Why Does My Cat Scratch The Mirror? 5 Reasons

You can be sure of one thing: Your cat doesn’t like the way she looks in the mirror. Cats don’t get the mirror treatment. If she wanted to look good, she’d be eating all of her food on a plate or on her lap. But she chooses to destroy everything she sees in the mirror.

Why is that? How does she know how she looks in the mirror is not perfect? Let’s take a look at what happens in the animal kingdom.

Cats will scratch any surface that is interesting or new—and mirrors are just about the most interesting and new of all surfaces. So, if you have a cat, the next time your cat scratches the mirror, take note. You can use this knowledge to learn how to train your cat, or to understand how to improve your writing.

Why Does My Cat Scratch The Mirror?

Cats scratch surfaces for a variety of reasons, including sharpening their claws (which you can read about here), but most of them don’t apply to mirrors. Let’s take a deeper look at why cats could scratch a mirror or a piece of glass.


Why Does My Cat Scratch The Mirror?

Don’t only pay attention to the scratching. Is your cat jittery when he or she is near a mirror or glass? If they’re striking the mirror instead of scratching it, or if they’re puffing up and making themselves seem huge by arching their back and moving to the side, it might mean they’re afraid of their image or don’t know what to think of it yet.

If this is the case, the behavior is unlikely to endure long. There are no odors or sounds coming from the mirror, so they should immediately recognize it’s not another cat they’re viewing.

Allow them to investigate the mirror as long as they don’t knock it over and you don’t mind their damaging the glass or frame or injuring their paws by scratching the hard surface excessively.

However, if this behavior lasts longer than the first few times they view a mirror, it’s worth discussing it with your veterinarian. You don’t want them to get concerned when they see a mirror or to experience tension every time they go past one.


If your cat is a kitten or has a lively personality, it’s possible that they’re just messing about with their reflection. It’s more probable that they’re being fun than afraid if they’re softly batting at their reflection, pouncing about, fleeing and hiding, then springing out.


If your cat doesn’t seem afraid or playful when clawing the mirror or glass, and they’ve spent their whole lives near these sorts of surfaces, they may be asking for attention. They may not appear to be scratching for any reason, but if you usually respond by asking them to stop or walking over to where they are, they may like how scratching the glass draws your attention…even if it’s negative.

To get somewhere

Why Does My Cat Scratch The Mirror?

If the mirror they’re scratching is on a door, it’s possible that your cat is scratching it to get to the other side. If your cat is clawing at glass on a door or window, it’s probably because they want to get on the other side and think scratching is the way to achieve it.

Behavioral Problems

Those are the most obvious reasons for your cat scratching a mirror, but for many people, those explanations don’t make sense for their cat’s behavior, and it appears to be less sensible.

We must remember that, like people, cats can suffer from illnesses, chemical imbalances, illogical worry, stress, and other issues. This can lead to strange behavior that we can’t change on our own.

If your cat is exhibiting a lot of weird behavior, and it’s causing problems in your connection with them or in your home, consult your veterinarian. They may be able to give medicine to help calm your cat and make life easier for both you and them.

When it comes to administering mood medications for cats, here’s a fantastic interview with Jackson Galaxy.

How to Stop your Cat from Scratching the Mirror


Talk to your veterinarian if your cat’s behavior doesn’t appear to have a rhyme or reason, and you’re getting frustrated with how they act out. They can probably give some medicine that will make your cat feel better and make life easier for both of you. Here’s the link to Jackson Galaxy’s interview on mood medications for cats.


Why Does My Cat Scratch The Mirror?

If your cat is young or has never seen a mirror before, they will likely cease pawing at it until they get used to seeing their image. They may simply become weary of the action if they don’t receive some form of “reward” (as they see it) for it (e.g., you give them your attention when they do it).

More Stimulation

Make sure your cat has enough of toys to keep them engaged so they don’t turn to mirrors and glass for entertainment. If you notice that giving them a new toy every now and then prevents them from behaving strangely, like as clawing at a mirror or reflected surface, try doing so.

Indoor cats’ whole world is contained within your house. They don’t have the same freedom as you to depart for a change of scenery or people. It’s reasonable that your cat can become bored and hunt for new methods to occupy themselves from time to time.

Calming Sprays

You might try spraying a spray around the mirror or glass that is meant to relax cats and decrease undesired scratching activity. Feliway is available in a variety of forms, including sprays, diffusers, and collars. Comfort Zone is a product that is comparable to Comfort Zone.

Covering the Surface

Although it isn’t a long-term solution, covering a mirror with a blanket or even taping tin foil to the surface may assist; something they won’t damage. It’s an excellent idea to promote another action when the mirror is covered, such as scratching their scratching post. If you reward them for doing anything else, they’ll be less inclined to scratch the mirror when you finally uncover it.

Try putting a scratching post in front of the mirror as well. Obviously, this will not hide the mirror, but it may encourage their scratching and discourage them from utilizing it.

Reward Difeernt Behavior

Why Does My Cat Scratch The Mirror?

Cats learn by encouraging positive behavior rather than through punishment. When your cat scratches the mirror, applaud or pick them up and move them away from it; don’t hold them for lengthy periods of time or talk to them; offer them little attention.

Then attempt to persuade them to do something positive, like scratching their scratching post or playing. If/when they divert their focus away from the mirror to scratch or play with something more suitable, this is the moment to lavish attention on them. They should ideally learn that scratching the mirror does not provide them the attention they desire, whereas scratching the scratching post and toys do.

Ignore The Behavior

If the activity isn’t harmful (e.g., they’re not uncomfortable near the mirror or in risk of injuring themselves), and you think they’re scratching the mirror to attract your attention, you might choose to ignore it. If your reply is exactly what they’re searching for, and you’re delivering it to them, they’ll keep scratching to obtain it.

Instead, disregard the “bad” behavior and lavish attention and affection on them when they’re doing something “positive,” like playing with their scratching post. They may gradually discover that although poor behavior does not attract your attention, good behavior attracts your undivided attention and affection.

Is It Dangerous for My Cat to Scratch Mirrors?

Mirror scratching is not a serious habit in most cases. In fact, according to Del Anderson, DVM, a veterinarian from Woodstock, Georgia, cats can outgrow the tendency as they become older. They may become accustomed to seeing their reflection and become less troubled by it over time.

Nonetheless, there are certain safety issues. One of the most serious risks, according to Dr. Anderson, is the possibility of the mirror turning over. Depending on how the mirror is placed, your cat might knock it over, injuring himself and causing damage to the house. It’s also conceivable that your cat will get wounded if he scratches the mirror violently. “Cats’ nails aren’t made to cut glass,” he noted, “so there’s a chance they’ll shatter or break a nail if they scratch too much.”

Furthermore, mirrors may become a cause of worry or violence in some situations, according to Dr. Burch, especially if your cat perceives his reflection as a danger. In rare situations, your cat may develop a compulsive condition, leading to aggressive behavior against any reflecting surface.


Cats are curious and playful creatures. They have been known to use their claws to scratch things they’re interested in, especially glass. This behavior has been attributed to a natural urge to mark their territory. But, in reality, there is more to it than that. Here are some reasons cats scratch the mirrors.

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