Cat Scratching Post:

A great tool to prevent your kitty
from scratching your furniture!

Cat Scratching a Post

Cats love scratching. Indoor cats in particular like scratching furniture and carpets. A cat scratching post is indeed a great alternative for them, and a furniture saver for you.



Believe it or not, cats don't scratch your furniture to spite you. Scratching allows them to get rid of their claws' old layers. For cats, scratching is something very natural like climbing or hunting. And, more important, it feels good. So again, a cat scratching post is perfect for them.

Through scratching, cats also stretch their muscles and mark their territories.

Cats might also use scratching to get attention. One of my cats, for example, used to scratch our couch to ask for food.

So… if you share your life with a cat, you already know that cats will scratch your furniture, doors, carpets, rugs, and even drapes. Now, to prevent this from happening you can train your cat to use a scratching post instead.

Contrary to popular belief, cats can be trained. Of course, it might take longer than training a puppy or a dog but with some patience, love and cat treats, it can be done.

Dos and Don’ts of cat scratching post training

DOs

Encourage your kitty to use the cat scratching post by making it easier and pleasant for her to prefer the post over your furniture. Here are some suggestions:

Do place the scratching post near kitty’s most favored spots and furniture. For example: place the scratching post next to the sofa, chest, chair or cabinet kitty loves to scratch. Remember: location, location, location can make all the difference.

Do provide your cat with a scratching post covered in a material she likes. For instance, if she prefers to scratch soft surfaces get her a scratching post with a carpeted surface. If she favors rougher surfaces, provide her with a sisal rope scratching post. This option will make the transition much easier.

However, you can also try the reverse: if your cat loves to scratch carpets, then provide him with a sisal rope post. This way your cat will learn to use a different type of material and hopefully will stop scratching your carpets. Try whatever approach works best for you.

Do get a combination of scratching post with cat furniture. Many cat trees and kitty towers come with scratching posts built-in. This will give your cat extra play and sleep areas, and will provide your cat with an enticing alternative to your furniture.

Do find a post that matches your kitty’s scratching style. For instance, some cats love to scratch horizontal surfaces such as rugs and carpets while others prefer upright surfaces such as sofas and drapes. What does your kitty like? You can find horizontal, vertical and even slanted scratching boards and posts. See below for more information.

Do make it a pleasant experience: Play with kitty to entice her to use the scratching pole. Place catnip on her post so that she will associate pleasure with the post. Another idea is to place a post near her sleeping and feeding areas. Cats love scratching right after eating and just after waking up from a catnap.

DON’Ts

Don’t force kitty to use the scratching post. Remember that one important key to successfully train your cat is to make the whole experience as pleasant as possible. Do try to encourage him or her using the techniques explained above but don’t force your cat to use the post.

Don’t use physical punishment – Never hit your cat or otherwise use physical force to train your cat. It is not only inhumane, but also your cat most likely will not understand why you are punishing him, especially if you punish him after the act.

Don’t de-claw your cat- De-clawing can be a very painful experience for your cat as it involves surgery. In this procedure, the bone of the cat’s front toes is removed. Many people- including vets and myself- consider this procedure inhumane.

Additional Tips


36 Inch Red Cedar Cat Scratching Post and Nest (as seen on Martha Stewart Show)

  • Be patient and gentle with your cat, especially if she is an older cat. It might take a little extra determination on your part to teach a new trick to an adult cat. Remember, change is difficult for everyone.

  • As previously mentioned, avoid forcing your cat to use the scratch post. Instead, try placing your cat (gently) in front of the cat scratching post whenever your cat scratches your furniture, sofa, doors or rugs and place her claws in the post's carpeted surface.

  • Another idea is to place treats on top of and/or at the base of the scratching post.

  • You can also attach cat toys to the cat scratch post to make it even more appealing. By the way, many scratching posts on the market already come with dangling toys. Scratching and playing... what a great combination!

  • Another good idea is to use cat treats and catnip to reward kitty after every time he uses the cat scratching post. This measure will reinforce the desired behavior. Also, shower you cat with affection every time he uses the scratching pole. Love and appreciation are the best rewards.

  • Try to have several scratching posts (if you can) and place them in your kitty’s favorite areas and/or in different rooms of the house.

  • Cover the furniture! This measure will protect your furniture and it will deter your cat from scratching it. Hopefully, this will be only a temporary solution while your kitty gets used to the wonderful scratching posts!

  • Clip your cat's nail on a regular basis.

This article about cat scratching has several tips to help you stop your cat from scratching.

Different types of cat scratching posts


Imperial Cat Big Cat Scratch n Shape
I’m not too handy at building things, but if you’re good at it you can make your own scratching post. You can use rope or carpet to cover the post. The platform should be heavy enough to prevent the scratch post from leaning and falling over.

Also, make sure that the surface doesn’t have any sharp, protruding objects or nails, which could easily hurt your cat.

If you prefer to buy, you can find different types of cat cat scratching posts, boards and even cat scratching furniture. Practically every online store carries cat scratchers, so you have a wide selection to choose from.

Here are some ideas to help you get started:

Sisal rope scratching posts: This is a great idea for cats that like scratching rough surfaces. However, the opposite is also effective. You can give this type of post to cats that like scratching softer surfaces like drapes, rugs and carpets. This option will train them to favor rope instead of carpet.

Carpeted scratching posts: These types of scratching posts are covered with carpet instead of rope. If your cat enjoys scratching your carpets and rugs the sisal scratching post might be a better choice. If your cat doesn’t care about your carpets, this is good alternative. However, scratch posts covered with carpet are less durable than sisal-covered posts.


Style 2 Red Cedar Cat Scratcher with Mouse (as seen on Martha Stewart Show)
Scratching boards: These are usually designed to be mounted on the wall. You can also place them on the floor.

Scratching furniture: As I mentioned above, you can find scratching posts that come with play and sleep areas. You can also find cat trees, cat condos, and cat playgrounds that come with scratching surfaces.

Fun shapes: In addition to the vertical scratching posts, you can also find triangular and slanted scratching posts. These pieces provide great entertainment for your kitty.

Cat scratch posts made out of wood: These pieces are usually custom-made. Some of these scratching posts look like tree stumps.

More helpful tips

  • Again, many scratching posts come with toys attached. If your scratching post doesn't come with toys you cat make or buy a few inexpensive toys and add them to your kitty's scratching post. You could even change the toys from time to time to make it more fun. These little extras make the scratching post more appealing to your cat.

  • Cat scratching posts and boards also come in different sizes. Remember that cats enjoy stretching while scratching their nails, so the right cat scratching post should provide enough height for your cat to both stretch and scratch.

  • The piece you choose should also have a strong base or platform to hold your cat and avoid the post from leaning over.

Cat Scratchers



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