How to Train a Cat to Use a Scratching Post

How to Train a Cat to Use a Scratching Post

Having a cat around the home is a wonderful thing, but you may not always love some of their behavior and habits, including scratching furniture. Scratching is a natural behavior for cats, and they enjoy it, so it isn’t likely that you are ever going to be able to get your cat to stop doing it. But how do you train a cat to use a scratching post?

So, what you need to do is turn their attention to something else that is theirs to claw, and will keep them from clawing furniture, curtains, etc.

The best thing to do is to get a scratching post, preferably one that is made with sisal, which is rough and durable, and cats love to scratch it. Once you get the scratching post, you are going to have to train your cat to use it. Read on to learn more about how to do this.

Scratching Post Training Tips: How to Train a Cat to Use a Scratching Post


The first thing you need to do is get a scratching post, and it should be the right kind of scratching post. Don’t get one that is soft and fluffy, because this just isn’t going to attract them as a place to scratch.

It needs to have a rough surface, such as one made with sisal fabric. The scratching post needs to be tall enough to allow them to get a full vertical stretch, and sturdy enough to not topple over when they do it.

You should also place several scratching posts around the home, in any areas that your cat frequents. Make sure that there is a post near their sleeping area, so they can immediately stretch after waking up.

Your cat may not like the first post that you get, and you may have to try several different types before you find one that they will use. Many cats like a basic log that you can get for free because they can shred the bark.  The realistic hidden cat tree that looks like a real tree provides your cat the ultimate climbing experience without leaving the security of your home.

Cardboard is also a good choice because like bark, they can shred it. Avoid scratching posts that are made with carpeting, as their claws can get caught in the loops and snag, resulting in your cat avoiding the post all together because they associate it with pain.

Once you have found the right scratching post, you need to train your cat to use it. When you see your cat scratching furniture, move the cat to the scratching post, without yelling or giving any punishment. Other things you can do to get your cat more interested in the scratching post instead of furniture include:

Use Catnip

You can sprinkle catnip at the base of the scratching post to attract your cat to it. You can also spray the entire scratching post with spray catnip, so they will want to claw at the entire thing

Give Rewards

Every time you see your cat using the scratching post, reward them with a treat. Soon, they will start to associate the scratching post with treats and see that it is a good thing when they use it

Get Some Cardboard

Have you noticed that your cat loves cardboard boxes and that they incessantly dig at them? Do not discourage this behavior.

Sure, you may not have room in your home for a lot of big boxes, but even a piece of corrugated cardboard in each room is going to be enticing for them to scratch.

If you can leave at least one box out for them, they are going to have a place to sleep, play, and scratch, and it isn’t going to cost you anything at all. If you don’t have room for scratching posts or boxes in every room, you can likely at least find space for a piece of cardboard that is small enough to not take up a lot of space, but that they love to dig at.


Some people say that you can have cats, or you can have nice things, but you can’t have both. If you know how to properly train a cat so they will use a scratching post, this is far from the truth.

You can protect your furniture and other items in the home, while ensuring that your cat is able to mark their territory, sharpen and trim their claws, and have fun, by training them to use scratching posts. Make sure that you have one in every area that they frequent and encourage them to use them.

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