Reasons Why Your Cat Needs a Scratching Post
Extensive studies have shown several reasons why cats like to scratch.
- The claws are conditioned, scratching helps remove the dead outer layer, also known as the sheath.
- To mark territory, leaving a visual mark and a scent on an area marking the cats territory. Cats have scent glands on their paws.
- It helps them to stretch out their entire body.
Obviously it is undesirable for your cat to scratch furniture and objects in your home, you should therefore provide scratching posts or other items which can be used by the cat around the home. Place them in two or three areas around the home which are most used by your cat, these areas could be sleeping areas and the play area.You can either buy a scratching post or try making your own. Making your own object to scratch maybe a good option if your cat is causing damage around the home. I would recommend that if possible, you remove the out of bounds item that the cat is scratching and try to replicate it with something similar which you are happy for the cat to scratch. When making your own scratching objects make sure the material you use can easily be shredded by the cat.
If you decide to make your own scratching post rather than buy one of the many available in pet stores, here’s a few tips to help.
- Use wood for the base and post which is chemical free and has not been treated or painted.
- Make sure the base is large enough and stable so the post will not tip over.
You can cover your post in several ways:
- Coil sisal rope around the post, start at the bottom and work your way up, make sure the coil is tight, secure with a screw at the top and then work your way back down. securing with another screw at the bottom.
- Use some old material such as denim from an old pair of jeans
- Off cuts of carpet.
- Buy some stems of catnip, rub over the post prior to covering, this will give a slight scent which the cat will pick up on and entice it to use the post.
- Dangle toys form the post which will encourage your cat towards the post.
Other ways to encourage your cat to use a post for scratching is to play is to play with dangling toys around the post.With the correct approach most cats can be taught to use a scratch post rather than your furniture. If you continue to have problems seek advice from your local vet.
Cats make wonderful pets, with the correct care destructive behavior can be dealt with quite easily, for older cats where the behavior may be more difficult to deal with, speak to an animal behaviourist or your local vet for more help, declawing should only be considered in extreme cases. A suitable cat scrather used in the correct way will be all that is needed in most cases. For more information about cats visit www.littlebigpet.co.uk/cats/