All cats are born with a great desire to scratch. Unfortunately, they are not born with the knowledge of knowing an appropriate place to fulfill that desire.
Even cats that have been declawed (a procedure Pets Adviser advocates against) are inclined to use their innate scratching abilities.
Whether cats are scratching as a means of removing dead nail tissue or to marking their territory with scents from their paw pads, it can wreak havoc on household furnishings and carpeting. Giving your cat his own “scratching space” will not only satisfy his natural instincts — it will also extend the life of your carpets and furniture.
If you prefer the quick solution, you can easily find a ready-made scratching post or an inexpensive cat scratcher incline. For those of you who are blessed to be do-it-yourselfers (and have some wood lying around), building your cat a scratching post would be a great project, even if you’re on a tight budget.
Take notice of where and how your pet chooses to scratch. Although some cats show a preference for rough wood, such as tree bark or wood stumps, others may look for a flat, horizontal surface — perhaps a floor with thick carpeting. Then there are those felines that find an upright surface, like a sofa arm, to be the perfect place to sharpen those claws.
Building a Cat Scratching Post on the Cheap
Once you have pinpointed your kitty’s scratching techniques, your project can begin. Be sure to make the post in a way that your cat will be comfortable with, having no fear of it falling or swaying. The following guidelines may help:
- Secure a 4″ x 4″ board, at least 3 feet long, to a 2 x 2 square-foot base. The board should be 1 inch thick.
- Wrap the post in carpet, with the back side of the carpet out. Next, cover with fabric. Fabric from that sofa or pillow that Fluffy had the pleasure of destroying will work for this covering.
- Rub fresh catnip over the fabric. Repeating this step often will keep the post smelling “catnip fresh” continuously.
- Place your finished product near your kitty’s favorite scratching location.
In no time, your cat will have his homemade post filled with his scent and will keep coming back to indulge in more scratching.
Tips for Success
Offer your cat praise and treats for scratching in the right place. Treats work well as rewards, but also give him a more personal award too: Sharing a little playtime with him or giving him some loving little rubs is often just as pleasing to your pet as a tasty treat.
Keep some of your cat’s favorite toys near his scratching post to entice him to use it.
As long as your cat’s interactions are positive with the scratching post — regardless of whether it was store-bought or homemade — your family (including kitty) should be pleased.
I’ve written a few other articles about cats that you might enjoy. You can find out why cats always sit on paper, what a slow blink from a cat might mean, and why some cats drool when they purr. Also, you can learn why cats bump their head against you all the time, why they like laser pointers so much, why they chirp at bugs, and how the cat brain stacks up against the human brain. Whew! Cats are fascinating, aren’t they?