How To Train A Cat To Use A Cat Scratching Post
How To Train A Cat To Use A Cat Scratching Post
Cats need to spend time regularly scratching for the health of their claws.
The additional benefits of stretching while scratching are also important for their overall health. These are common, normal cat behaviours.
- Cats scratch for the following very good reasons:
- They like to maintain claw strength and health and remove old loose claw sheaths.
- To mark their home with a familiar scent from scent glands in their paws.
It helps to stretch the spine
Unfortunately, cats may turn to scratching valuable furniture such as sofa legs, walls, or curtains in the absence of a dedicated scratching post.
Thatâ€™s why a cat scratching tower is a great idea for any cat-loving home.
Reasons Why Your Cat Isnâ€™t Using Her Scratching Post
Sometimes cats wonâ€™t immediately take to a new scratching post, preferring instead to mutilate your furniture. So, when your cat is not using a scratching post there are some things you need to think about.
First of all, itâ€™s important to consider the placement of your cat scratching post especially if they appear reluctant to use it.
Cats like to be the centre of attention so donâ€™t place the cat tower in an out of the way corner...
... this is a common reason why cats wonâ€™t use a scratching post. Also avoid areas subject to heat extremes and draughty places.
Remember too that one of the reasons cats scratch is to put their own familiar scent around their home territory so they will want to mark those areas that they frequent.
Notice where they are already scratching and place the post there.
If you have a number of cats you may need to provide each cat with their own personal cat scratching pole.
Cats will want to mark a scratching pole with their own scent and they may avoid a pole that has the scent of another cat.
Popular materials for cat scratchers include sisal rope, carpet, and cardboard.
But it may surprise you to learn that cats can be fussy and some cats prefer one material over another so you may need to experiment.
Note too, whether you cat prefers scratching on horizontal or against vertical surfaces and try to replicate that with your cat scratcher.
You also need to make sure your cat scratching post is tall enough for your cat to get a good stretch. If it isnâ€™t they might not use it.
How Do I Get My Cat To Use The Scratching Post?
Start when your cat is a kitten.
Itâ€™s always easier to build good behaviours when theyâ€™re young rather than trying to change ingrained unwanted behaviours when theyâ€™re older.
It is critical to make sure that the cat scratching post is associated with fun and pleasure and so you need to be patient and gentle with your kittens at all times.
- Tone of voice is key when training cats (or dogs or children for that matter).
- Placing food treats near the post will encourage your kitten to become familiar with the scratching post.
- Do this each day and gradually place the treats closer and closer to the post and then start putting treats on the post platforms to encourage your kitten to explore each level of the scratching post.
- Spend lots of time playing with your kitten around the scratching post.
- Use dangling toys to entice your kitten to race up and down the different levels of the cat scratcher tower in an effort to catch the toy.
- Put catnip or other cat attracting scents on the scratching post. Opinion is divided on the efficacy of this technique but itâ€™s worth a try.
- Catnip (Nepeta cataria), also known as catmint, is a herb from the mint family and many cats will either try to eat it or roll in it but at least the cat will be gaining familiarity with the scratching post and associating the post with pleasurable sensations.
- Heather, lemongrass, and valerian are also natural cat attractors.
Remember, cat scratching is normal cat behaviour and it may take time to get your kitten used to using the scratching post.
So, you need to remain patient with your kitten as you explore different options.
Take The Wobble Out Of Your Cat Scratcher
Another reason your cat may not be using their scratching posts is because it simply isnâ€™t strong enough.
Cats like to put a lot of force into their scratching and if your scratching post is not strong or stable enough it will not give the required resistance.
Cats will not use an unstable cat scratching tree.
The post could even fall over and injure your cat or damage furniture. Choose a scratching post that has a heavy duty construction and a wide base.
You may also need to consider screwing the post to the floor or wall.
Itâ€™s comforting to know that your catâ€™s scratching behaviours are normal (usually) and there are some things you can try when your cat wonâ€™t use the new scratching post.
Avoid a cat-astrophic melt-down when your cat rips into your new sofa and try these tips before your patience wears too thinâ€”it may take time but persevere.
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Keep your cats away from your precious furniture, curtains and walls with a Somerzby cat scratching postâ€”approved by all the coolest cats in town.
Â See our range of cat scratching posts...
Toni Benton - Toni has a lot of experience with keeping pets and pet enclsoures, with her very cheeky British shorthair cat named Charlie and a rescue cat Rosie who is now nearly 17. Toni's pets also includes Dwarf Lop rabbits and Australorp cross Chickens.