Most people think that cats scratch sofas because it’s a convenient location to rip up. However,┬áDr. Miaomiao Wang of the California Environmental Protect Agency said that┬áchemicals found in upholstery and carpeting may harm feline thyroids.

The chemicals are called per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). They were in common use until about 2000 in furniture, floor coverings and clothing because of their ability to repel water and oil.

“Cats can be good sentinels to examine body burdens of emerging pollutants, including PFAS,” Wang explained.

So the next time your cat rips up your sofa, it could be telling you that it contains harmful chemicals. Or your cat may just be a pain in the neck. Either way, your cat is telling you something regardless of what you want.

To read more about how household chemicals could affect you and your cat, click here.