Scratching posts are a great way to harness your cat’s natural desire to scratch on things in a way that is constructive rather than destructive. Read on for more details about why cats love to scratch and how to set up cat-approved scratch zones in your home.
Why do cats scratch?
Cats scratch on things for many reasons: to help slough off the outer layers of their claws, relieve stress, mark territory (both visually and through scent glands located on their paws), as well as to stretch and flex their bodies, feet and claws. Scratching is an essential activity for a happy, healthy house cat.
Identify your cat’s scratch style
Pay attention to your cat’s behavior when choosing a scratching post. Does your cat prefer to stretch up to scratch or is your cat a horizontal scratcher? There are options for both. Cat-favored scratching posts have a rough exterior; for example, sisal rope rather than carpet.
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Placement is everything
The best spot for a scratching post is where your cat will find it to be most naturally useful. Think about areas of your house where your cat already likes to scratch. Is there a couch, chair or wall that your cat seems to gravitate toward? Placing scratching posts in these locales will deter your cat from choosing to scratch your belongings.
Another thing to think about are the rooms that your cat spends the most time in. Is there a spot where your cat likes to nap? This would be an ideal location to include a scratching surface. Picture your cat waking up from a long, luxurious nap and taking a good stretch/scratch against a pad or post when he wakes.
Some cats may also enjoy scratching a surface near where they feed. There’s nothing like a good stretch after feasting on the catch of the day. High traffic areas in your home can also benefit from scratching surfaces. Some cats get excited when their owners return home after a long day and like to show off their scratching skills. If this sounds like your cat, placing a scratching post near the entrance of your home may come in handy.
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