Cats gotta scratch! Here's how to make sure they scratch where you want them to and not where you don't - Dr. Marty Becker

Cats gotta scratch! Here’s how to make sure they scratch where you want them to and not where you don’t

Thursday, Apr 27th, 2017 | By Dr. Marty Becker

Teenagers must text, and cats must scratch. To a cat, scratching is as just like eating, drinking, peeing, and pooping; it’s something they must do to stay both physically and emotionally healthy.

And if you don’t provide him a surface to sink his claws into and pull, he’ll pull a fast-one on you and create his own scratching surface, likely a place you won’t be too happy about, like the corner of the new sofa or the wooden arm of the next antique cabinet.

Here are five things you can do to increase the desirability of the thing/surface you want Mr. Puss Puss to scratch:

Surface. Cats love surfaces where they can shred, claws don’t get caught, and that leave a visible sign for others cats (even if you don’t have other cats). Surfaces such as cardboard, sisal, and carpet are the most common.

Shape. There’s a reason scratching posts are round and not square or triangular for example. In the wild, cats scratch trees (at our old home in Twin Falls, Idaho, different cats had scratched up trees like gang signs; cats desire both a visible and olfactory marking). Tree trunks and logs are round, and so are cat posts.

Stability. You have to have a scratching surface that won’t come crashing down like a logger felled it, or fly off of the doorknob the first time the cat hooks into it.

Size. In the case of scratching posts, size matters. I recommend as tall a tree as is practical in your house. Being both prey and predator, in the wild cats climb trees to either see supper, or not become supper. Height makes them feel safe.

Site. Don’t put the scratching post in a poor location (dark, smelly, noisy, and away from the family). Do put the post in a great location, for cats, such as by a window that’s non-drafty and has a great (for a cat) view.