If you are a long time cat owner, you know that one of the most grating sounds is that of your cat scratching your furniture. It is similar to nails on a chalkboard, only the board is your brand new sofa! There are a couple of solutions to this problem. You can put aluminum foil on the edges of your furniture because cats don’t like to scratch foil. You can even spray the surface of your couch with orange scented sprays because cats don’t like the smell. But the best thing to do is buy scratching posts to scatter throughout your home.
Why Are They Needed?
A cat scratching post is a pole that stands at about two feet tall or more. It can also lay flat against the ground. It is usually covered with a rough fabric like sisal, rope, or just cheap industrial grade carpet.
It’s important to know that cat scratching is natural and instinctive. This is characteristic of just about every cat in the world. They dig their nails into tight fabric surfaces frequently so that they can 1) sharpen their nails, and 2) stretch their backs.
Nail sharpening is normal part of a cat’s grooming process. A cat’s main defense mechanism is his claws, so he has to keep them well-maintained. In some cases your cat will scratch at these posts to get rid of an old nail hull that has been annoying him. Your cat also needs something to hook his claws into so that he can pull his entire body back into a full body stretch. Think of the relief you feel when you stretch your hands out into the air after a long, relaxing sleep.
Sadly, some people think that the best solution to a cat scratching problem is to get the cat declawed . Declawing a cat is extremely inhumane for a variety of reasons. For one, a cat has no way to defend himself if he is ever presented with an enemy. When you take away a cat’s claws, you are taking away her pride and sense of security.
The obvious benefit to buying a scratch post is that it turns the cat’s attention away from your furniture. Too many people get rid of their cats because of a simple scratching problem, when all they have to do is buy one of these inexpensive apparatuses. As most cat behaviorists will tell you, there are no bad cats, only bad or uninformed owners!
The other main benefit is for your cats. Cats can become very anxious when they constantly hear you scold them for scratching up the furniture. If you give them access to a dedicated scratching area where they can feel confident grooming themselves, they will be happy. When your cat is happy, you will be more happy. A cat that scratches and stretches often is usually more relaxed and active as well.
In addition to the obvious cat scratching benefits, a cat will use a scratching post to mark her territory. If you have a very territorial cat, you could have a big problem with marking. Listen friend, better the scratch post than your couch. It is extremely difficult to get a marking scent off of furniture.
There aren’t many disadvantages to having these posts in your home when you own cats. The only big one is that you have to make room for this contraption in your home. Many people don’t like the look of these posts, scattered around the house.
Another possible downside of buying a post comes into play when the cat simply doesn’t want to use the post for her scratching needs. In this case, try sprinkling catnip on the post before you give up on it. Sometimes it takes a few weeks or months for the cats in your home to get used to a scratch post.
Types of Scratching Posts
There are a wide variety of cat poles and posts to choose from. Some newer posts will even go well with your home decor.
The style you choose will depend on your cat. If you notice that your cat likes to scratch at the carpet, buy him a floor scratcher. These lay flat on the ground and are made of either sisal or cardboard. If your cat scratches by getting up on his hind legs and grabbing onto the high surfaces of your furniture, then a tall vertical pole will be best.
Some cat posts double as beds. Others come with dangling toys to amuse your cat. If you want give your cat a real treat, try a climber scratching post. Some of these are as tall as seven feet and can be easily attached to a door.
Cardboard, sisal, and carpet all make good surfaces for scratching, but cats tend to prefer sisal posts. It really allows them to hook on and takes a long time to wear out. Cat posts vary in price from $10 to $160 depending on the style and size.
Ideal Placement in Your Home
There are ideal spots to place scratching posts in your home. If your cat’s litter box is in an isolated room, place a small post in that room so that he can scratch and clean his paws when he finishes using the bathroom. Put posts next to the spots where your cat previously scratched so that he will know that this is the new alternative.
If you don’t want the scratching post to be conspicuous, you can hide it in a corner of your house, but you will need to be proactive about grabbing your cat as soon as he looks like he’s about to start scratching and stretching. Place him near the post and scratch at the post yourself to get him interested.
Your cat doesn’t ask for much: food, water, and litter box . Add a scratching pole or post to the mix if you want to keep your cat happy and relaxed. Additionally, you’ll save your furniture and your nerves.