One of the most common problems facing cat households today is the cat’s love of scratching — everything. Scratching kitties can destroy furniture, causing their owners lots of grief. Many people will go out and purchase a post for their kitty — only to learn, “My cat will not use the scratching post.”
Cat Will Not Use the Scratching Post
According to Dr. Justine Lee, DVM, there are several reasons why cats are inclined to scratch.
They have scent glands under their paw pads, and so scratching is one way of claiming their territory. Digging into furniture also feels good to them because it allows them to stretch their muscles.
Another reason the cat’s scratching mode kicks in is that it helps wear down her nails.
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A cat’s claws are made up of several layers. To help the cat shed the old layers of her claws — you guessed it — she scratches! Clipping your cat’s nails often should help protect your furniture as well as your relationship with your kitty.
A word about the practice of declawing a cat: Declawing — essentially an amputation — not only takes away the cat’s ability to scratch, but it also takes away one of her defense options.
For this reason, many cat lovers smartly choose not to go that route. A scratching post is a good solution; it allows the cat to keep this feline behavior in practice. Keep in mind that your cat needs a strong, sturdy place to scratch, with a surface she can sink her claws into.
So how do you get her to use the post if she simply refuses?
Train Your Cat to Use the Post
Two methods of teaching your cat to use a scratching post include:
- Entice your pet to the post by holding treats near it, so she will come to you. Once she is close to the post, keep raising those treats, getting her to climb and capture the goodies. Do this daily for a while, giving your pet some time to get used to the post.
- Use the scratching post as a playground for you and your kitty. Swing or dangle a toy around the post so your kitty will go up and down to retrieve it.
Some people use catnip as a training tool. It’s harmless for cats and may even aid in digestion, but some experts say it’s useless as a way to get your kitty to use the scratching post.
However, you may find that it’s worth a shot to sprinkle some catnip on the surface and rub it in. If your cat doesn’t respond to the catnip, try Valarian or honeysuckle.
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You could also try placing the scratching post in the center of the room. This may attract your cat, since most felines love to be the center of attention. Then again, letting your kitty discover the post on her own may be the right technique.
Or…Give In and Switch Furniture
Worse comes to worst, you might consider switching to cat-friendly furniture. For example, microfiber is a wonderful material that holds up fairly well to punishment from cat scratching.
Training our pets (or children) in the way we want them to behave takes lots of time and attention. When your cat won’t use the scratching post, remember this: Kindness goes a long way in the training process. Your love and patience, along with a few treats, could prove to your cat that a scratching post is a great gadget to have around.
Watch this cat thoroughly enjoy his scratching post: