I did a lot of looking around before deciding on the SmartCat Ultimate Scratching Post for our cats. The number one reason I chose this post is because it’s made with fibrous, durable sisal. I got it even though it’s definitely pricier than other posts, but I figured it would definitely last a lot longer [...]
Scratching Posts for Cats – How to Buy a Cat Scratching Post
Looking for the best scratching posts for cats? Need something to stop your beloved cats from ruining your future? You’re at the right place. On this website you’ll find my unbiased cat scratching post reviews as well other useful tips on preventing cat scratching.
In the wild, cats keep their claws sharp to defend themselves or to catch their prey. They do this by scratching on the bark of a nearby tree or other fibrous object. Although a housecat is fed by its owner and if indoors doesn’t need to defend itself, it may have a natural inclination to sharpen its claws.
It may do this by scratching couch or chair corners, the carpet, shelving or doorways. In order to keep a housecat from ruining furniture by doing what it’s natural inclination tells it to, a cat owner should buy a scratching post for cats.
When considering a scratching post for cats, the individual cat needs to be thought of. What does it tend to scratch on most, a carpet or a wooden table leg? What position is it usually in when it scratches? And does the cat scratch many different things, or does it return to scratch the same object each time?
Ideally, a cat owner would have more than one scratching post in the house, and will make each one different for the cat to use as it pleases. A cat needs to use scratching posts not only to shed the claws’ sheathes, but so that it can stretch its feline muscles that make it so flexible and agile.
There are many different types of scratching posts for cats. There are, of course, the regular scratching posts for cats that stand straight up in a cylindrical style. Recently, the most recommended type of post-style scratching tool is made of sisal fabric, which has a deep, fibrous, vertical texture up and down the pole.
It is called the Purrrfect Post and was developed by a veterinary. There are also Intergrooved Scratching Posts for cats that are made by Active Cat. Also providing vertical texture, it is made of wood, so it very closely approximates the natural experience of using a tree in the wild. The other option for vertical scratching posts for cats is to house a real tree and make it accessible to the cat to use for scratching.
Vertical corrugated scratching tools are an alternative to the traditional scratching posts for cats. It is inclined and provides the opportunity for cats to stretch muscles that are not used on a vertical post. Corrugated cardboard is a favorite to many cats, and the Cosmic Alpine Scratcher is baited with catnip as well as a hole where a toy mouse dangles enticingly to exercise a cat’s sense of play.
If a cat seems to enjoy horizontal scratching, or if this is an option a cat owner would like to include in the house, one recommendation is the Furniture Scratch Lounge. It provides a honeycomb scratching pad inside a three-sided lounge bed that makes a nice personal sitting spot for the cat.
Also for horizontal scratching is the Blitz Turbo Scratcher for Cats, which has a circular scratching center and an outside ring-groove that houses a ball for chasing when the cat needs something to play with. These don’t follow the traditional scratching posts for cats, but are just as important depending on the individual cat’s scratching style.
Cat towers covered in various textures, and with multiple landings that can provide vertical, horizontal, and perhaps multi-textural experiences for an active cat can also be found. Any of these vertical or horizontal scratching posts for cats could be bought at a local pet store, or online.
How to Choose Cat Scratching Posts
Once a pet owner has decided a scratching post is needed to stop the cat from ruining the furniture, it is important to remember to consider the cat’s individual taste and preferences. Without taking these things into account, the cat may continue to prefer the sofa to the scratching post no matter how expensive it is.
It is not uncommon to have to experiment with a few different scratching posts before the cat finds one it likes. Attempting to demonstrate the use of the scratching post to the cat is a big mistake. It offends the cat and effectively marks the post as the demonstrator’s territory, not the cat’s. A significant factor in the cat liking a post is the location of it. Here are a few considerations to bear in mind when placing the new scratching post:
- Stability – A cat will often put its entire weight into the effort of scratching. For this reason, the post needs to be solidly stationary. It should not be able to be toppled by the cats climbing it or jumping onto it.
- Size – A cat will usually indulge in a stretch of the entire body while scratching. The scratching post needs to be approximately 28 to 30 inches in length for the cat to accomplish this. Although some cats may be smaller, it is better to have too much space rather than too little.
- Horizontal or Vertical – Although experimentation may be the only way to determine which orientation of the post the cat prefers, it is a good idea to engage in some observation before shopping for the post. When the cat is scratching the sofa or whatever item it should not be, observe whether it is standing on its hind legs and reaching up or if it is lying down and scratching. That will show which orientation the cat prefers.
- Texture – Scratching posts are best covered by a rough material that will act as a surface similar to a nail file. Surfaces that appear to already be scratched will act as visible cues letting the cat know it is permissible to scratch it. The surface of the ideal scratching item will also be a factor that can be different for each cat. Carpet, rope and sisal are popular choices. Some cats particularly like the feel of rough fabrics or cardboard.
Scratching posts made with sisal are ideal because it has the perfect grain and texture for shredding, an activity cats enjoy. Recent studies indicate that cats vertical shred marks as a territory markings and sisal allows the cat to make those type of marks. Although it can look used up when the cat has shredded it, sisal should not be hastily thrown away because the cat has probably just gotten the material to a point where it feels comfortable and familiar.
- Location – Poor placement of the new scratching post can result in the cat never using it no matter how carefully it has been chosen. The pet owner should observe the times the cat exhibits the scratching behavior such as after sleeping or upon the owner’s entrance into the house. The locations of these instances should dictate where the new scratching post is placed.