Whether you like it or not, cats love to scratch on things that are appealing to them – carpets, upholstery, and even our most valued furniture pieces. Although it’s a behaviour we all have to live with, we can still do something about it to prevent any potential destruction. How? A cat scratching post will do the trick.
What is a cat scratching post?
As defined on Wikipedia, “A cat scratching post is a wooden post covered in rough material that cat owners provide so their pets have an acceptable place to scratch.”
At first, it may appear like a futile accessory, but in the long run, you will realize how important it is as a feline parent. Not only will it help you distract your cat from her natural tendencies; it’ll also improve her overall health.
But what if your feline pal does not seem to like using it? Here are some ways to train her.
1. Train her while she’s still young.
While she is still a kitten, start training her to use the scratching post. More often than not, scratching behaviour begins at the time she is being weaned. Therefore, the earlier you introduce the post to her, the better.
If she’s already older, training might take time, especially if she has never encountered a scratching post before. Just be firm and gentle. She’ll soon be accustomed to it. Patience is the key.
Every cat has his or her own preferences, so you might need to do some experiments to figure out which is which. But when choosing, always remember that if you opt for a vertical post, it has to be tall and solid. Also, it has to be covered with carpet or sisal, as she likes to bury her claws on surfaces that are rough and solid.
However, if getting something tall makes you feel worried about the safety of your pet, you can always use sisal mats or inexpensive cardboard scratching boxes. They often come with tiny bags of catnip to make them more enticing to your cat’s eyes.
You can also put it in the middle of the living room. It’ll easily attract your cat because most felines enjoy being the center of attention.
These days, you can see a wide variety of cat scratching posts sold in pet stores and online. But don’t be tempted with offers that promise you the cheapest price and above excellent quality. Most of the time, you get what you paid for. Perhaps it would be wise to examine the features of the item itself. It should help you decide, which one makes the “purrfect” choice.
Okay, this one is very important. Never position a cat scratching post beside the litter box. Mind you, it will not be used. You don’t want to spend money over something that isn’t useful, right?
Considering that cats usually scratch every after a nap, put the post in places where she loves to nap. If possible, put several posts all over the house. That way, she’ll have something to claw when she feels the need to.
In addition, you might want to place it next to your furniture. These fixtures are often irresistible to cats.
4. Do not forget her rewards.
To make the scratching post more interesting, you can rub or sprinkle catnip all over. If unavailable, hang a toy around for her to grab. When she uses it, don’t forget her treats. And then, tell her she did really well for using that.
If you see her scratching your furniture pieces again, do not shout at her. Instead, speak with her like a kid and let her know it is not allowed. Be careful though because she’ll understand your tone of voice. She’ll know if you are mad or if you are sincere with what you are saying.
Some people use water spray to discipline their cats, but as much as possible, try calling their attention by using voice. In most cases, cats would feel bad after being sprayed with water.
Scratching is completely normal for cats because it is a part of their nature. They scratch to exercise, to mark their territory, or to sharpen those old claws. That being said, it is just right not to scold them for scratching. Instead, train them to use a cat scratching post. I know it’ll be difficult at first, but I am sure you can do it.
Bonus. If your cat loves to scratch your furniture pieces more than anything else at home, do not be upset. Rather, grab a copy of the eBook below. It should teach you ways to save your furniture from scratches, and likewise save you from the costs of paying for repairing or buying new fixtures.