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What Is the Purpose of a Cat Scratching Post?

Purpose of a Cat Scratching Post

A cat scratching post provides a designated area for a cat to fulfill their instinctive need to scratch, saving your furniture from getting ruined. Scratching is important for cats because it helps them to trim their claws, stretch their muscles and mark their territory. It is also a form of self-soothing and can reduce stress.

There are many different types of cat scratching post available, from simple upright wooden posts covered in sisal rope to elaborate modular structures with platforms, beds, hiding places and dangling toys. Some are free-standing while others are designed to be fixed to a wall or floor.

Once you have decided on a type of post, make sure it is securely fastened to the ground or to the wall and at a height that is comfortable for your cat to reach. Some posts have a base that is covered in carpet or another material that is appealing to cats, which can be especially helpful for kittens. Then wrap the entire post in a heavy duty, natural-looking sisal rope. The simplest method is to start from the bottom and simply wind the rope up the post, sealing it with glue as you go. Be careful that the glue is non-toxic to pets. Alternatively, some people prefer to nail the rope in place. This does work but can be more time consuming and may not hold up as well over the long term.

What Is the Purpose of a Cat Scratching Post?

To encourage your cat to use the new scratching post, gently play with them near it or sprinkle a little loose-leaf catnip on the base and top of the post. Young kittens and some adult cats may not be interested in catnip but most will love it on the scratching post. Be careful not to carry your cat over to the post as they may dislike this and avoid it in future.

If your cat is still scratching other objects in the house, try to make those surfaces unattractive by covering them with foil or tape or using a product such as Sticky Paws that is specifically designed to deter scratching. You can also try gently squirting the cat with a plant sprayer or water gun to disrupt their behavior, but do not use a hose or any harsh chemicals. Spraying or scolding will usually only discourage your cat from using the scratching post and will probably cause them to sink their claws into other furniture instead.

Once your cat is regularly using the scratching post, slowly move it (an inch or so each day) to the location you want it permanently in the room. Continue to reward your cat with treats when they scratch on the post, as this will reinforce their behavior and help to discourage scratching other objects in the home. If you do need to deter scratching on other objects, try making them undesirable by covering them with tin foil, double-sided sticky tape or a product like Sticky Paws. Never scold your cat for scratching other objects, as this will only cause them to sink their claws into them more aggressively.

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