Do Scratching Posts Work?

One of the biggest complaints most cat owners have is that they have trouble getting their cats to stop scratching the furniture. The obvious answer to the problem is to get a scratching post, but do scratching posts work?

Many people that have gotten scratching posts for their cats, ended up wasting money because the cats didn’t use them.

It’s not that cats don’t use scratching posts, it’s probably that a lot of cat owners are getting the wrong types of scratching posts. There are many different types, and what works for one cat may not work for another. Today, we are going to look at the scratching posts for kittens, adult cats, and senior cats.

Getting Your Kitten to Use Scratching Post

The easiest time to train a cat to not scratch furniture is when it is a kitten. You need to have a quality scratching post, and luckily, most scratching posts are attractive to kittens.

If your kitten has already started scratching furniture, you will need to place the scratching post as close to the furniture as possible. That way, when you see your kitten scratching furniture, you can redirect them to the scratching post.

Method to Attract

You may have heard that cats will be more attracted to a scratching post when you sprinkle catnip around the base or spray the post with liquid catnip. This isn’t likely to work with your kitten; many kittens are not attracted to catnip. But, it is going to help a lot if you are trying to train an adult cat to use a scratching post.

You should also make the area the kitten is scratching as unattractive to them as possible. Block access to the area, put foil or sticky tape on the surface, etc.

Again, make sure that you are redirecting your kitten to the scratching post, praise them when they use it, and reward them with treats.

Training an Adult Cat to Use a Scratching Post

One of the main reasons why adult cats scratch on things is to mark their territory, which gives a visual notification that something is theirs, as well as leaves their scent (cats have scent glands in the pads of their paws). This is why you often see many scratching posts in a home where there are cats.

There should be a scratching post in every area that they use a lot. If you have an adult cat that loves to scratch furniture, you can train them to use the scratching post instead.

It will take more effort and time than it does with a kitten, but you can do it. This is the time to start using catnip to entice your cat to use the scratching post.

Adult cats shed the outer layer of their claws when they scratch on things, so don’t be alarmed if you find “claws” in their scratching post. This is perfectly normal and necessary for the health of their claws.

It is also a good idea to start regularly trimming your cat’s nails, so they don’t easily snag on things. They don’t always mean to claw at things, but they end up getting stuck anyway.

What About Senior Cats?

Just because they are starting to slow down, it doesn’t mean that senior cats don’t need, and use scratching posts. In fact, it is very important that they stretch their limbs to exercise their muscles, and often, a scratching post is the only exercise a senior cat gets.  Although you can also check out some of the best cat trees to give your senior cat more exercise.

A senior cat comfortable with using a scratching post will continue to do so, as long as they have access to one. If the senior cat has never used a scratching post, don’t worry, you can train them to do so.

Yes, they will likely be very stubborn about it at first, but with treats and catnip as incentives, they will soon realize that using the scratching post will bring rewards.

Conclusion: Do Scratching Posts Work?

No matter how old your cat is, it is never too late to train them to use a scratching post. Obviously, it is a lot easier to train a kitten that has not yet developed any bad habits, but with care and the right approach, and the right scratching post, you can get any cat to use the post and save yourself a lot of money on replacing furniture in the home.