Scratching posts are essential items for cats. They provide a dedicated place for your cat to scratch and ensure that your walls and soft furnishings avoid unnecessary damage.
The reasons cats scratch are:
- for claw maintenance – to shed the outer sheath of the claw and sharpen the tips of the claws
- to exercise the muscles and maintain the system that allows claw extension and withdrawal, used in hunting and climbing
- for territorial marking – scratching leaves a visual marker in the form of scratch lines and a chemical marker as pheromones are released from the plantar pad glands
There are many different types of scratching posts available suitable for all budgets. Some may come with hiding places, platforms at different heights, and dangling toys.
Things to look out for when shopping for a post:
- You will want to make sure the post is rigid and stable. We would recommend attaching it to the wall with a wall bracket for a taller modular style post for extra safety
- The post will need to include enough height to ensure your cat can fully stretch to provide the scratch room that they require
- Many cat scratching posts are covered in a variety of carpeting. However, it’s important to choose a post with a covering different from your home’s material, as you wouldn’t want to send mixed messages that scratching one type of carpet is ok, however not scratching other areas of your house with the same material is not!
- For claw maintenance, the option of having horizontal and vertical surfaces for scratching is preferred
- The number of scratching facilities in your home very much depends on the number of cats you have in your house. If you have several cats living in a home, then you should avoid cats having to share scratching posts, which will help prevent competition and anxiety.
Where to place your post:
Ideally, you will want to place the post near your cats’ bed so that they can scratch first thing in the morning. A location near a window or radiator in a room that your cat prefers would be a great place to start.
If your cat loves to hang out with you, you could put posts with beds in areas close to where you spend most of your time. Cats want their scratches to be visible to humans, and for other household pets to see and smell.
Getting your cat used to the post:
When you first introduce the post to your cat, they may avoid it. If they do, you can encourage them to engage with the post by playing a game with your cat around it. Alternatively, you could place some dry food on different levels of the platform to encourage your cat to jump up.
We hope that your cat enjoys its new safe space.