Tip – 27 – Cat scratching – cat scratching posts
Although many humans don’t appreciate this behaviour, kittens and cats don’t scratch to make us angry, they NEED to scratch. Scratching is a natural hardwired behaviour in cats (just like breathing or purring) and they do it for a several of reasons including:
- Removing the outer layer of their nails to keep them sharp.
- To maintain muscle tone.
- To mark their presence.
Enter the scratching post – This toy/ tool is one of the most important things to purchase (or make) for your cat. They can be purchased in any pet store. A good scratching post is very sturdy and is usually made with a carpeting or rope-like material that cats love to dig their nails into. Sturdiness is an important quality since the cat often presses its bodyweight onto the post to get a good scratch. If the cat feels insecure or unsteady on the cat scratching post, it simply won’t use it. Location is another important quality. If you can’t close a door to keep your cat from scratching say, the couch, then put a good scratching post near the couch and chances are the cat will use it instead. Remember, cats need to scratch, so it’s up to you to make them scratch where you want. Praise your cat while it uses the post and the chances increase that it will continue to choose it over the sofa.
Scratching post tips that work:
*Spend an extra few bucks and get several good scratching posts.
*Place them strategically in areas where you don’t want the cat to scratch expensive items like sofas and furniture legs.
*Place them at first in a prominent area of the room for easy access, then slowly and gradually move it where you want.
*If your cat responds to cat nip rub catnip on the post.
*Get at least 1 multi-level platform cat scratching tree. Cats are huge fans of ‘vertical space’. They LOVE to climb, scratch, and take a snooze on these.
In some cases a cat may still scratch in inappropriate places. Sprays like bitter apple, actual orange peels and double sided tape are good deterrents. A squirt from a water bottle while the cat doesn’t see you is another classic deterrent, so is placing tin cans or other noisy items in key areas that the cat should avoid.