If you have a new kitten in the house, or even if you have an older cat that likes to scratch on things, it is important to have at least a couple of scratching posts around to protect your furniture, draperies, etc. But, with so many different types of scratching posts available, which is going to be the best choice for your cat?
The first thing you should do is familiarize yourself with the basic materials that go into scratching posts, and which materials cats prefer to scratch on. Let’s look at what scratching posts are made of, and which materials are going to be attractive to your cat or kitten.
Why do Cats Scratch?
There are several reasons why cats scratch things, and it is not a habit you are going to be able to break. In fact, you shouldn’t try to break them of this habit, but instead train them to scratch something that is theirs, so they don’t destroy your stuff. For starters, scratching is healthy for them. Cats need to scratch in order to have healthy claws.
It helps them to shed off claw husks and keeps their claws sharp and trimmed. Scratching also provides cats with exercise, because they are stretching when they do it, which keeps them limber. It is also a means of communication as they use scratching to mark their territory. So, cats need to scratch.
What are Scratching Posts Made Out Of: Scratching Post Materials
One of the best types of scratching post is one that you don’t have to spend any money on, a piece of an old log. Cats love to shred at the bark. But, it is not always easy to go out and get a log, so you need to get a scratching post that they are going to enjoy just as much. The materials to look for in a quality scratching post include:
The base of the scratching post should be wood, and ideally, the post will be wood as well, and possibly covered with sisal. Do not get a varnished piece of wood, because it isn’t rough enough.
Look for something that is more like a tree branch, with a rougher surface that they will want to dig their claws into. The only issue with natural wood is splinters, but this isn’t something that is going to happen very often
Sisal has a very rough texture, much like tree bark, and cats really love scratching at it. Many scratching posts are made with sisal rope, but the fabric is even better.
Sisal is a much better alternative than carpeting, which can actually be dangerous as cats can end up getting their claws hooked into the loops, resulting in torn claws. Sisal is costlier to purchase, but it is a lot less expensive than vet bills when your cat ends up with bleeding toes
Many cat scratchers are made with corrugated cardboard. This is because it shreds easily, and cats love it. You can get some great scratchers that are made with layers of cardboard glued together.
Until you are able to get a scratching post, you can give your cat a cardboard box, and they will have a combination scratcher, toy, and sleeping area. The two best things about boxes is that all cats love them, and they don’t cost anything at all. Just ask for one at your local super market
There are a couple of reasons to avoid getting a cat scratching post that has carpeting on it. We already mentioned that the loops of the carpeting can damage a cat’s claws.
The other reason is that if your cat is allowed to claw at one carpet (their scratcher), they will think that they can claw at any other carpeted surfaces in the home.
It is important to have a scratching post when you have a cat, and not just to save your furniture. Cats have a natural need to scratch, and it is good for them. It is not a behavior that you should try to dissuade them from, nor will you be able to anyway.
So, make sure that they have a quality scratching post that is made with durable materials, and that is tall enough to let your cat get a full vertical stretch.