Scratching is a normal, healthy behavior for cats. It stretches muscles, relieves tension, grooms nails, and is a form of feline communication by creating visual and scent marks. Scratching should be encouraged, on appropriate surfaces. Every cat should have at least one scratching post, and in a multiple cat home, there should be a post for each cat.
When purchasing a post, consider these factors:
Angle: Test out your cat’s angle preference by offering posts that are vertical (should be tall enough that your cat can reach way up and stretch his entire body), horizontal, and angled.
Stability: One of the key aspects of purchasing a post is ensuring its stability. Couches do not move when scratched. The post should not either.
Placement: Cats like to mark territory that they frequent. A cat post in the basement may not work if your cat hangs out in the living room.
Protecting furniture: Place posts near where your cat is currently scratching. Cover furniture temporarily. You can use clear laminate from an office supply store to cover areas. Spray the scratched area with Feliway to indicate to your cat that it’s already marked.
Training: Never force a cat to use a post, but you can lead your cat to it using a wand toy. Sprinkle catnip or use Feliscratch on the post to attract your cat. Reward with a treat and/or praise when your cat uses the post.