21 May How to Make Your Cat Use a Scratching Post
Pet owners often make the mistake of placing scratching posts in a remote area. Scratching is a form of territory marking for the cat.
To get the cat to use it, the scratching post must be put in a room and area that the family uses. After some time, the post can be moved to a location in the periphery but it should start out centrally located. Movement of the post needs to be done gradually.
The scratching pole / post should initially be placed where the cat does its scratching. There may be multiple chairs or sofas the cat has claimed as a territorial scratching spot. In that case, multiple posts may be needed. To ensure the post is appealing to the cat it needs to be secure. A scratching post or cat tree that shakes or feels as if it will fall over will be avoided by the cat.
Posts should have a wide and strong base or be secured in some way to the room’s floor for stability.
The cat can be encouraged to employ the scratching post by playing with or feeding it in close proximity. Catnip powder or leaves can be rubbed into the post as encouragement as well. Or, cat nip spray is great for encouraging them on board!
Anything associated with the new post should be pleasurable for the cat and it should be rewarded for using it. A toy or chase string should be placed around it or toys can be attached to it. Attached toys will cause the cat to dig claws into the post establishing it as belonging to the cat.
Another good location for the post is where the cat sleeps. When cats awaken, they like to get a good scratch in whether in the day or night. To bring a cat sheer joy, place one in each room of the entire house. No matter how many scratching posts are in the house, the key one is in the room where the pet owner and cat spend the majority of their time together.
If the cat has difficulty giving up the old scratching territory, there are many means of discouragement that can be used. Covering scratching spots with double-sided tape or aluminium foil creates a surface that is unpleasant to scratch. It is important to remember that scratching territory is marked by the cat’s scent as much as their claws.
It may be necessary to remove a cat’s scent from a scratching area in order to help it break the habit. Pet stores and most supermarkets sell solutions formulated for pet odour removal. Citrus odours displease cats so using them in either a spray or potpourri form to treat the area may also help.
If the cat continues to scratch the furniture, squirting it with a water gun or a stream-set spray bottle may solve the problem. However, this is not recommended.
Another method would be to blow a whistle or make some other unpleasant, loud noise when the cat scratches the furniture.
Deterrents must be employed at the time of scratching in order to have an effect on the behaviour and compel the cat to engage in the behaviour desired.