It’s no secret that cats love to scratch. This is a natural urge, and should not be discouraged.
Yet many new cat owners can be at a loss when it comes to how to prevent their cats from scratching the furniture or tearing cushions with their claws. The answer is, of course, a scratching post – a post dedicated to your cat’s scratching habits that she can make her very own.
In this article, we will offer you a guide on how to choose the best scratching post for your cat.
What is a scratching post?
A scratching post is usually a vertical wooden post covered with different kinds of material. This material offers resistance to your cat’s claws, which makes the process of scratching satisfying for them.
Scratching posts come in different shapes and sizes. Some scratching posts are simple vertical pillars on solid wooden bases. Others can be shaped as cactuses or castles – anything you can think of, in fact. They can also have horizontal platforms attached to them at varying levels for your cat to climb and rest.
Today, scratching posts do not actually have to be posts. There are wooden frames with your cat’s favourite scratching material in their centre. These can be attached to the wall at a height your cat can reach, allowing her to scratch away to her heart’s content.
What is the most important factor when choosing a scratching post?
The most important factor when choosing a scratching post is material. Scratching posts come in various materials. The best scratching posts for cats actually differ from cat to cat depending on their preferences, so you may have to experiment a bit before you find a post your cat will love.
Several posts come covered with carpeting. The ribbing on the carpet can be very satisfying for your cat and is popular among pet owners. Just be careful that your cat doesn’t think that all carpet is good for scratching, as that could cause destruction to your floors.
This rope is wrapped repeatedly around the post to cover it. Cats can easily run their claws down this, and it allows a good grip. The texture is always interesting for your cat. However, this experience can be slightly frustrating due to the dips between the layers of rope.
This can be more satisfying than sisal rope, as it allows the cat to shred without any interruptions to their strokes. Like humans, cats derive pleasure from a job well done, so seeing their scratching post shred properly can be important to how much they enjoy themselves.
This is an inexpensive material and can be replaced easily. It is a favourite with first-time cat owners, and many cats will love it.
How tall should a scratching post be?
When choosing the best scratching post for cats, you can go as grand as you like. You can choose a simple vertical post or you can decide to install a small castle that your cat can move around in while she scratches, with platforms on which she can rest.
However, it is important to make sure your scratching post is not too short. Cats like to stretch their bodies upwards when they scratch, working out all their muscles. If your post is too small, it could deny them that exercise and thus a vital health benefit of scratching. Cats will also lose interest in small posts easily.
Thus, posts that are taller than your cat’s length are the best scratching posts for cats. This will let your cat climb as she scratches and bites, giving her a full workout. Make sure the base on such posts is sturdy, and that there is no danger of it falling over when your cat is on it.
When should you renew a scratching post?
You would replace a scratching post once your cat has shredded the material so that it longer gives her any satisfaction. Some scratching posts, like those made of cardboard, would have to be replaced with a new one quite often.
Others posts can simply be renewed. In the case of the sisal rope, sisal fabric and carpet, you only need to replace the material on the wooden post. This can be done yourself, or you can ask a professional to do it.
Where should you put a scratching post?
- Inside the house: When cats scratch, they deposit their scent on the post, thus marking it as part of their territory. Scratching itself is part of the cat’s process of marking their territory. Thus, the best scratching posts for cats are placed inside the house, rather than outside.
- Place it near where your cat is already scratching: If your cat already has a specific spot where she likes to scratch, place the post near that spot or on top of it. This will direct her attention to the post and save your carpet and furniture from more damage.
- Place it in a safe place: It is important that the scratching post is not near any sharp corners that can harm your cat as she climbs or jumps. Counter edges or table corners could be harmful for your cat.
- Top spots: Near the bed or litter tray are often good places to place a scratching post, as cats are able to combine their activities in one space. Near the sofa is also a good place, as some cats love to mark their scent on furniture. This way, they can be close to you while indulging their instincts.
It is easy to be overwhelmed by the range of scratching posts out there. However, we hope this guide has shown you that there are only a few basic things to keep in mind when choosing the best scratching post for your cat. These posts can be as simple or as fancy as you like. The important thing is to ensure your cat has the space to indulge in her favourite hobby.
Another favourite pastime for cats involved boxes. If you’re baffled as to why cats love boxes so much, we think we found the explanation. Read our articles, next.