Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Training Cat to Use Scratching Post


Cats that are not accustomed to using a scratching post will pass it by because their scent is not on it.  Get your cat to use the post with repetitive training, tasty treats and cat pleasing scents. 

Choosing a Scratching Post
Determine what type of scratching post would appeal to your cat. Look for clues by examining your cat’s favorite scratching spots.  For cats that scratch the carpet get flat floor type like the kitty scratching lounge. If your cat prefers the side of your sofa or the wood trim on your wall than an upright post would appeal to your cat. 


Setting up Post 
Location matters to your cat.  It is best to set up the scratching product in an area that your cat frequents.  If you cat hangs out in the living room most of the day then set the scratcher there, if your cat has a few hang outs then buy more than one scratching post so your cat will be able to scratch as needed. Assessable scratching posts are the key to training your cat.


Training Cat to Scratch 
Make the scratching post more inviting by setting cat toys next to it.  When you do this the cat will be more accepting to the post.  Attract your cat to scratch by tossing some tasty treats around the post, setting up cat toys around the base of the post and spraying the entire scratching area with liquid catnip. Be generous with the catnip training product. 

Keep your cat close to the post by making the area positive and fun.  Play with your cat with the da bird a life like bird on a stick that all cats love.  Run the bird up and around the scratching post.  Your cat will then instinctively jump up on the post and mark the post with their scent.

What Works - Doesn’t Work
Many people train by putting the cat’s paws on the post.  I tried this and it did not work, my cats hissed at me and ran away.  Cats are smart they know what to do; they will scratch on the post when they are good and ready.  If they have never used a post then they will take their sweet time in getting use to it.  Training with catnip works as the cat will rub their body on the side of the post, they may rub their head on it too.  They are marking the scratcher with their scent.  If your cat hangs out to sniff the catnip then they will naturally scratch.   

Notes:

Watch your cat for inappropriate scratching.   If your cat goes to file their nails on the carpet or your favorite wicker chair  then pick up your cat and bring them back to their scratching post.

Some people do not think that training their cat to use a scratching post is worth the effort and will opt to have the cats claws surgically removed.  

I do not recommend declawing a cat as it is very painful and can cause the cat to have improper balance and behavior problems including biting.    

One of my rescued cats was declawed.  She was left in the woods by my home. She could not climb a tree for safety, fend off predators or hunt for food.   As a result of the declawing she cannot jump on the sofa.

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