch can do wonders. It’ll match the existing surface and cover up scratches on the wood.

Does Old English Scratch Cover Work?

Old English Scratch Covers do work, but they often leave behind a lot of unwanted stains and residue. These products end up being relatively ineffective in fixing surface scratches. Cat owners are much better off using other means, such as the one mentioned previously.  

Conclusion

As you’ve learned, fixing cat scratches present on wood trim and wooden furniture isn’t a complex process. Anyone who puts a little effort into it and follows our guide won’t have problems. 

Lastly, remember scratching is a natural behavior for cats. Declawing is never the answer, as a cat’s claws are a massive component of keeping them happy and entertained. 

Don’t forget to let us know what you think about the topic within our comment section. Thanks for reading! 

Resources

  • 1. Palermo E. Why Do Cats Bring Home Dead Animals? [Internet]. livescience.com. 2013. Available from: https://www.livescience.com/34471-cats-dead-animals.html
  • 2. Vila AC. Feline Body Language: Why Cats Stretch So Much [Internet]. Nature World News. 2016 [cited 2021 Dec 13]. Available from: https://www.natureworldnews.com/articles/21190/20160425/feline-body-language-why-do-cats-stretch-so-much.htm
  • 3. Johnson-Bennett P. How Cats Use Scent Communication [Internet]. catbehaviorassociates.com. 2011. Available from: https://catbehaviorassociates.com/how-cats-use-scent-communication/
  • 4. Horwitz D. Preventing and Punishing Undesirable Behavior in Cats [Internet]. vca_corporate. Available from: https://vcahospitals.com/know-your-pet/preventing-and-punishing-undesirable-behavior-in-cats
cat scratching the wood (how to fix cat scratches on wood trim)

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Ben Robers
Ben Robers

My name is Ben Roberts, and I absolutely love animals. So, naturally, I love writing about them too! As far as my animals, I have a Pit-bull, a Beagle-lab mix, a Chihuahua, and one old cat. Each one of them provides me with a new adventure every day. And the best part is they’re all best friends. Well, except the cat when he gets a little annoyed. Learn more about Benhere
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