Cats have a natural urge to scratch. It helps them stretch and relax while simultaneously shedding old claw sheaths and sharpening new claws. If you don't buy your cat a scratching post, chances are that he'll turn to your furniture or carpet to satisfy his urge to scratch. Buying a scratching post your cat is sure to use isn't a simple task, however. Every cat prefers something different, so finding the right post for your pet is important. Here are some of the factors that go into choosing the right one.
Consider size: Cats come in a variety of sizes, and so do scratching posts. If you have a small kitten, a large post can be too big and uncomfortable for him to scratch. Similarly, if the post is too small, your cat won't be able to stretch out while he scratches and may end up not scratching the post at all. Pay attention to how your cat moves and stretches and look for a post tall enough to accommodate his length when he's stretched out.
Choose the right shape: Traditional scratching posts have a base and a round or square post. More and more shapes are available, and your cat may prefer one over the other. Watch if your cat stretches reaching upward or if he stretches out and scratches the carpet to determine the best shape for him.
A simple tower is great for cats who like to stretch upward while they scratch.
Look for a tower with a platform on top if your cat enjoys climbing and surveying the room after a good scratch.
Cats who like to stretch low will prefer a long cardboard or emery scratcher that you lay on the floor. A tilted scratcher would also work this kind of kitty.
S-shaped scratchers let your cat sit in one side and then stretch out to scratch the other. This work well for cats who like to roll and scratch while rubbing their faces on the scratcher.
Select a material: The most common material for scratching posts is carpet, but some cats prefer another material. Posts wrapped in jute or rope are sturdier and longer-lasting than carpet posts and are good for homes with multiple cats. Cats who spend time outside typically scratch on trees or fence posts and may enjoy a wooden scratching post indoors, too. Cardboard scratchers are easy and inexpensive to refill. Find a material that your cat enjoys scratching to encourage proper scratching behavior.
Look for extra features: Many cats just want a simple post, but lots of scratchable cat furniture has other features in it. If you'd like a scratcher that also serves as a place to play, look for one that is incorporated into a kitty condo. Even a little hiding spot on the back of the scratcher gives kitty something fun to explore and maybe even a place to nap.