The Benefits of a Cat Scratching Post

Though it may not seem like an essential cat accessory at first, you will soon see why a cat scratching post is an indispensable item for feline owners.

Cat scratching post - Gray cat scratching post

Scratching is great for your cat’s health, keeps their claws in shape, and is a good way to reduce stress.

A cat scratching post may look like an innocuous enough piece of furniture. It is, after all, simply a post or board covered in carpeting or roping. Yet this basic item can help avoid many of the challenges of cat ownership by helping you redirect your cat’s natural tendencies, thus improving your cat’s health.

Choosing the right post for your cat or kitten requires considering several factors. The material should be durable, able to withstand regular use, and tall enough to allow your cat to fully extend. Ideal placement is also crucial. Position the cat post in an area your cat frequents, such as near their favorite sleeping spot. Encourage use through positive reinforcement like treats or praise.

Why Do Cats Need Scratching Posts?

Here are some of the things a cat scratching post is helpful for:

  •  For Kittens: Scratching posts are wonderfully helpful for young kittens with a lot of built-up energy. They provide a vigorous activity for them while giving them something to attach themselves to in the home early on. This will help make their adjustment to a new home easier or alleviate any cat behavior problems that might come with a new environment. For these energetic tykes, hanging items meant for play will help to entice them to use the posts.
  • For Your Furniture: As many cat owners undoubtedly know, cats innately love to scratch. This means they’ll find something else to claw (often your precious furniture). Bringing a post into the equation can help divert this scratching. But don’t assume, that simply setting up a cat scratching post will keep your cat from scratching your furniture. You have to lure him to scratch the post instead. Putting catnip on it, or a treat at the top could help correct this problem.
  • For Your Cat’s Health: While it may seem like a pesky habit, scratching is actually great for your cat’s health. Not only does it keep their claws in proper shape, but it is great exercise and a good way to reduce stress. A healthy cat is a cat that is able to scratch without worry, and this is why it is important to have a post.
  • For Common Ground: If you have multiple cats, they will tend to convene at the scratching post, out of mutual interest. This can lead to the post being a meeting point, or a place for your cats to convene for play and interaction. A post is a great way to bring your cats together, as all cats love to scratch.

Types of Cat Scratching Posts

Cat scratching post - Side profile of a gray cat stretched out and scratching a post.

It's important to select a scratching post that is sturdy, durable, and right-sized for your cat.

Cat scratching posts or cat scratchers come in several types, each suitable for different feline preferences and needs. You can choose from vertical cat posts, horizontal ones, combination posts, and various materials such as sisal rope, carpet, cardboard, and wood.

It's important to select a post that is sturdy, durable, and right-sized for your cat.

Proper Placement and Training

Proper placement and training are crucial in encouraging your cat to use the cat scratching post or cat scratcher. Strategic positioning and positive reinforcement can guide their scratching behavior away from your furniture. Place the post where your cat spends a lot of time, in a prominent position, and consider multiple posts if you have more than one cat.

Attract your cat's attention to the cat post using treats or catnip. You can gently guide their paws towards the post and simulate the scratching motion. If they continue to scratch furniture, use deterrents like double-sided tape or aluminum foil. Regularly trim their nails to minimize damage from scratching. Remember, rewarding positive behavior is key to successful training.

Maintenance and Care

  • Routinely clean it with mild soap or pet-friendly disinfectant to keep the post hygienic. Avoid harsh chemicals.
  • Check it periodically and replace any worn-out parts.
  • Regularly refresh the scratching surfaces to help ensure that they appeal to your cat.

Maintaining your cat's scratching post or cat scratcher is important for its longevity. By following these tips, it will remain in great condition.

Hartz Cattraction with Silver Vine & Catnip® Koi Dangler™ Cat Toy
Hartz Cattraction with Silver Vine & Catnip® Gator Scratch™ Cat Toy