Scratching Posts - Cat Scratching Behavior
Despite their reputation for independence, cats can readily be trained to use a scratching post instead of the sofa, curtains, or rugs. Using surgery to prevent or correct a behavioral problem is expedient, but it is not the wisest, kindest, or best solution for your cat. Cats can be trained not to scratch furniture or other objects. Amazingly, many people do not even know that they should provide a scratching post for their cats. Because scratching is a deeply ingrained instinct in cats, if there is no appropriate spot, they will be forced to substitute furniture or other objects.
Use of a scratching post. A vertical scratching post should be at least 28-36" high to allow the cat to stretch to his full height. Many cats prefer natural soft wood, such as a cedar or redwood plank, or posts covered with sisal rope. Some cats like to scratch on a horizontal surface; inexpensive cardboard scratchers are popular with these cats. Rubbing the surface with catnip, or using a catnip spray, may enhance the attractiveness of the post. For the more adventurous types, there are cat trees in dozens of sizes and colors, with features such as hidey-holes, lounging platforms, hanging toys, and other creative amenities.
Another very popular necessity is the cat scratching pad called the "Turbo Scratcher." It is a toy and a scratching pad all in one. It provides hours of playful activity and provides exercise and mental stimulation and helps reduce furniture scratching. We recommend this because the cardboard center is reversible and removable and it's completely washable. It has a channel in which a ball rolls around without coming out, our cats bat this around for hours. You can sprinkle the cardboard scratching center surface with catnip for added stimulation and incitement. This cat scratcher is kitty tested, breeder approved!
The Turbo Scratcher provides hours of entertainment for cats and kittens. Add this item to your must have list for kitties. The white ball is in a channel that allows the cats and kittens to play for hours batting the ball from one direction to the next. The cardboard center is removable and reversible. The Turbo Scratcher is available at stores such as Wal-Mart, PetSmart and on Amazon.
A great website for cat supplies is a company called Cat Claws, they have some pretty fun cat scratchers. Our favorite is a scratcher that is in the shape of an Orca and sells for about $25.
There are many other options as well, such as clear, sticky strips to apply to the furniture, and other deterrents, as well as a multitude of climbing trees, mats, and other distractions that will protect your possessions. Adequate exercise, especially interactive play sessions, will also help channel kitty energy. For aggressive scratching, conscientious nail-trimming or soft plastic caps for the claws, Soft Paws, are a good beginning. Remember, never play or roughhouse with your kitten or cat using your bare hands. You don't want him/her to get the idea that biting or scratching human skin is okay. And while it's fun to watch the kitten attack your wiggling toes under a blanket, when he's 15 pounds with inch-long canine teeth, it's not nearly as amusing.