The function and importance of scratching posts for cats
A natural behavior for cats is to periodically hook their front claws on suitable surfaces and pull back. This marks its territory, exercises its legs, and sharpens its claws. They also use scratching as a way to threaten other cats, to play with, and to get rid of their old nails so they can grow new and sharper nails. Cats often scratch while stretching; But sadly, cats can damage furniture, curtains, and other things when they do so. Indoor cats benefit from being provided with a scratching post so they are less likely to use rugs or furniture that they can easily ruin.
The most common type of post consists of a wooden post covered with rough cloth or sisal. The post is vertically mounted on a wide base, allowing the cat to stretch up on its hind legs and scratch freely without tipping it over. A pole that is unstable or that does not allow a cat to fully extend its body can prevent the cat from using it. Scratching post surfaces vary. Some scratching posts are covered with carpets or upholstery, but some authorities advise against this practice, since they do not make it clear to the cat which surfaces are allowed and which are not; They suggest using a smooth wood surface or inverting the mat on the posts so that the rougher texture of the mat backing is a more cat-friendly alternative to floor covering.
Many pet owners find that they have to experiment with different surfaces to find one that their cats will reliably scratch on. Some experts say that cats generally prefer sisal or corrugated cardboard surfaces. Other types of scratching posts are more elaborate, with several levels of horizontal platforms for climbing and cozy cave-like areas where cats can hide. Very tall scratching posts are often referred to as “cat trees.” These may have a vertical tension bar that extends to the ceiling to provide additional stability. Larger cat scratchers and cat scratching posts can give each cat enough places to play, climb, rest and sleep. Cat behaviors are different, so it’s best to be sure what works for your cat before deciding on a surface type.
Smaller scratching surfaces can consist of something as simple as an upside down piece of carpet, or a flat pad of sisal woven with a loop to allow it to hang from a doorknob. Others are made of corrugated cardboard. In many cases, however, what is more important than the scratching post is the knowledge that fellow cats have about how to train cats. Training a cat to scratch an approved surface requires nothing more than understanding simple behavior modification techniques and finding a reward that the cat will perform for.
Scratching posts can be purchased at most pet supply stores and online, but many people make their own. Vendors selling cat scratching posts often have experienced people to offer advice to cat owners on how to scratch. So it’s up to anyone looking for cat scratching products to do an exhaustive search for the best value.