Scratching posts come in all shapes and sizes. They range from elaborate multi-level trees to simple homemade versions. With so many choices, you may be wondering how to find the perfect cat scratching post for your needs. In the last part of this series, we will look at the different types of scratching posts in order to help you find the best cat scratching post and save your furniture in the process.
Finding the perfect scratching post
Providing a scratching post is one of the best ways to prevent cats from scratching and destroying your furniture. However, a scratching post is only effective if your cat uses it. In order to pick a scratching post your cat will want to use, you will need to know about the options available and your cat’s scratching habits and preferences.
Scratching posts can be made from several different materials, including carpet, cardboard, wood, and sisal rope. Sisal rope is made from the Agave sisalana plant. It is environmentally friendly, strong, and rough. It is durable and can last for many years.
One way to decide which material your cat might like is to consider what surfaces she likes to scratch in your home. Is it carpet, wood, or fabric on furniture that is most attractive?
According to one internet survey, the most common scratching post material offered to cats is carpet, but cats usually prefer a sisal scratching post. Only geriatric cats aged 10 to 14 preferred carpet over sisal rope according to this survey. Another study found that cats preferred vertical posts made from carpet and sisal rope over horizontal scratch pads made from cardboard and carpet.
There are a few reasons why carpet may not be the best choice. Carpet can catch a cat’s claws and pull on them. If you have carpet in your home, using a scratching post made from carpet might confuse your cat about where she is supposed to scratch.
Size & design
Cat scratching posts come in different sizes and designs. They can be vertical and upright, horizontal, angled, hanging, mounted, or included in multifunctional cat trees. To find out what your cat likes, you can offer a variety of designs or pay attention to her habits.
If your cat likes to reach up and scratch furniture, a tall vertical scratching post with a wide base is probably a good choice. Your cat should be able to fully extend her body when using a vertical scratching post. Scratching posts should be sturdy so that they don’t wobble or fall over.
Horizontal scratchers are boards or pads often made from cardboard. Cats stand on them and pull back their claws. Some cats like to walk or sleep on them. For horizontal scratchers, most cats prefer something that is stable and wide enough to walk on. Some come with posts and toys attached to them. These are often a good choice for older cats.
Angled scratchers can be made from cardboard or other materials. Cats can reach up and stretch on them and scratch backward. They allow cats a lot of flexibility in choosing scratching positions.
Hanging scratchers are hung from a doorknob and can be made from different materials. Some cats don’t like them because they move around too much. Wall cat scratchers can be attached to a wall with Velcro or screws to keep them stable.
Cat trees are another great option because they provide scratching posts and places to climb and sleep. They are taller and sturdier than most scratching posts. These are great for cats that like to climb.
According to some studies, cats scratch their scratching posts more frequently when they are given a simple upright type or a cat tree with two or more levels. Cats also preferred to scratch posts that were at least 3 feet tall. Most cats prefer tall scratching posts that allow them to reach up and stretch as they scratch.
Posts that were narrow were more popular with cats than wide posts. Cats preferred posts with a base width of 3 feet or less over posts with a base width of 5 feet or more. Cat trees with two or more levels were the best choice for preventing inappropriate scratching. Scratchers that attach to the wall were the least effective.
Location & placement
Another question to consider is where to put scratching posts in order to make them attractive to cats. The best locations include resting areas, next to things your cat likes to scratch, near windows, or in places where you spend time.
Scratching posts should be changed infrequently if at all. Cats prefer scratching posts that have their scent and visual markings. It is also best not to move scratching posts because cats are creatures of habit and prefer that things stay the same.
If you have multiple cats, it is good to have at least one scratching post per cat in different locations around your house.
Variety & different options
If you are not sure about your cat’s scratching preferences, it is a good idea to offer a variety of options and to allow your cat to choose. Households with multiple cats, new cats, or kittens should also offer multiple choices.
Kittens should be offered a variety of types of surfaces such as sisal rope, carpet, cardboard, and wood. This will encourage them to use a variety of surfaces when they are adults. A recent survey found that kittens prefer S-shaped cardboard scratchers over rectangular ones.
Summary and conclusion
Scratching posts can be a great solution if your cat is scratching and destroying your furniture. The best cat scratching post depends on your cat’s specific preferences and needs. To choose a cat scratching post that your cat will use, you should take note of what she likes to scratch.
Based on the results of surveys, the ideal scratching post for preventing unwanted scratching uses sisal rope as a substrate, has a vertical surface, is at least 3 feet tall, has two or more levels, and has a base width between 1 and 3 feet. However, no two cats are the same, and it might be that your cat has a different preference. If you aren’t sure, try offering a variety of posts, and let her decide which one she likes best.