Scratchers for cats are a fundamental item, which those who have a kitten, or more than one, have to acquire at home . Much more important still, if it is cats that live completely indoors.
In this section I will explain everything you need to know about scratching posts for cats, why our pets need them and how to choose the best scratching post for your kitty cat.
First of all, DO NOT disappoint him
Please don’t hurt him… Take this as advice. Declawing is not an acceptable option for the beautiful and loving animal that depends on you . The reasons for avoiding declawing are compelling, both for you and your cat.
What is declawing?
Declawing or onychectomy is a serious surgery in which the bones of a cat’s feet and claws are amputated. Despite its name, declawing is not just the removal of a cat’s claws. If the same procedure were performed on a human, his finger would be amputated by the last phalanx.
Remember: knowledge is power
In order to prevent your cat from scratching everything within reach, you will have to know a few things about the subject. By understanding the situation, you have half the job done . You and your cat are about to learn some valuable lessons.
Scratching is a natural behavior in cats
This is not exactly a revelation to anyone, since probably all cat owners have evidence of it everywhere: frayed corners of their sofa, torn curtains, wall corners with marks …
Although your kitty’s natural propensity may not be great news, it is a fact that you will need to consider if you want to make any progress . It is the first step to prevent your cat from scratching in places that it should not scratch. Cats need scratching posts in every area of the house.
You can’t stop your cat from scratching and scratching
What you can do is avoid scratching the items that you value and want to keep in good condition.
Heed Mark Twain’s advice, which applies universally: never try to teach a pig to sing; it will frustrate you and annoy the pig. Translate this bit of wisdom to your dealings with cats, you will avoid a great deal of futility and frustration.
You can’t make a cat do something it doesn’t want to do. Understand that. And getting him to stop doing something he likes is almost as difficult. Therefore, you should think smartly and try to channel their desires towards a cat scratcher .
About punishment, don’t do it!
Cats don’t understand physical punishment. Besides hitting your cat is bad, punishment just doesn’t work and is likely to make the situation worse. Although your kitty is smart about many things, she will not understand that you are punishing her for scratching the couch. He will only calculate that sometimes he is mistreated because yes. This can make him unsafe and stimulate him to scratch more, or to develop other undesirable behavior problems.
Punishment will break the trust and security, which are the foundation of the relationship between you and your cat , and it will be very difficult for you to regain that trust.
Cats have an excellent ability to remember events and hold a grudge for a long time.
Why do cats scratch?
More to the point, why are you scratching your prized possessions? Understanding your cat’s need to scratch is more than an act of charity on your part. It is the key to channeling your kitten’s efforts into more acceptable areas, such as cat scratchers.
These are the main reasons why cats scratch things:
To mark territory
Scratching is a territorial instinct by which cats make their mark and establish their territory. Through scratching, cats mark their domains with more than just visible signs of claw marks. Cats’ paws also have scent glands, which leave their own special message on their territory . That is why they mark the most visible parts of your house. It’s your kitty’s way of adding her own personal touch to “and her” home. It is your version of interior decoration.
To clean up
Cats have a well-known reputation for being picky about their personal cleanliness habits. They spend much of their time licking to wash themselves. It is not so easy to associate his scratching urges with grooming, but he has something of that. Scratching rough surfaces periodically removes the outer shell of a cat’s claws. This process releases the newest, healthiest nail underneath . They do not scratch to sharpen their nails but to get rid of the most damaged layers.
To do exercise
Scratching everything and everyone also helps to keep your cat in good shape. The act of scratching stretches, mobilizes and works your cat’s front muscles , a cross between a feline gym workout and gatiyoga.
Out of excitement or frustration
When an indoor cat sees something exciting outside, like another cat, a mouse, or a bird, we will often see scratching behavior. Your cat may suddenly run from room to room, meow and stop, and vigorously scratch the first thing it finds. He does it to expend the energy he accumulates by getting excited. It is a great way to relieve stress .
For pure pleasure
Hears! Scratching and scratching feels so good! What a treat! Scratching gives them pleasure. Therefore, give up the idea of reforming your cat’s desire to scratch. Go back to the channeling, so that it scratches where you want. You will both be happier
How to prevent cats from scratching furniture
But why is my furniture scratched? Now we know why cats scratch, but why does it have to be furniture? In the wild, cats often use trees and logs for scratching. They are solid, robust, and their claws leave nice, visible marks on them. Your sofa, dining table and other furniture can have the same “nice and interesting properties” “meow.”
The main key to getting your cats to stop scratching your furniture is to provide them with a better object to scratch. A scratching post for cats.
If your kitty is initially reluctant to give up her old scratching spots, there are means you can use to discourage her . Covering the area with aluminum foil or double-sided tape is a major deterrent. These surfaces have a texture that is unpleasant to scratch.
Remember, too, that your kitten has marked his favorite places with his claws and his scent. You may need to remove its scent from the areas you want to keep it away from. Enzyme cleaners for pet odors work very well for this.
Cats have an aversion to citrus smells. Use lemon and orange scented sprays, to make his old scratching sites unappealing to him.
If your kitty still persists in scratching the furniture, try to dissuade him by wetting him with a little water, or blowing a loud whistle while scratching. The idea is to establish an aversion to the place that you don’t want them to scratch.
“It was like this when I arrived”
Redirect your scratching cravings
As you can see, cats scratch because it is a natural and ingrained behavior, and they scratch furniture because it is conducive to a good scratch. Understanding this can help you create better scratching options, and a calmer home for you and your feline friend.
Provide your cat with a suitable alternative to your furniture, begins with choosing the appropriate cat scratchers , which have the properties that cats love.
Provide your cat with an appropriate scratching post
Provide your kitten with a cat scratcher that meets his expectations . Because your cat brings you so much joy, you decide to buy her the softest, most beautiful and luxurious scratching post you can find. You take him home, and your feline friend looks at you with his eyes and walks away.
This activates your mothering mechanism, and you decide to show her how to use the scratching post, grabbing her front legs and making scratching motions on the new invention. Your cat, of course, struggles until she gets rid of you and then treats you with utter disdain for the rest of the day.
Never make the mistake of trying to teach him how to scratch something. You’re only going to offend him. Your kitty knows exactly how to do it. He only reserves the right to scratch whenever and wherever he wants.
Suitable cat scratchers
Remember; an appropriate cat scratcher. Keep in mind that your idea of desirable and that of your kitten may not coincide (it is likely). Cats like rough surfaces that they can shred into pieces . The most attractive scratching post for your cat is often a tree stump, and this is a bit difficult to find in an apartment.
Whatever scratching post you choose, it must be large enough, and most importantly, it must be safe. If it wobbles when scratched, or falls just once, the kitten will not return. It has to have a good base, with a considerable weight, or be anchored in some way.
Sisal scratching posts are ideal for releasing your kitty’s primary impulses. This is a material that you can shred, over and over, with great satisfaction. I mean Sisal textile material, not Sisal rope.
Sisal material has the perfect texture and grain for a cat to crush, and that’s what they want to do . Studies have shown that most cats prefer to mark their territory with vertical crush marks; Sisal textile provides the perfect surface for this behavior. Make sure not to throw it away when it is completely gutted, as your kitty will be very satisfied with his work, and will not appreciate your neatness.
A good scratching post should be tall enough for your kitten to fully stretch its body, usually at least 28 inches ( 70 cm ) tall, and it should be very stable. An excellent example of an ideal scratching post is the Ultimate Sisal Scratching Post.
How to make my cat use the scratching post
Training your cat to use the cat scratcher is a necessary and important step when it comes to preventing it from scratching other things, such as your furniture or the walls.
First of all, it is important to choose the best scratching post for cats . Getting your cat to use the scratching post is much easier if you have gone to the trouble to choose one with which it has a certain natural affinity. Once you have the right scratching post, use the following tips to train your cat to use it and leave your furniture alone.
Where to place the scraper
Find the best place to put your cat’s scratching post . A fundamental step in ensuring that your cat uses his new scratching post is to make sure that you choose the best area of the house to place it. Although we have our own preferences for where we want the cat scratcher, your clever feline friend has totally different plans in mind.
Remember that an important part of scratches is the cat’s desire to mark its territory, so a cat scratcher should be in an area that you often use, not hidden in a corner under or behind furniture. After a while, you can move the scraper to a slightly more remote area, but this should be done gradually.
Start by placing it in the place where your cat likes to scratch, on the sofa, on the table, on the wall, where your kitten has chosen his territory, you may need more than one scratcher to have his favorite places covered. Safety is an important factor in making the scratching post attractive to your cat. If it falls or shakes, you will not use it, it must be hooked to the ground or have a wide and heavy base to keep it stable.
It is a good idea to place the scratching post where your cat sleeps . Cats like to scratch when they wake up, especially in the morning and in the middle of the night. If space allows it, a scratching post in every room in the house is a pleasure and an ideal world for your cat. If not, the most important place is the area of the house where you and your cat spend most of the time.
Encourage your kitty to use the scratcher with clever seductions. You can help your cat learn that her new scratch is amazing. Play with him around and on the scratcher . A great way to accomplish this is with a magic wand or fishing pole type cat toy. With this, you can get your cat to raise its paws and place its claws on the scratching post, while it walks around it and plays in search of the toy.
You can also place your cat’s favorite toy on top of the scratching post, to interest him in climbing to get it. In no time you will realize that you love to scratch the scratcher.
Another point of view
Try laying a cat scratcher on its side or upside down. Cats are very curious but they have strange thoughts, perhaps for some reason, they are more attracted to the scratching post, if it is not in its original position.
The more cats you have, the more scratchers you need. Encourage all your cats to play with each other around the scratching post, throwing toys or balls. Make the scratcher part of the game.
Treats or Catnip
Some cats love treats, so be sure to keep some in your pocket while you introduce the new scratcher. For starters, you can reward your cat for sniffing or investigating the scratching post. As he becomes familiar, treat him to when he places his paws on him, and so on little by little until he accomplishes his mission.You can also try a Feliway spray that makes cats feel good and relaxed.
Sprinkle some catnip on the top and bottom of the scratcher and you will see his interest increase exponentially. You will remember it and use it to the fullest in future occasions.
DO NOT “teach” him to scratch
One thing that never works when we want a cat to use its scratching post; is to take its legs and place them on the scraper. Cats are famous for having their own cat mind and they like ideas to come from them.
It starts when they are young
If you start with a kitten, consider yourself lucky. It is much easier to initiate good habit patterns than to correct undesirable ones.
From the beginning, show your kitten the proper place to scratch . Use the methods already described, especially playing around the scratcher to get their interest. Take advantage of your kitten’s desire to play and fill the scratcher with toys.
If your kitty starts to scratch an inappropriate object, immediately place it in front of her scratching post and start petting it.
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