Scratching Post 101

Teaching your cat early to use a cat scratching post will save you a lot of headache and damaged furniture in the future. There are a few things to keep in mind when choosing a cat post:

1. It should be tall enough for you cat to stand on its hind feet and really stretch up high with the front legs. This is how many cats like to scratch. If a post is too short many cats may scratch at the base, but still use the sofa to stretch up. The flat types also allow a cat to stretch out along the ground to scratch.
2. Find one as stable as possible. The style that hangs on the door may swing or bang around when a cat tries to scratch and they won’t like it. Also posts that wobble when scratched are not attractive to a kitty.
3. Different cats like different surfaces. Generally carpet is the most popular post covering, but some cats like the cardboard scratching surfaces or the rope style. You may need to try a few to find your own cat’s preference.
4. It’s okay to have several posts. The more choices the cat has, the less likely he’ll choose your chairs.

Remember also that you will need to show the cat what is allowed for scratching and what is not. Encourage scratching on the right thing with praise and treats, and if they scratch an inappropriate item, use a firm “No.” and move them to their post. Rubbing a new post with catnip can help get them off to a good start too. The key to any type of training is consistency and patience. Be prepared to show the cat several times if needed, but try to make sure everyone in the household is doing the same and hang in there – your cat will get it eventually.

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