With so many benefits to your home – not to mention the arms of a sofa, a scratching post is an essential purchase. Any cat owner who doesn’t have one soon learns why everyone else seems to have one or two around the house, but not all cats are attracted to them when they are first introduced to a home. There are certain things a cat owner can do to make sure their cat uses their scratching post, so let’s take a look at how, and save that furniture!
What To Look For In A Scratching Post
Before you try and teach your cat to use it, there are certain requirements that you should look before you purchase. This way, you will know that it is not through a lack of quality that your cat is neglecting the post.
Part of what can put a cat off is that the post is not sturdy enough. It can be scary for a feline when the unit tups over so a strong base is a must for the standalone designs.
Some materials are more attractive for a cat to dig her claws in than others. Look for a product that is made from sisal rope. Not only does this last a long time but it is less messy and easier to clean. Recycled cardboard or fabric are two of the popular alternatives but they are a lot messier.
You might not need a huge hang from the ceiling post or a cat play area that includes scratching posts (although these can be one of the better ways of getting a cat close to the scratching area). If your budget is restrictive, there are plenty of quality scratching posts that won’t break the bank.
So, Let’s Teach A Cat To Use A Cat Scratching Post
Use Catnip To Attract Her
Sometimes your cat will walk past the post without giving it a second glance. When you first bring it into the home, make sure she knows it is there. Using catnip you can encourage her to stay near the post. There are different approaches you can use. First of all, place it at the base and see if that works. If not, they try hanging it so they lean on the post, and discover how it feels in their claws.
Give A Reward
When she uses the post, have a favorite treat ready to reward the behavior. This is going to keep her coming back even when the treats dry up but you are left with a cat that enjoys the use of a scratching post and not your upholstery.
As with anyone, a cat will enjoy a stretch early in the day so place it near their bed. This will not only encourage them to use it regularly but it can help them to use it earlier than they might otherwise. If you try and keep it out of the way then your cat might not see it often so although there can be a little debris once it is well-loved, try not to place it in a basement or the likes.
Try Different Types
If your cat doesn’t use one type of scratching post don’t give up. Try another product with a different design. There are the commonly used vertical posts but also horizontal products, treehouse designs with scratching posts, and products that are fixed to the wall, making them studier, among others.
Play With The Post
Another method is by playing with your cat around the post. You don’t have to use it as part of the play at first but then the cat introduces it after a while. This can teach a feline that it is not something to be feared or ignored.
Buy A Sofa Scratching Post
If your cat doesn’t think that anything can better the feel of a sofa when it comes to scratching, there are products you can buy. A product that can be fixed so it stands against the sofa arm will provide a surface for her to dig her claws into that doesn’t harm the sofa but also allows them to have a good stretch in her favorite area.
Move The Post
Once she starts using the scratching post, leave it where it is as she will expect it to be there when she goes looking. However, when she is unsure, try moving it around to see if there is a spot in your home where she feels like having a good stretch.
Don’t Use A Second Hand Post
Sometimes you might inherit an old cat scratching post from someone else. The scent of another cat can be a deterrent but also a used post could pose health risks. This can be confusing to a cat and become stressful so if you notice behavioral issues or signs of anxiety in your cat, remove it.
Avoid Artificial Fibers
Anything that can create static is going to put a cat off for a long time. This shock can discourage a feline from going near it again even if the stretching felt good. They might last a long time but are not a good idea.
Buy More Than One
Having multiple scratching posts is a good idea if you have more than one cat, but even if you have a sole feline in your home, they can be beneficial. Sometimes, a cat wants to scratch in a particular area and won’t move to the place where their post is.
Make The Sofa Unappealing
This goes for any kind of area your cat likes to scratch that you don’t want her to. Some of the ways to protect furniture are to get your cat to find it unattractive such as taping tin foil to the area that she usually digs her claws into. Otherwise, the double-sided tape is another good solution, cats don’t like the feel of sticky material or foil.
Use Other Discouraging Tactics
When you notice your cat is digging her claws into the sofa or a chair, your natural reaction is one of deterring her from the area. This is a good way of keeping them away so clapping your hands loudly can startle her and move her along. It’s never a good idea to chase a cat away or raise your voice, instead pick your cat up and move her to the post.