Tired of finding your furniture shredded to pieces and your floors littered with carpet fibers? It’s time to teach your feline friend some manners! Teaching your cat to use a scratching post instead of household items can save you both money and frustration. But, where do you start? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.
In this blog post, we’ll share expert tips for training your cat to embrace their natural instinct while protecting your home decor. So grab a coffee and get ready – it’s time to show that couch who’s boss!
Plan a creative session with your cat to teach them how to use the scratching post
If your cat is scratching furniture or other surfaces to get their nails clipped, it might be time to invest in a scratching post. A scratching post can provide hours of entertainment for both you and your kitty, and can teach them valuable skills like using their claws for something other than tearing up your furniture. Here are few tips for creating a fun andsuccessful scratching post experience for your feline friend:
- Choose the right type of post. The posts available at pet stores tend to be more expensive than homemade options, but they also tend to be more durable. If you have room in your home, go for a tall, sturdy post made from untreated wood or branches. If space is at a premium, consider buying an inexpensive plastic post that you can fill with sisal rope or shredded fabric instead.
- Set up the post before you let your cat out to play. Position the post so that it’s close to where they usually scratch – usually near the wall or behind an object – and pre-fill the toy insert with favorite plush toy or treats. This will make PLAYING with the post less of a engagement opportunity and more of a reward for good behavior!
- Familiarize yourself with your cat’s claw profile before you begin training sessions. Most cats have four claws on their front feet and two on their back feet; learn which claw(s) is/are used most often for scratching (usually the back ones). When teaching your cat to use the post, start by attaching one of their back claws to the post using a small clip or piece of dental floss.
- Offer encouragement and praise as your cat practices scratching. If they get stuck, be gentle and patience. If things get too tough, try removing one claw at a time until your cat is getting the hang of it.
- Repeat sessions regularly over several weeks, gradually increasing the difficulty of the scratching scene as your cat gets better at it. Be sure to provide plenty of positive reinforcement to keep them motivated!
Once your cat is scratching the post on their own, you can usually remove the claw clip and leave the post available as a regular scratching surface. Bonus: now they know to scratch while they’re waiting for you to give them a good kitty scratch!
Keep the post in an easy-to-access spot
If you have a cat and he loves to scratch anything and everything, you may have noticed that your furniture is quickly being blemished. Instead of letting your cat scratch your furniture until it’s a rip in the fabric, try investing in a scratching post! A scratching post can be easily situated near your cat’s favorite spots on the house, and will help him exercise without damaging furniture. Here are five tips for teaching your cat to use a scratching post:
- Start with basic commands such as “down” or “stay”. Once your cat understands those commands, begin praising him when he uses the scratching post instead of furniture.
- Place treats near the post so your cat knows it’s not just a piece of wood they’re scratching – providing enough incentive for them to use it instead of your furniture!
- Make sure the surface of the post is very smooth and slightly elevated; this will make climbing easier for cats.
- Place the post in an area your cat frequents – near his bed, at the top of steps or other places where he likes to rest – and watch as he starts to scratch there instead of on your furniture!
- If you find that YOUR CAT is using THE POST rather than YOUR FURNITURE as his go-to place to scratch… congratulations! You’ve successfully taught him how to use a scratching post correctly!
Don’t Forget the Catnip!
If your cat loves to scratch, adding a little bit of catnip to the post will help him stay stimulated and focused while he scratches. Keep in mind that too much catnip can be addictive for your cats, so only add a tiny amount as needed.
Reward your cat for using the post
To reward your cat for using the scratching post in lieu of furniture, provide them with some attention and treats. You can also emphasize the importance of the post by playing music or making noises when your cat is using it.
If your cat is destructive or not using the post, try different methods of rewarding them until they get the message. For example, try hiding a treat in the post while they are scratching it or making a “catnip” Post out by filling it with fresh leaves and small toys.
Remember to always supervise your cat when they are using the scratching post as not to hurt themselves or animals around them.
Be consistent and patient
Cats scratch for many reasons, including to relieve stress and as a way to mark their territory. When your cat starts scratching furniture, you may want to try some of these tips to help him learn to use a scratching post instead:
- Take the time to teach your cat the importance of using a scratching post. Show him how much fun it is to scratch on a post that’s big enough for him and easy to access. Talk about why it’s important to scratch posts instead of furniture and provide plenty of positive reinforcement when he applies himself.
- Reward your cat generously when he uses his scratching post. This will help him associate scratching posts with positive experiences, rather than being punished for scratches on furniture.
- Ignore any scratches that happen outside of the scratching post regimen – this will just confuse your cat and encourage him to continue using furniture as his primary scratching surface. Use treats or toys inside the post instead when rewards are given so he knows what behavior you’d like to see from him.
- Alter the post to make it more challenging for your cat. For example, make the post higher or use a covering to make it less comfortable for him to scratch. Try different textures and sizes of posts to find one that your cat finds enjoyable and challenging.
If you’ve tried these tips and your cat still scratches furniture, talk to your veterinarian about possible solutions. Certain medications or behavioral therapies may help him learn to scratch on a post instead.
If your cat can’t or won’t use a scratching post, you may want to consider getting one for him. A scratching post is a great way for cats to relieve themselves and can provide them with hours of fun.
Taming a cat can be difficult, but rewarding when the cat finally becomes acquainted with using a scratching post instead of furniture. By following these tips, you can help your kitty learn that using the post is a desirable behavior and encourage them to scratch vigorously for added rewards. Start by providing plenty of scratch food or toys on the post so your cat knows what to do. As they begin scratching harder and longer, gradually move the toy or food away from the post until your cat is scratching solely for the joy of it. Be consistent with this training program and reward your feline friend every time they use their new Post-Scratch Barker!