While you may find it nothing more than a destructive habit, your cat is not scratching your furniture, carpet and curtains to be bad. Scratching is a normal, natural instinct which helps remove the dead outer layers of the nails. It also let’s your cat mark his or her territory both visually and with scent from scent glands in the paws. Scratching reduces stress and strengthens feet and claws. It improves your cat’s overall health and this is why a high quality scratching post is essential.

When searching for a scratching post, it is important to consider height, sturdiness, and good scratching material. A premium scratching post is at least 30 inches tall. The height lets your cat have a really satisfying stretch while scratching. It should have a very thick, heavy base so that it won’t fall over. The preferable outer material for a scratching post is sisal. Sisal is a natural fiber that comes from the sword-shaped leaves of Agave sisalana, a species of cactus. It is extremely durable and much stronger than other natural fibers, which makes sisal perfect for covering a scratching post.

Location, Location, Location

cat scratching postWhen introducing a scratching post in your house, you should place it where your cat will most likely use it. A possible location would be where he or she sleeps, so he or she can have a good scratch on waking. Another possibility is near the front door or wherever your cat greets you when you come home. When your cat is using the scratching post regularly, it can gradually be moved to the place in your house where you want it.

Also, cover places where you don’t want your cat to scratch. Double sided sticky tape, aluminum foil or any material with a texture that cats don’t like usually works well. Cats generally avoid smells like cologne, menthol and citrus. Try any of these if you can do so without damaging your carpet, furniture or curtains. If you catch your cat in the act of scratching in a bad place, trying clapping your hands, yelling “NO” in a loud voice or shaking a box of change. Do not punish your cat if you discover damage after the fact. He or she won’t know what he or she did wrong and may learn to fear you.

It may take some time and patience, but hopefully your cat will learn to enjoy the scratching post and you will have a happy home.