Time to chat about cat scratching! Our felines have a need to scratch and their scratching preferences develop at a young age. Providing adequate scratching posts/trees will ensure your feline friend doesn’t seek your furniture for scratching. The trees/posts should meet your cats specific needs, they should be tall enough, the right texture, stable, and in a good location in the home.
Kittens: This is the age where scratching preferences develop. Most cats stretch upward to scratch on a cat tree or post while others like to scratch horizontally on a scratching pad or cat tree base. Paying attention to textures will be important at this age cats may like carpet, sisal rope, or cardboard. Knowing which your cat prefers will ensure your furniture remains intact! If your kitten starts to show interest in scratching an undesirable surface in the home you can either place a cat tree near the area he’s interested in or redirect to the desired scratching spot while still learning as a kitten.
Adults: There are many reasons cats scratch, one of the main reasons is to mark their territory. The marks left over from scratching is a visual sign for other cats passing by this territory is occupied. Cats also leave pheromones behind when scratching. Cats have special scent glands in their paws that leave information behind for passing cats should they approach the scratched post. If you see what looks to be a nail near where your cat is scratching try not to worry as cats also scratch to keep their nails in good shape! Scratching can remove that outer most layer which is what we may see by their trees or posts. You can also help keep their nails in good shape by keeping them trimmed.
Seniors: Our older kitties utilize scratching for exercise. This will keep them working and using their muscles. Having trees/posts readily available and easily accessible make it easier for cats to continue this healthy lifestyle. Another benefit to scratching is that it can be an emotional release for them. Whether they are happy, excited, anxious, or upset scratching allows them to let it out! Ever notice your cat zip through the house at top speed and then scratch his tree or post ?? No worries this is totally normal and is better his post than your favorite chair! Because our older kitties need to keep those muscles working it is important to have a taller cat tree so that they can fully extend and stretch out.
Knowing how important scratching is can help us to accommodate our feline friends need to scratch and save our furniture. Have fun picking out new scratching trees, posts, and pads for your favorite fur baby!