Do Cat Scratchers Really Work?

March 04, 2021 4 min read

Do Cat Scratchers Really Work?

It can be pretty upsetting to come home and find your living-room furniture has been completely remodelled by your furry friend and their claws. 

Don’t worry—we’ve all been there. 

But there are things you can do to help reduce and even prevent your cat from scratching your beloved chaise lounge or antique coffee table. 

It’s important to note that cats don’t scratch our favourite things because they hate us and are trying to get revenge on us for taking them to the vets. 

In fact, you’ll be relieved to know that it’s actually part of their instinctive behaviour and provided you have much more appealing products for them to scratch instead of the door of your rented apartment, you may be able to prevent losing that deposit when you move.

Why do cats scratch?

As well as scratching being part of the innate nature of a cat, there are many other reasons why they get the urge to scrape their claws across your furniture. 

Scratching helps remove the dead outer layer of their claws, similarly to us trimming or filing down our nails. 

They also scratch to stretch out their bodies. You may notice that your cat enjoys scratching as soon as they’ve woken up from a long nap and they do a little yoga stretch before sinking their claws into the nearest available surface. 

Cats have sweat glands in between the pads of their feet. So, when they scratch, as well as leaving the visual mark of their claws in your favourite rug, they also leave behind a little scent as a way of marking their territory. 

They may also scratch when they get excited about something, which is why you might notice them scratching more when you get in from work or just before you serve up their dinner. 

How to get my cat to use a scratcher 

It’s natural for cats to want to scratch but that doesn’t mean it has to be at the expense of your (or your landlords) furniture. 

In fact, with the right scratcher, your cat may learn to stay away from your favourite rug and stick to its own post. 

If you haven’t had much luck with a cat scratcher so far, it doesn’t mean that scratchers don’t work. 

In fact, cat scratchers are a great way of getting your cat to keep its claws in check, and there may be some things you can do to tempt your companion to the post.  

If they aren’t using the scratcher you’ve provided, there could be many reasons why. 

A good cat scratcher needs to be strong and sturdy, so if the scratcher tips when your cat is flexing its claws, it may discourage them from using it. 

Cats are also stubborn when it comes to where they like to spend their time. So, if you’ve hidden the scratcher away in a corner they don’t normally venture, they might not be interested.  

Try placing the scratcher in the areas they most like to scratch, such as beside the sofa or near their food bowl.

 You could even try enticing them to the scratcher by adding some catnip. 

Some  scratchers are made with catnip already in the material making them even more appealing. 

There are lots of different scratchers on the market and it can be difficult to know which one will be best for your kitty.

What scratcher would be best for my cat 

Cats love to scratch vertically and horizontally which is why they are attracted to sofas, doors, and rugs. 

A scratcher that is  vertical or  horizontal and tall enough to allow your furbaby to extend into a full-body stretch whilst they flex their claws is ideal.  

A vertical scratcher also works as a great space-saver in your living-room as it sits up against the wall.

Again, make sure you invest in a scratcher sturdy enough to support your cat’s weight whilst they stretch and scratch. 

If you have a particularly large cat, then a  wall pad scratcher that can be attached to the wall using a Velcro strip might be more suitable. 

You might also try placing a  horizontal scratcher on your rug or carpet to encourage your cat to use the scratcher instead. 

Cats need to scratch on a material that is going to be good for shredding and filing down those sharp claws. 

Corrugated cardboard is a popular material with cats as it's easy to shred, creates delightful scratching sounds and makes satisfying claw marks. 

Cat trees and cat cubes are really popular because they combine scratching with hiding spots for your cat, creating a fun little nook for your cat to play. 

Consider a  cat box that has scratching material on the outside and in, offering double the scratching and double the fun for your feline friend!

To add some interest and some different scratching positions for your cat to try, consider an  inclined scratching post, tucked away in your cats favourite hiding spots, such as inside the closet or under the bed.

Another important thing to keep in mind when choosing the right scratching post for your cat is whether it is safe. 

Whilst most manufacturers will do all they can to ensure their product is safe for your pet, you should always double-check to make sure the materials used are non-toxic and safe, so your kitty can scratch away to their heart’s content.  

Don’t be put off from using a cat scratcher that hasn't worked in the past. 

Cat scratchers are a great way to keep your feline friend happy and healthy without having to sacrifice your furniture.

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