Cats scratch instinctively. Cat scratching posts give them somewhere to indulge this instinctive behavior and save your treasured furniture from ruin.
Cats scratch for several reasons.
Scratching dislodges the outer layer of their nails, and in doing so keeps the nails sharp.
The act of scratching provides the cat with exercise, and helps to keep their bodies supple and muscles firm.
Cats also scratch to mark their territory by using the scent glands in their paws.
Indoor only cats, that do not have the use of cat scratching posts, have little option but to claw at furniture and carpets.
A great selection of types of scratch posts are available, and that is a good thing because cats differ in the way they scratch.
If choosing an upright post, the most popular kind, be sure that the cat scratch post is tall enough for your cat, cats stretch up to exercise their muscles when they use these.
A shorter upright may work well for a kitten, but for a full grown cat a post of around 30 inches minimum is recommended.
The base of a scratching post needs to be wide and heavy enough to prevent it from tipping over when your kitty uses it.
Your cat will put quite a force against the post, and if it falls it is more than likely to frighten her, perhaps preventing her from ever using the scratcher again!
Various surfaces are used for covering cat scratching posts. Sisal rope or sisal fabric is very good, it is durable and provides a good resistance to claw against.
Jute is also used, as is carpet. Carpet may not be the best of surfaces as it does not stand a lot of laceration, and it may lead your cat to think it is OK to also scratch at your floor covering!
Cardboard cat scratchers are available in both upright versions, and horizontal 'cat scratch pads'.
Cardboard is not very durable and will need changing frequently, but cardboard cat scratchers are usually inexpensive and some cats prefer them.
Some cats may not get the point of a scratching post immediately.
It may appear to be a good place to claw at, but then you have shouted at her for clawing your precious things!
You may need to teach her that it is perfectly acceptable to use her post, that it will not upset you, that scratching the post is good Cat Behavior.
A sprinkling of catnip may just help tempt her to use the post.
Each time that you catch your cat about to scratch at your furniture, lift her up and place her in front of her scratching post.
If she uses it give her plenty of praise, tell her she is a good girl, it will encourage her to use it again.
Keep in mind punishing your cat for
scratching will just not work, it is pointless to shout at your cat if
she does not use the post
Where you place the post is an important factor in your quest to stop your cat scratching up your furniture.
It may be that your cat has a favorite chair leg, corner of the sofa, or door frame that they insist scraping their claws upon.
Perhaps your cat feels that particular place is an important one for her to place a message.
In which case placing a scratching post as close as possible to that spot could play a big part in persuading her to use it.
A cat scratching post may not be the most visually pleasing item of home décor - it is what it is. But putting it somewhere less obvious, in an alcove for example, will be of no benefit if the cat refuses to use it there.
The post may be out of the sight of your guests, but if it is not used your furniture is likely to be scratched.
If you have just the one cat, should you need to supply her with more than one post? You might.
Most cats that are successfully encouraged to scratch on their post instead of the furniture happily use just a single scratch post. Some felines though, need more than one.
The cat may use the post that is placed downstairs, but if upstairs may not trouble to come down if she feels the urge to use it.
The result, claw marks on bedroom doors or walls.
A second post suitably
positioned upstairs may be the answer.
What if you have many
cats, will you need a post for each of them? It is doubtful that you
will need one for each; you may perhaps need just two.
In many homes two, three even four felines will happily scratch on the same post. But if one of your cats is particularly dominant they may decide that one scratching post is theirs and theirs alone, other cats better not use their claws on it.
Cover over any furniture she claws at with netting, or baking foil, she will soon learn that it is not enjoyable to scratch your furniture, but lots of fun to scratch her post.
Do not even consider declawing as an answer to cat scratching problems. It is cruel and unnecessary.
Sometimes cats have little accidents, even cats that have had no problems at all for years with using the litter box. For whatever reason the accident happened, you have the job of taking care of that little puddle of cat urine.