Shredded carpet, scratch marks on the leather sofa, claw marks down the wallpaper. As a cat owner, the chances are you have encountered at least one of these situations in the past. Whilst this probably drives you crazy, the last thing you want to do is to deter your cat from scratching. The important thing is to understand why your cat scratches and what you can do to encourage them to use an appropriate scratching outlet such as a scratching post.
Scratching is second nature to cats and is an essential part of everyday life. It serves a number of purposes that we as humans may not be aware of. Primarily, cats scratch to condition their claws. Scratching helps remove the outer sheath of the claw to expose the new sharper claw. In addition to this cats also scratch as a form of exercise, stress relief and as a way of marking out their territory.
Now you have a brief insight into why cats scratch, what can you do to make sure they don’t scratch your furniture? The simple solution is to get a scratching post or a similar scratching product. When choosing a scratching post make sure it is tall enough and strong enough for your cat to be able to stretch out and have a good scratch without it toppling over. This is where cat towers and climbers become very useful! If your cat has a particular liking for carpet or wallpaper then a scratch pad maybe the solution for you as they can be placed on the floor or securely attached to a wall.
If you purchase a scratching post make sure you think carefully about where you put it. Keep the post in an area where your cat spends a lot of time as when they feel like a scratch they usually head for the nearest object. If they prefer to scratch a particular item of furniture or a certain area of wallpaper, then place the post in this area. It is advisable to buy multiple posts if your cat has several preferred scratching locations.
If your cat seems disinterested then try and encourage them to check it out by using catnip or by placing treats nearby.