Cat Scratching Posts: An Overview
Who needs cat scratching posts? Anyone who a) has a cat and b) doesn’t want that cat scratching up the furniture in their home. Cats scratch. That’s just a fact of life. (And an unfortunate one if your cat decides to scratch your brand new living room sofa.) And they scratch for a variety of reasons. As a form of exercise or play. To groom their claws. Even to take out some of their aggressions. And while you can try to train your cat not to scratch, doing so would be like trying to train your baby not to play.
A better alternative (for you, your cat, and your sofa) is to give your cat something else to exercise their need to scratch on. And that’s where a scratching post comes in.
What is a Scratching Post?
A cat scratching post can be any item in your home that exists for the sole purpose of giving your cat something they can freely scratch up. Something as simple as a wooden block tucked away in a corner somewhere can qualify as a cat scratching post.
However, while there are all sorts of things that a cat owner might consider a good scratching post candidate, that doesn’t mean your cat will. The whole point of a scratching post is to give your cat something they’d enjoy scratching more than the legs of your dining room table. So you want to choose something that is as appealing to your cat as it can possibly be.
Simple Cat Scratching Posts
When it comes to cat scratching posts, cat owners have a wide variety to choose from. You can buy something basic and simple, which is designed to take care of your cat’s basic scratching needs and little else. Or you can buy a fully tricked out, cat resort that’s designed to give your cat a place to scratch, rest, exercise and play.
If you have a cat that likes to spend a lot of time outside, they probably already do a lot of scratching on trees, wooden fence posts, and so on. If you are buying a cat scratching post, it’s probably to give them something to scratch on those rare days when they can’t go outside for some reason. In that case, you might not need anything too fancy. A simple, standard cat scratching post will probably do. These scratching poles are usually made up of a base, a pole, and some kind of scratch-able covering. And, because they are so simple, they take up very little space.
You might also consider buying a scratching post that looks very natural and organic. If your cat has a blast scratching up the trees outside, he will probably appreciate having his own “tree-trunk” to scratch up indoors.
Fancy Cat Scratching Posts
If your cat spends a lot of time indoors, you should consider something a little fancier than the standard scratching posts. After all, why buy something that only satisfies your cats scratching needs when you can buy something that serves double or even triple duty.
Combination cat scratching posts are designed to satisfy a combination of your cats needs. Along with things to scratch, some have attached cat toys, to give your cat something to play with. Others have mats, to give your cat something to sleep—or just lounge around—on. Still others have multiple platforms, giving your cat something to climb.
There are some pretty extravagant combination cat scratching posts out there. But keep in mind that it is for your cat. It doesn’t matter how fancy a cat scratching post is if your cat won’t actually use it.
Buying a Cat Scratching Post
When you start shopping around for a cat scratching post, take care. You don’t have to treat it like a major purchase, like buying a house or a car. However, you do want it to meet three criteria. First, it should be safe for your cat to use. Secondly, it should be easy to take care of. And, third, it should be worth the price.
The cat scratching post you choose should be sturdy, with a thick, solid base. Basically, no matter how enthusiastically your cat pounces on it, it shouldn’t topple over. So, when buying cat scratching posts, check them for sturdiness.
Cats are fastidious creatures. They like things that are clean and neat. And if their cat scratching post is dirty or unkempt, they just might stop using it, and decide they’d rather scratch up your nice, clean drapes instead. So choose a cat scratching post with materials that will be easy to clean and take care off. You also want one with materials that can withstand a lot of wear and tear.
As for price, buying a cheap cat scratching post might be really tempting. But these cheap posts are often made of even cheaper materials that don’t last long and are hard to keep clean. A cat scratching post covered with carpet might cost less, but one covered with sisal will be more durable, and will last longer.
The right cat scratching post can not only give your cat a place to scratch and play, it can also save your belongings from being clawed to pieces. So, when buying a cat scratching post, make sure you choose one that is sturdy, easy to take care of, and that your cat will actually choose over scratching up your end tables or drapes. Your furniture will thank you.