We’ve touched on this in past blog posts, but cats just love to scratch. It is instinctual and in our nature. Which is perfect, since me and my human, Jeff, are in the scratching business! Jeff came up with the ScratchLadder to stop me from scratching all the wood furniture in the house, and I think he would say it has been a great success. But it can be important for our humans to understand why we like to scratch so much so they don’t discourage us from our natural behaviors.
Why do cats scratch things?
There are a number of reasons we cats love to scratch things, and it’s not just because we think it’s funny to rip the sofa. If you own a cat, you already know that we can be very territorial. So, to claim our territory, we decide to scratch it up. This visibly shows other pets to stay away. In addition, our paws secrete pheromones where we scratch so there is no confusion as to who owns that space.
We also like to scratch because it keeps our claws shiny and sharp! You never know when you might have to attack a bug that flew into the house and you don’t want to be caught with subpar nails. As our nails grow, the dead part accumulates at the end of our claws. Scratching removes the dead weight and keeps us fighting ready.
Lastly, scratching stuff just feels good! Its no secret cats have super stressful lives . When we scratch, we stretch out and release all the tension that has built up. It leaves us feeling relaxed and at ease.
Why do cats use scratching posts?
Mainly because our humans want us to. However, scratching posts are a large part in keeping your fur baby healthy as it helps them to stretch and relax. So, I guess it is a good thing our humans prefer us to use the posts instead of the furniture.
Do scratching posts work?
If your cat likes to scratch furniture, then chances are high they will like the scratching post! Anecdotally, I know I love my ScratchLadder and I use it every day! The main thing to do to make your cat love their new scratching post is to make sure you buy the right kind of post.
Best Type of Scratching Post for Different Cats
No two cats are the same, so buying a scratching post is not a one size fits all situation. I love scratching wood, but I know plenty of cats that prefer cushion or carpet. So, the first thing to do is consider what your cat is already scratching. If you aren’t sure or you want to give your cat more options, the ScratchLadder can be a great way to start out, as it has four rungs of different surfaces for your cat to enjoy
Another thing to consider is the height and durability of the scratching post. You want the post to be tall enough for your cat to put its front paws on the top while stretching out on its hind legs. Additionally, the post needs to be stable. If it wiggles or topples over, your cat will not be likely to use it. Cats like objects that don’t move to scratch, such as trees, your couch, tables, etc. If the stand doesn’t stay put, your cat won’t either.
The last thing you want to think about is if you need a vertical, or horizontal post. Again, check out what your cat already scratches. Are they standing up and clawing at doors, the side of your couch or chairs? Then a vertical post is the way to go. If they typically scratch at the carpet and things near the floor, you may want to choose a horizontal or slanted post. Some recommend having one of each kind, or a versatile stand with scratching areas on the floor and up and down, as many cats don’t discriminate at what height they like to get their scratch on!
When it comes down to it, you know your fur baby best! Trust your gut and pick the scratching post you think they will love the best!