Why Your Cat Needs a Scratching Post

Why Your Cat Needs a Scratching Post

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  1. Cats seem to have a mind of their own. While cats seek affection, at times it seems like they are not seeking our approval, like dogs do. Some of their behavior, like scratching furniture, is destructive. Frustrating as it may be, cats are not trying to annoy us with this behavior. Understanding why cats scratch, and providing a scratching post for them, can reduce frustration for both owner and cat.

    What are cats trying to say to us?

    Mostly, cats scratch a particular area, or item, repeatedly. Indoors, it could be a couch or a bed skirt. Outdoors, it could be a certain tree or fence post. Either way, they leave a visible mark that can be identified by us and other cats. It is a form of communication, perhaps territorial, yet even single, strictly indoor cats can exhibit this behavior.

    Cats actually have scent glands in their feet. They have different ways that they use their scent to mark an object, or even people. If you have seen them rubbing the side of their mouth or their tail area, they are also scent marking. In more extreme cases, cats mark with urine.

    Marking of any kind can be out of frustration. Cats need an area of their own where they can do “cat” things. Cats, young and old, need to play. They need exercise. They like heights and cubby holes where they can relax and hide. They also expect a clean litter box. Depending on their age and activity level, if they are deprived of what they need their behaviors may reflect that.

    What can I do?

    It is usually not too late to redirect your cats’ habits. They can be encouraged to use a scratching post by dangling a play object such as a feather toy, or string, by the post. Placing their paws on the post will not help. Reward them with food and your voice. More stubborn habits may require the use of a thick plastic cover. When they feel a difference in texture it can deter them from choosing that spot to scratch.

    Offer your cat more than one post. Put them in the most prominent areas where they sleep and play. Declawing your cat should only be considered a last resort, last ditch effort. More preferable, is finding a pet behaviorist or animal communicator who can work with you and your pet. Think of them as a translator or a kitty psychologist.

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