Cats really, really, really love to scratch and that is no exaggeration either. If you’re a first-time owner of a cat, you’ll find that out as soon as you see your new furniture full of claw marks and your sofa and the pillows are shredded and torn to pieces. Cats scratch for a variety of reasons. The obvious reason is for marking their territory. Cat’s paws leave their scent and every time they scratch something their scent stays there. Scratching is also an exercise for them; you’ll usually see their love for scratching every time they wake up from a nap.
The first response to this is confining your cat to some place where she can’t damage new furniture or scratch anything valuable. This can be seen as a temporary solution only and can’t be permanent as cats love to wander around too. The best solution is a scratch post.
A scratch post is something you can buy or create yourself. There are several scratch posts on the market and you are sure to find something suitable for your cat. Remember, though, that a cat’s idea of something good to scratch at is different from your idea. Never ever make the mistake of buying something expensive just because you think it looks good or looks exactly like your sofa.
An excellent post is something where your cat can fully stretch her body and should be stable. Once your cat starts scratching on it and it topples over, you can be sure that she won’t return to it.
After buying one, the next step for you is to train your cat to scratch it. Never make the mistake of forcing her claws to scratch the post. Your cat is just like a child and showing her something she knows how to do is something that can make your cat behave aloof to you for a couple of days.
One suggestion is to put the post where your cat used to scratch. For example, if she loves scratching your wooden chair, then put it close to your chair. Other places include a place close to where your cat is sleeping so she’ll have some thing to scratch after her nap. This won’t work at all times, though, so you have to do something clever to entice her to scratch the post.
One of the best solutions is to rub catnip into it. This will have her happily digging at the post in no time. If this doesn’t really appeal to your cat, don’t lose hope because there are other ways. Some cats just don’t love catnip and won’t be fooled easily by this treat.
Another way is to associate the post with something fun. Put some food treats around it or dangle some toys that will entice her to reach out for the toy and inadvertently scratch the post. You must remember to praise your cat every time she scratches your post so she will remember that scratching the post is both fun and agreeable to you.
Another way to “fool” your cat into scratching the post is to play games with her running around the scratch post. Once she finds that scratching the post is better than playing your game, don’t feel bad as you have done your job of “fooling” your cat into using the scratch post.
Of course you can try to train them directly to scratch the post. You can give the order to “scratch” and point to the post while you give the order and every time your cat scratches the post give her a treat and praise her loudly so she can be proud of pleasing you.
Once your cat starts using the scratch post, the next step is to prevent her from scratching your furniture. You could do this by covering your furniture with aluminum foil or double-sided tape. These are surfaces that your cat will find not so good to scratch and she will soon realize not to scratch things other than her scratch post.
The only thing to remember is that to prevent your cat from scratching your furniture is to provide her with something better to scratch.