Why does my cat like to scratch posts or furniture?

Scratching is a completely normal and natural behaviour in cats. Scratching is an important means of communication between cats. It is necessary in the maintenance of healthy nails and strong upper body muscles. Even declawed cats will engage in this behaviour. Scratching is fun and makes cats happy.

Most cat lovers don’t object to scratching. They know that it is part of a cat’s essential nature. What they do find objectionable is where they scratch. The good news is that nearly all cats can be taught our preferred locations. The key is to provide a surface that is more attractive than the stereo speakers or the couch.

Scratching posts can be vertical, horizontal or any angle in between. Vertical posts need to be very stable so your cat can really sink hers claws into it without the worry of it tipping over. Look for high quality carpet or Sisal coverings. Here again, it’s all about what your cat prefers. Rub catnip into the covering to draw her attention. Many horizontal scratchers are made of inexpensive corrugated cardboard and come packaged with catnip to sprinkle into the cervices.

Location is everything. The post needs to be located in an area that your cat will enjoy. Remember, scratching is a form of feline communication so hiding the post in the basement or behind the washing machine does not meet their needs. Place the post where the family gathers or near a favourite napping spot. Many cats like to have their posts near the front door or a window so they feel their message is getting out. Introduce her to the post at a quiet relaxed moment. Praise her for showing interest and give a special treat. Place her paws on the scratcher and praise her again. Play with a favourite toy next to the post. Dangle a fishing pole toy over and around the post to encourage her to touch it then give more treats. She will soon learn that great things happen when she goes to the post.