Why Do Cats Need a Scratching Post?

There goes Fluffy digging his claws into his favorite scratching post again. He visits that scratching post multiple times per day and you see that he finds joy in using it every time.

One day, you notice the scratching post is now worn out and you stop by the pet store after work to pick up a new one. As you wait in line to pay for the new scratching post, you ask yourself this:

Why do cats need scratching posts? What are the benefits for our feline friends and why do they love using them so much? Today, we will answer these questions and more in this Pussy Cat PSA about why cats should have a scratching post in their forever homes.

Why do cats like to scratch?

Answering this question will help you to understand why cats need scratching posts. Cats prefer scratching as a favorite activity for many reasons.

  • Scratching removes old layers of claws to make way for the healthier layers growing.
  • Your feline friend may get excited if you are coming home from work or you are about to play with him or her using a favorite toy.
  • Kitty may want to stretch and scratch after waking from a nap.
  • Let’s not forget that cats are territorial creatures by nature. Scratching marks their territory with the scent glands in their paws.

Scratching is a necessity for cats. It’s not a luxury.

These are the words of Jackson Galaxy. He is an American cat behaviorist and host of Animal Planet’s My Cat From Hell. In this video, Galaxy highlights the important fact that declawing is not the answer to get cats to stop from scratching your furniture.

Encouraging your cat to be confident in his or her ownership of a small territory in your home will make your feline friend much more satisfied. Galaxy suggests analyzing the market for the scratching post that fits your cat’s needs based on their favorite texture to scratch.

What are the different textures of a scratching post?

Now that you’ve watched Galaxy’s video, let’s talk scratching posts. There’s a wide variety of them on the market and it will take some experimentation to discover which one is best suited for your cat.

Again, take into account your cat’s favorite texture to scratch. However, the best material for a scratching post is sisal. It is a strong and durable material that does not snag a cat’s nails much like carpet based scratchers do.

Take a look at the suggestions below to help you choose the scratching post that will make your feline friend the most happy.

Cardboard. If kitty loves scratching cardboard, consider purchasing a scratching post made of that material. You can even make your own cat scratching post out of cardboard boxes in your home. Diaper boxes or even shipping boxes are a great base to help you create the perfect cardboard scratching post for your cat.

Wood. If Fluffy loves scratching your wood floor, highly consider purchasing a scrap wood based scratching post so he has an area to suit his scratching fancy rather than destroying your floors. This can also be an easy and fun DIY project if you have extra scrap wood in the garage.

Carpet or Upholstery. Your feline friend may prefer carpet or upholstery as a texture preference when scratching. If so, consider a carpet scratching post that is horizontal to the ground or an upholstery post close to the texture of what kitty likes to scratch already. You can even make your own carpet or upholstery scratching post by grabbing materials from your local hardware store.

What are the best features to have for a scratching post?

There are 4 key features that create the best scratching post for your cat. The 4 best features include:

  • It is a texture your cat loves to scratch.
  • There is a sturdy base to keep the post from wobbling as kitty enjoys scratching it.
  • It is tall and wide enough to accommodate your cat’s unique size.
  • The product is durable and long-lasting. You do not want to buy a scratching post 5 times per year.

Help kitty to have healthy claws

According to the Humane Society, it is highly suggested to clip your feline friend’s claws on a regular basis. Even as a cat engages in their favorite scratching activity, it does not trim their claws appropriately. Consider investing in a nail clipper especially for cats and trim his or her claws once a week or every couple weeks.

Taking this important step on a regular basis that is good for you and your cat will lessen the possibility of infection. If the claws are left untrimmed, they could puncture the cat’s paw pads, introduce bacteria into the puncture, and cause infection. Check your kitty friend often to be sure their claws and pads are healthy. If infection does occur, take your cat to the veterinarian right away to seek treatment and to receive guidance on proper claw trimming maintenance.

Properly discipline and reward your cat

As you analyze your cat’s texture preferences and introduce a new scratching post in your home, remember to follow a certain decorum when disciplining and rewarding your feline friend.

Disciplining can be done without yelling or scolding. Firmly tell your kitty that where he or she scratched whether the sofa or the bed is not acceptable. Lead your cat to the place where it is acceptable for him or her to scratch such as a scratching post or a cat tree if you have multiple feline friends living with you. Depending on how many cats you have and how big they are, you might want to go for a large cat tree instead. It’ll be natural to feel enraged if Fluffy scratches up the new couch set you just finished paying off this month, but screaming loudly will only make your kitty afraid of you. It’s ok to be angry but handle the situation in a positive manner.

According to Mikel Delgado, actively rewarding your cat helps it to learn right from wrong. You should ignore your cat when it does something you don’t like. Pick the reward that you want your car to associate with good behavior. It could be verbal praise with a loving pat, a cat treat, or a little dose of cat nip on their favorite toy.

If your cat is scratching its favorite post instead of the sofa or the floor, reward it. If the cat is nice to a newcomer in the house, you can reward it. If the cat is chewing an old favorite toy that he or she has not been chewing for a while, this nice behavior also calls for a reward. Any good behavior that is surprising and out of the ordinary means a reward for your kitty.

Conclusion

We hope you have learned why cats need to have scratching posts, the types of textures on scratching posts, and the different avenues for disciplining and rewarding your cat. Scratching is important for cats to exercise, mark their territory, and remove foreign materials from their nails. Figuring out the texture your cat likes to scratch comes by observing his or her daily activities.

If your cat scratches somewhere that is not allowed, discipline can be done firmly without being mean. Rewarding your cat is a crucial task for helping to learning where to scratch and where not to scratch.

All cats are unique, but the one thing they have in common is that they want to dominate a small territory and feel love in their forever home.

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