Expert Tips To Choose A Cat Scratcher And Scratching Post

A scratching post is vital for any well-adjusted, healthy cat. If you are an experienced cat owner you will know that these furry animals have an unstoppable need to scratch and making sure they have a pad or post for that purpose will help save your drapery, furniture and carpeting from certain destruction. Cats also need a scratcher or scratching post for exercise and stretching and to get rid of old nails.

What follows will help you to choose a cat scratcher and scratching post for your four-legged friend.

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1. Why should I monitor my cat's scratching habits before buying a scratching post?

Take a couple of days to watch how your feline house-guest scratches objects such as furniture or carpets in your home. Take note whether he or she prefers to scratch in a horizontal position or to stretch out vertically. Do they have a clear preference for a specific type of material, e.g. your lounge carpet? Do they like to scratch higher up, e.g. the back of your very expensive couch? This will help you to choose the right type of cat scratcher - see below.

2. Should I choose a horizontal, vertical, hanging or mounted cat scratcher?

If your cat prefers to scratch low, e.g. the lounge carpet, then a horizontal scratcher that remains flat on the floor will be your best option. If he or she, however, prefers to scratch something higher up, a vertical scratcher will do the trick. In this case look for a stand-alone, wall-mounted or hanging model.

What are the benefits of a horizontal scratching post? These are placed flat on the floor, and sometimes have a fairly low ridge. They are often round or rectangular but could be any other shape. It might be possible to attach another small scratcher or toys to one end.

A horizontal scratcher provides your cat with good shoulder and back exercise. This movement has another benefit: it resembles the actions of a wild cat marking its territory in nature.

What are the benefits of vertical scratchers? This type of cat scratchercan consist of a stand-alone post, but one also gets those that can hang from a doorknob or have to be mounted to a wall. All of the above enables your cat to get a really good stretch and to fully extend his or her arms out and up. Another benefit is that when they pull downward from this position old claws are released. Make sure you buy a scratcher that is tall enough for your cat to fully extend his paws, arms and claws.

Take note that this type of scratcher has to be somewhat sturdier, so expect to pay more than for a horizontal scratcher.

Horizontal Cat Scratcher in Cat Head Style
Horizontal Cat Scratcher Lounge & Bed
Horizontal Cat Scratching Wooden Board
Vertical Simple Classic Scratching Post
Vertical Rattan Cat Scratching Post
Vertical Scratching Cat Tree

3. What materials are best for cat scratchers?

When you look online or visit your nearest pet store, you will immediately notice that there are many different types of materials available. You will have to choose from natural wood, rope, cardboard or fabric, or a combination of these.

Older cats often find cardboard easier to scratch, while outdoor cats normally love a more natural material. One of the most popular options is sisal rope. The benefit of sisal is that, as your cat scratches, it captures and removes old, dead claws. Cardboard is not as good with removing old claws, but it does provide a gentler way for cats to mark their territory and relieve aggression.

Carpet-covered cat scratchers might look good, but they are not very effective to keep your cat's claws in good shape. Cats also find it difficult to genuinely dig in their claws, and if the latter get stuck it might put of the cat completely.

Also consider how much clean-up you are prepared to do. Sisal, for example, is much less messy than cardboard, which typically leaves the floor covered with minute pieces of debris.

Wooden Round Cat Scratching Post
Rope Square Cat Scratching Board
Wooden Cat Scratching Board
Rope Cat Scratching Post Replacement Part
Plush Cat Tree with Rope Scratching Post
Cat Tree with Multiple Teasers and Sisal Posts

4. How do I choose from among the many different types of cat scratchers and their features?

When it comes to cat scratchers, the single scratching board typically consisting of a wooden board covered in some or other material is normally the cheapest. Horizontal or vertical, it does the basic job required from a cat scratcher.

The next step up is a multi-level scratching post. As the name implies, these cat scratchers have several levels so your furry friends can also satisfy their natural urge to climb and explore. Apart from one or more scratching boards, they often also feature a tunnel or two to explore and perhaps a number of toys to keep the cat entertained.

But of course there are also much fancier models out there. There are scratchers with multi-level constructions that offer much more than a place for your cat to scratch. An example is a really fancy scratcher/lounger which also provides your cat (or cats) with areas to play, exercise, and take a nap.

The ultimate scratching post is probably a cat tree. One of these will enable your cat to experience the indoors equivalent of climbing a tree and sit high up in the room watching the world below. Cats normally love climbing trees, and this type of scratching post gives them all the benefits of the more basic models, plus the opportunity to get lots of exercise while enjoying themselves.

Jessica started out as an interior photographer, but her love of pretty settings took her to the field of interior design, where she can combine two of her greatest passions, creating and then capturing the beauty of homes.