5 Tips to Get your Cat to Use the Scratching Post
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Is your kitty scratching on the furniture (or somewhere they’re not supposed to be scratching?)
Or maybe you’re thinking about getting a kitten and want to make sure they use the scratching post and not your gorgeous upholstered dining chair? Then these five tips on how to get your cat to use the scratching post are just what you need!
This post is sponsored by FELIWAY®, but all opinions are my own.
5 Tips to get your Cat to Use the Scratching Post
Spring is here, and that means it’s KITTEN SEASON!!!
We have two sweet cats that are part of our family already – Rocky and Callie. So there are no plans to add a new kitten anytime soon. (OK, I should probably re-phrase that, we have, one super sweet cat and one not-so-sweet cat, lol.)
We’ve had Rocky for about seven years, and he is pretty set in his ways. He is basically a really good cat; he uses his scratching post and litter box like a pro. He doesn’t really like to be held or petted, but he does let me give him a few scratches under his chin when he’s “in the mood.” The funny thing is that he is his most affectionate and vocal when his food bowl is empty! That may be why he’s just a bit on the hefty side… 😉 )
Callie, on the other hand, is the most recent addition to the pet family. She is an older cat that my parents re-homed to us when they moved to the city. When she lived in the country, Callie was an indoor/outdoor cat barn cat. (Outdoors on good weather days and always brought in at night.) Callie is getting up there in age, and even though we don’t live out in the country anymore, I am trying to keep her indoors more to protect her from the extreme heat and all the outdoor threats.
Callie has a few issues we are working on with her. Number one is we want her to use the scratching post! It’s so funny; Rocky absolutely loves his post and uses it multiple times a day (as you can see by how well “loved” it is in that first photo.)
Callie has her own scratching post as well, but hadn’t really shown any interest in it. We’ve been diligent in our “retraining,” and I think she is starting to come around to the idea of using the scratching post!
We tried all of the tips I’m sharing below, but I think what has really helped is the use of FELISCRATCH®.
What is FELISCRATCH?
FELISCRATCH by FELIWAY® is a solution to cats scratching inappropriate areas (like furniture, rugs or curtains.) It contains a synthetic form of a natural pheromone and a small amount of catnip. The reason it works is that by applying the FELISCRATCH® to the scratching post, it leaves the synthetic copy of the natural pheromone that cats leave on places they scratch and encourages them to scratch there again.
So… With all this in mind, just how do you get your cat to use the scratching post? Here are my 5 best tips:
5 Tips to help get your cat to use the Scratching Post.
1. Start them young (if you can.)
My best advice is to start directing your cat to a scratching post when they are a kitten. The younger your cat is, the easier it is to get them to use the scratching post instead of your furniture. Scratch your fingers along the post (they love that noise,) get them to play with toys on the post (like a feather on a string or any other toy your kitten likes to chase.) Anything you can do to get them interested in the scratching post.
2. Pick the right kind of post or Scratching Material.
Some cats will prefer sisal, some like cardboard, others like the feel of carpet. You might need to try a few to see what your cats like best. Our cats always seem to like the sisal wrapped poles.
Height and sturdiness is also a consideration when purchasing a scratching post. Taller might be better as many cats like to stretch out. You want to make sure it is sturdy and does not move around when the cat uses it.
3. Make sure you have one post per cat.
Scratching is a way of cats marking their territory and acts as a kind of stress reliever for them as well and helps them to feel secure in their home. Make sure you have at least one post per cat. If there is only one scratching post, the other cats may not use it and use your furniture instead.
Placement of the scratching post is important. Since cats use scratching a way to mark their territory, the post needs to be in a prominent, high traffic spot, possibly nearby to the spot they are already scratching, or close to a napping spot. (Once your cat is using the post, you can slowly move it to a less in-your-face location.)
5. Use a combo of the FELISCRATCH® and FELIWAY® CLASSIC Spray or the FELIWAY® CLASSIC Diffuser.
If your cat is older and already scratching in inappropriate spots, like our Callie. The FELISCRATCH® will be great for encouraging your cat to scratch on a specific location. You can “double up” to increase your chance of successful retraining by using the FELIWAY CLASSIC Spray at the same time. Spray the FELIWAY® CLASSIC onto the area where don’t want your cat to scratch. The FELIWAY® CLASSIC will send “happy messages” to provide reassurance and stop your cat from scratching furniture.
To use the FELISCRATCH®, cut open the vial (be sure to do it over the sink to keep any of the liquid from spilling onto the floor) and apply the product to the scratching post every day for seven days Skip week 2, apply beginning of week 3 and week 4. Show your cat the scratching post and encourage her to use it with toys, scratching your fingernails over the material (my cats love that noise.) Or as in our case, physically show her where to scratch!
Be sure to praise your kitty with soothing words, ear and chin rubs every time she scratches the post, and possibly even reward her with treats as well so she will begin to associate the scratching post with positive experiences.
I think our efforts are paying off… It looks like Callie is getting a good scratch!
You can find FELISCRATCH® AND other FELIWAY® products from your veterinarian. (Visit Feliway.com for a locator.) Or at authorized online retailers like Amazon and HealthyPets.inc.
Now it’s your turn!
Do you have any additional tips to share that have helped you train your cat to the scratching post? Sound off in the comments below.
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About the Author
Jamie Sanders is a wife and mom of 2, located in the heart of Texas. She founded Scattered Thoughts of a Crafty Mom in 2011 as a place to share creative ideas and family friendly recipes. Her work has been featured on Martha Stewart, Woman’s World, HuffPost, TODAY, Pioneer Woman, HGTV, CNET, Good Housekeeping, Yahoo, Oprah Daily, and Redbook, plus many other publications. To date, she had given away just under a million free pdf sewing patterns.
We have one cat that may be 8 months old but possibly older. We a cat tree with 3 scratch posts attached, a single scratch post, one of those circular things with a ball and scratch pad and a cardboard box scratch pad. Not interested. She also does not seem effected by catnip so that does not help in getting her to the scratching area. She would prefer the carpet or furniture. I have tried rubbing her paws on the posts but that does nothing. Will your product help me?
Hi. My cat is 11 years old. Other than upholstered couch arms that I now keep covered she has for years been using a flat hanging scratch device placed on the floor. Now she has started scratching the rug next to the device and not on the device itself! I am afraid if if I move it to the floor she will still scratch the rug. Any advice?
I’ve heard of the Feliscratch, my neighbor is using it!
These are all great advice. My two cats loved their scratching post the minute they saw it. I will recommend Feliscratch to my friend. He loves his cats but is at wits end because of his damaged furniture.
I had no idea there was something that will help motivate cats to use the scratching post! Getting our pets to use a post instead of the couch is going to be a sanity saver.
These are great tips. I bet it keeps the kitty from scratching up furniture and other areas in the house. Perfect, going to share with my cat owner friends 😉
I have two cats. I keep the scratching posts out in the open where my kitties like to hang out.
My dad has a cat I bet he would find this super helpful. I’ll send it