Why Do Cats Scratch Mirrors? Decoding the Mystery

If you are a cat lover or a cat caretaker, you might have noticed that your cat has a peculiar habit of scratching mirrors. You might have wondered why this behavior is so common in cats. Cats are mysterious, but their behavior can be decoded. In this article, we will discuss why cats scratch mirrors. We will explain the reasons behind this behavior and provide some solutions to stop them from doing it.

Why Do Cats Scratch Mirrors?

Cats are hard-wired to scratch surfaces, and they love reflective surfaces like mirrors. This is because they perceive the reflection as another cat. Your cat is not attacking the mirror, but they are reacting to what they perceive as another cat.

If you notice your cat arching their back, fluffing out their fur, and staring intently at the mirror, it means that they are reacting to their own reflection. Essentially, they are trying to communicate with their reflection. When they scratch the mirror, they see it as an interaction with the reflection.

Reasons Behind Scratching Mirrors

Apart from the psychological reasons, there could be other reasons why your cat is scratching mirrors. Here are some common reasons that could be triggering this behavior in your cat:

  • Boredom: If your cat is bored, they may start scratching the mirror as a form of entertainment.
  • Territory Marking: Cats have scent glands in their paws. They could be scratching the mirror to mark it as their territory.
  • Stress: If your cat is stressed, they may start scratching the mirror to relieve their anxiety.
Why Do Cats Scratch Mirrors
Why Do Cats Scratch Mirrors

How to Stop Your Cat from Scratching Mirrors

If your cat is scratching your mirror, you may be worried about the mirror being damaged. However, there are a few solutions that can help you stop this behavior. Here are some of them:

  • Scratching Post: Provide your cat with a scratching post near the mirror. This will give them a substitute to scratch.
  • Distractions: Distract your cat when they are trying to scratch the mirror. You can do this by playing with them or giving them a treat.
  • Cover the Mirror: Cover the mirror with a cloth or a sheet when you are not using it. This will eliminate the reflection and remove the temptation for your cat to scratch it.

Negative Effects of Mirror Scratching

While scratching may be a natural behavior for cats, it can become a problem when they direct it towards furniture or other household items. Mirror scratching can also have negative effects on your furry friend. Here a few effects that it can have:

  • Damage to the mirror: Constant scratching by cats can mar the surface of mirrors and cause costly damage.
  • A hazard to your cat’s health: Breaking mirrors can be dangerous for cats as it increases their risk of getting cuts and injuries.
  • Increased anxiety levels: If your cat is obsessively scratching a mirror, it can be a sign that they are anxious or stressed. Consequently, increasing their anxiety levels.

Preventing Your Cat from Scratching Mirrors

If you want to prevent your cat from scratching mirrors, you need to identify the underlying cause. Here are some tips that can help:

  • Provide Interactive Toys: Providing interactive toys to your cat can keep them engaged and stimulated.
  • Provide Scratching Posts: As mentioned earlier, providing scratching posts can help redirect the urge to scratch to a more acceptable activity.
  • Address Stress: Addressing your cat’s stress levels can significantly reduce unwanted behavior. You can do this by providing a comfortable and safe environment for your cat.


Cats are mysterious creatures, and their behavior can be puzzling at times. However, once you understand the underlying reasons behind their behavior, it becomes easier to deal with their antics. Scratching mirrors is a common behavior in cats, and they do so as a reaction to their own reflection. Understanding this behavior and providing alternatives can go a long way in helping your cat overcome this habit. With love and patience, you can train your cat to stop scratching mirrors, and create a happy and healthy environment for both of you.


Why do cats scratch mirrors?

Cats scratch mirrors as a reaction to their own reflection. They may perceive it as another cat in their territory and feel the need to mark it, or they may be trying to play with the image they see. It can also be due to boredom or stress.

How can I stop my cat from scratching mirrors?

You can stop your cat from scratching mirrors by providing them with interactive toys, scratching posts, and addressing any underlying stressors. You could also cover the mirror with a cloth when not in use.

Are there any negative effects of mirror scratching?

Yes, there are. Constant scratching can damage the surface of mirrors, and breaking them poses a risk to your cat’s health. Additionally, it could also be a sign that your cat is anxious or stressed, leading to increased anxiety levels.

Does my cat need more exercise?

Exercise is very important for cats as it helps them stay healthy and fit. Depending on your cat’s age and breed, they may require different amounts of exercise. If you think your cat needs more physical activity, you can consult with a veterinarian for tailored advice.

Is mirror scratching an aggressive behavior?

Not necessarily – cats scratch mirrors out of curiosity or playfulness rather than aggression in most cases. However, if your cat is exhibiting other signs of aggression (such as growling), it could be an indication that something else is going on. In this case, consulting with a vet or behaviorist might be beneficial.

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