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Home > Cats > Why Your Cat Scratches the Mirror: 7 Common Reasons

Why Your Cat Scratches the Mirror: 7 Common Reasons

bengal cat touching the mirror with its paw

Cats are naturally curious creatures and love to investigate their surroundings with their claws; from furniture to walls to even mirrors—any item is fair game. But have you ever wondered why your cat scratches the mirror? If so, we’re glad you’re here because we’ll get to the bottom of this behavior.

There are a few reasons why cats scratch mirrors, and most reasons are harmless. However, if your cat is stressed, that could be a reason for scratching the mirror, in which case, you’ll need to address the issue.

In this post, we’ll list the seven reasons why your cat scratches the mirror and explain what you can do to break the habit if necessary.


The 7 Reasons Why Your Cat Scratches the Mirror

1. Seeking Attention

One reason may be your cat is trying to get your attention. Cats have the intelligence to figure out that by performing a specific action, they’ll get what they want. If you react each time your cat scratches the mirror, your cat will continue doing it.

One way to deter your cat is to provide a cat scratcher. Cats love them, and it’s an excellent way to provide enrichment and for sharpening the claws.

bengal kitten scratching the mirror
Image Credit: Smile19, Shutterstock

2. Curiosity

As all cat owners know, cats are curious beings and love to figure things out. In this case, your cat may be trying to figure out what the object is, and your cat will do this by pawing and scratching.

It’s not unusual for a cat to be attracted to a mirror because they see their own reflection. However, they don’t recognize themselves and may paw and scratch in an effort to figure out who the other feline is in their home.

3. Fear

Since cats can see their reflection, they may paw and scratch because they are uneasy about the cat they are seeing. They may feel threatened as if another cat is invading their space; how dare they! Cats have scent glands on their paw pads, and by scratching the mirror, they are marking their territory with their scent.

Cats who share a home with other cats may not be as surprised when they see their reflection, so you can imagine what’s going on in your cat’s brain if he is the sole cat in the home.

cat looking itself in the mirror
Image Credit: LiumiH, Shutterstock

4. Stress

Cats can get stressed just like humans, and when it happens, they need an outlet to get rid of negative energy for stress relief. Most people cringe at this type of sound, but interestingly, the sound of your cat’s claws going against the glass is soothing to them. In short, your cat may be trying to comfort itself and feel safe by scratching the mirror.

5. Wanting to Play

Cats are funny at times, especially when the desire to play strikes. While some cats may be scared of their reflection, other cats may welcome it and feel as though they are playing with another companion. They may feel amused and engage in play, even though they have no idea that they are actually looking at themselves. If play is the reason for your cat scratching the mirror, you may see them bat, pounce, run, hide, and even jump at the mirror.

tabby cat lying on the floor in front of the mirror
Image Credit: Alexandra Morosanu, Shutterstock

6. Behavioral Problems

Some cats may display behavioral problems due to the lack of physical and mental stimulation. A bored and frustrated cat can easily act out and engage in destructive behavior, and one way to do that is to scratch the mirror.

If you suspect your cat has developed behavioral problems, it’s vital to take your cat to the vet to rule out any possible medical conditions that could be causing the behavior, such as hypothyroidism, dental disease, osteoarthritis, and even central nervous system issues.

If no medical issues are the cause, try spending more time with your cat, and ensure you provide your cat with toys, a cat tree house or condo, and other stimulants, like puzzles and games.

7. To Get Somewhere

Lastly, your cat may be trying to get out of the home because they don’t understand how mirrors work. Since windows also have glass, your cat may become confused and think they can paw and scratch at the glass as a way to get somewhere. They may also smell something that piques their interest; therefore, scratching at the “window” is a way to investigate the scent that they think is outside.

tabby cat sitting in front of the mirror
Image Credit: Alexandra Morosanu, Shutterstock


Is It Dangerous for My Cat to Scratch the Mirror?

Most of the time, there is no cause for concern. However, if the mirror is free-standing, meaning it’s propped up against a wall, there is a possibility the mirror could fall on your cat and hurt them. Your cat may also break the glass with their claws, which could cut them.

If the mirror is causing stress, anxiety, or fear, it’s wise to deter the behavior to keep your cat stress-free. If your cat is fearful of the mirror, you may consider moving it to a location where your cat cannot see it. Feline stress that goes untreated can lead to health issues, like urinary tract issues, skin problems from excessive grooming, and allergies, making it important to address the issue.


How to Stop Your Cat From Scratching the Mirror

If your cat has been given a clean bill of health, and you know a medical condition is not the cause, there are a few things you can do to deter the behavior.

Buy a Scratching Post

A scratching post will keep your kitty entertained while also sharpening the claws. Scratching posts are also excellent stress relievers for felines.

Provide Mental and Physical Stimulation

Ensure you provide your cat with plenty of toys, puzzles, and games. Spend the time to play with your cat with these items, as this will also help you bond with your cat.

Cat playing puzzlepaw
Image Credit: Agata Kowalczyk, Shutterstock

Move or Cover the Mirror

It’s a good idea to move the mirror to a different location your cat cannot access or simply cover it when you’re not using it.

Seek Help

If all else fails, seek professional help to stop the behavior.



As you can see, there are a few reasons why a cat may scratch a mirror. Most of the time, there is no cause for alarm, and it can be quite amusing to watch. However, medical issues can also be the cause, and if you suspect a medical problem, take your cat for an evaluation.

It’s also important to evaluate if the action is aggressive or simply playing. If your cat aggressively attacks the mirror, it’s best to stop the behavior to keep your cat safe.

Featured Image Credit: Steve Heap, Shutterstock

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