Do you want to train kitty not to scratch your expensive furniture? If yes, you need to train him to use the scratching post. But not just any one will do. It needs to be right for your cat. And you may need more than one.
Before you make your selection, you need to know why cats scratch furniture. There are 3 main reasons:
- Mark their territory
- Maintain their claws
- Stretch and tone their muscles
If your cat scratches your sofa to mark his territory, he probably also scratches some other pieces of furniture – like your wardrobe, or dining room table. In this case, you’ll need more than one scratching post. Before you faint at the thought of buying five $100 scratching posts, you need to know that buying the most expensive posts from your local pet shop is not the best idea. More than one cat owner has complained that his cat left the expensive scratching post alone, instead preferring to scratch the cardboard box it came in.
Maybe kitty scratched your carpet or the back of your dining room chair to maintain his claws. His claws are a lot more complex than our finger nails, and he can’t clip his claws, can he? This is one reason why many cat owners buy scratching posts made from sisal. Kitty can really dig his claws into the sisal, while it is tough and relatively long-lasting. But if you look at it, carpet is also quite tough, and you can buy small pieces cheap from Walmart or get left-over pieces for free from your local carpet shop. The thick cardboard used for packing cases also has the same properties. You can get these for free from your neighborhood shops.
Don’t forget that cats also scratch furniture to stretch and tone their muscles. You’ll understand when you see how they scratch your wardrobe – they reach up, dig their claws in, then drag them down. That means whatever you buy must be firm and stable, and high enough for kitty to scratch as usual. Look at the claw marks on your furniture now. If they are 3 feet up, then the scratching post must be at least 3 feet high. Not only that – when kitty leans his weight against it, it must not shake or topple over.
Here are some tips to make your own cheap scratching posts:
- Planks, crates and pieces from old furniture
- Logs and thick tree branches, especially with the bark still on them
- Thick cardboard, like the type used to make packing cases
If you’re looking for a more permanent way to get your cat to stop spraying — which I recommend most of my blog readers to do — give Cat Spray Stop a try. Created by Susan Westinghouse, a vet and cat specialist, Cat Spray Stop is an all-encompassing guide designed to help you stop cat spraying in your home in as little as 30 days using a unique method called the TTS method.
I have tried it with great results, and also published a review of Cat Spray Stop over here. Good luck!
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