Why Does My Cat Scratch The Mirror?

|8 min read

Are you constantly finding your cat scratching the bedroom mirror? Does it make you anxious about their safety? Well, you are not alone!

It's natural for cats to scratch their paws to stretch their muscles, sharpen their claws, and mark their territory. But their choice of scratching location can sometimes leaves their owners puzzled. And it may be concerning if it is happening too much.

Understanding why your cat scratches the mirror can help create a safer living environment for you and your pet.

This article will discuss why your cat scratches mirrors and tell you how to stop this destructive behavior.

Why Does My Cat Scratch The Mirror?

There can be many reasons why your cat may be scratching the mirror. Let's discuss in detail why your feline friend may be acting this way

  1. Fear

    Suppose your cat behaves oddly around mirrors or glass surfaces, such as hitting the mirror or puffing up and arching their back. In that case, it may show that they are scared of their reflection. They may assume the reflection is another cat in their territory and may enter their fight mode.

    However, this behavior will only last briefly, as your cat will soon realize that their reflection is not another cat since no sounds or smells are coming from it.

    As long as your cat is not at risk of injuring themselves by damaging the mirror, it's fine to allow them to investigate and satisfy their curiosity.

    However, if this behavior persists, it's a good idea to consult your vet, especially if your cat seems anxious or stressed.

    Prolonged fear or stress can have a negative impact on your cat's physical and mental health. So keep an eye on your feline friend and ensure they get all the necessary help to feel safe in their environment.

  2. Play

    Cats are famous for their playful nature, and they often indulge in activities that may seem unusual to us as human beings. If your cat is a kitten or generally an active animal, their behavior around mirrors could result from its playful nature.

    So, suppose you find your cat scratching their reflection, running, hiding, and pouncing around. In that case, it's more probable they are just having fun rather than anything serious.

    Therefore look closely and observe whether your cat's behavior around mirrors is playful or not.

    However, ensuring they are not at risk of injuring themselves or breaking anything is essential.

    While ensuring your cat is safe, you can let them continue their playful exploration of their reflection, as it is normal and natural behavior.

  3. Attention-seeking behavior

    Suppose your cat is scratching at the mirror or glass, and you notice it doesn't appear to result from fear or playfulness. Then they may just be looking for attention.

    The scratching behavior may seem pointless, but if you tend to react by scolding them, your cat may enjoy this attention, even if it's negative. Cats are known for their need for attention. They can resort to behaviors that grab their owner's attention, whether positive or negative.

    Therefore, if your cat's behavior around mirrors seems attention-seeking, you can redirect their behavior by offering them toys or treats when they display positive behaviors. Simply spending more time with your cat may also stop your cat from exhibiting attention-seeking behavior.

    If you reward their good behavior, your cat will learn to seek attention positively, and the negative behavior may subside.

    It's important to note that excessive attention-seeking behavior may indicate an underlying issue such as anxiety or boredom.

    So, suppose you notice that your cat's attention-seeking behavior still exists despite positive reinforcement. If that is the case, consult your vet. They will help rule out any underlying medical issues or behavior problems.

  4. Behavior issues

    While the reasons mentioned earlier are the most common causes of a cat scratching a mirror, there are times when this behavior appears to be less rational and harder to understand. Don't forget that cats are complex creatures and may display behaviors that are not always easy to understand.

    We must remember that just like humans, cats can suffer from disorders, chemical imbalances, irrational anxiety, and stress, among other things. These factors can lead to unusual behavior that may be challenging to correct without professional help.

    Suppose you notice that your cat is displaying strange behavior that seems to strain your relationship with them or within your home. In that case, it's essential to seek help from a professional.

    They can evaluate your cat's behavior and prescribe medication or recommend behavioral correction therapy to help ensure your cat's physical and mental well-being. Your furry friend can have a happy and healthy life with the right treatment.

Cats And Mirrors: 7 Ways To Stop The Crazy Scratching

Now that you know why cats scratch mirrors, let's see how you can stop this behavior.

  • Medication

    Suppose you're at a loss as to why your cat behaves erratically, and their actions are causing you significant distress. In that case, seek help from your veterinarian.


    A professional can evaluate your cat's health and behavior and determine if any underlying issues may be contributing to the problem. If medication is necessary, your veterinarian can prescribe it to help with your cat's anxiety or other medical or mental issues.

    It is essential to remember that medicating your cat is not a quick and easy fix. It should be combined with several other behavior modification techniques.

    Additionally, discussing any potential side effects of the medication with your veterinarian is essential to ensure your cat's safety and well-being.

  • Give it Time

    Suppose your cat is still young or unfamiliar with scratching mirrors. In that case, they may eventually stop pawing at the mirror once they get used to their reflection.

    However, it's essential to note that if the behavior is reinforced by a perceived reward, for example, attention from their owner, the behavior may continue even if they become familiar with the mirror.

    In these cases, it's essential to avoid giving them attention when they exhibit bad behavior instead of redirecting them to more appropriate activities. Give it time, and the behavior may eventually decrease or stop altogether.

  • More mental and physical stimulation

    Your cats scratch mirrors because they are simply bored and require more mental and physical stimulation. This is why providing your cat with enough toys and entertainment is essential. This keeps them engaged and prevents them from resorting to destructive or simply odd behaviors such as scratching at mirrors or other reflective surfaces. You can try introducing new toys to keep things interesting for them.

    As indoor cats don't get to experience different environments or meet new animals or people, they may get bored quickly and become restless. This is why it's essential to keep them stimulated and provide them with various toys and activities to keep them happy and occupied.

  • Calming sprays

    One option to prevent your cat from scratching the mirror or glass is to use a calming spray specifically designed for cats.

    Several products, such as sprays, diffusers, and collars, are available in different forms. These products work by emitting a soothing scent, which helps calm cats and reduce unwanted behaviors like scratching.

    The spray can be applied around the mirror or glass area to help discourage your cat from scratching and promote relaxation. Follow the instructions closely, and consistently use the product for the best results.

    It is also essential to investigate for allergies as not all cats react similarly to certain smells.

  • Cover mirrors

    If you want a temporary solution to stop your cat from scratching a mirror, you can try covering it with something they won't want to scratch, such as a blanket or tin foil.

    However, this is only a short-term solution. At the same time, you can work on encouraging other desirable behaviors, such as scratching their scratching post.

    Another alternative is to place a scratching post in your room. Place the scratching post in a way that it comes in front of the mirror. This will give your cat an alternative scratching surface and may redirect its attention away from the mirror.

    However, it's crucial to note that these solutions may not be permanent fixes and that addressing the underlying reason for your cat's behavior is essential. If your cat is scratching the mirror due to anxiety or other issues, covering the mirror will not fix the issue. 

  • Reward positive behavior

    Instead of reacting to the scratching behavior, you can ignore it and focus on reinforcing positive behaviors. For instance, you can reward your cat with treats or simply attention when they play with their toys or use their scratching post. You can also provide them cat toys for distraction.

    It is essential to realize that this approach requires a lot of patience and persistence. Still, by consistently rewarding positive behaviors and ignoring negative ones, your cat may learn that good behavior is the correct way to get your attention.

  • Ignore

    If your cat's behavior around the mirror doesn't harm them, and you believe they are scratching it to get your attention, ignoring the behavior may be a practical approach. If your cat perceives they are getting your attention by scratching the mirror, it will continue with the behavior.


    Instead of reacting to the scratching behavior, you can ignore it and focus on reinforcing positive behaviors. For instance, you can reward your cat with affection, attention, or even treats when they play with their toys or use their scratching post.

    By consistently rewarding positive and ignoring negative behaviors, your cat may learn that good behavior is the best way to get your attention.

    However, remember that this approach may take time and patience, mainly if your cat is used to getting your attention through negative behaviors.

    If your cat's behavior persists despite your active efforts, it is essential to seek professional help from a veterinarian.

    A vet can assess your cat's behavior and provide advice on addressing any underlying issues contributing to the behavior.

Final Words!

While it can be really frustrating for cat owners to see their cats scratch at the mirror, it's essential to understand the reasons for this behavior.

One possible reason behind this behavior is that cats see their reflections as other cats and may feel threatened by them, leading to scratching. Another reason may be that your cat is trying to play or mark their territory. Whatever the reason, it's crucial to provide alternative scratching surfaces and cat ball toys to redirect their behavior and keep their nails trimmed. This will help prevent them from hurting themselves and causing substantial damage to the mirror.

However, with patience and taking all the necessary steps, you can work towards creating a safer environment for your cat to thrive.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Do Cats Understand Their Reflection?

While cats may initially perceive their reflection as a threat, with time and safe exploration, they can understand that it's simply a reflection. Providing opportunities for your cat to investigate reflective surfaces, such as mirrors or even a shiny surface like a polished floor, can help them get accustomed to their reflection and overcome any fear or anxiety.

Supervising your cat during this process is essential to ensure they don't accidentally hurt themselves or damage the reflective surface. You can also apply positive reinforcement, such as treats or praise, to encourage your cat to interact with the reflective surface in a non-destructive way.

Is It Dangerous If My Cat Scratches Mirrors?

While it is not particularly dangerous for cats to scratch on mirrors, it may lead to the unfortunate event of the mirror breaking that may end up hurting your cat.

An unhealthy obsession with mirror scratching may indicate mental issues that your cat may face, so it is essential to watch for unhealthy habits.

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