Provide your cat with suitable ‘scratchers’ where they can exhibit normal scratching behavior.
What Makes a Good Scratching Post or Pad?
Size and Shape
Most cats like to scratch vertically. So, they need a post that is taller than their body length to fully stretch and give a good scratch. If your cat is scratching carpet, try using a horizontal scratcher, to see if she prefers that shape.
The texture of the scratching post is also important. Many cats prefer sisal rope; others prefer corrugated cardboard or carpet on the scratching post.
It is important to experiment with a variety of textures and types of scratchers to determine which your cat prefers.
Ways to Train Your Cat to Use the Scratching Post
Location is very important. Cats often stretch or scratch when they wake up, so place one near your cat’s sleeping area. Important things to keep in mind:
- Consider placing a scratching post or pad near where your cat is currently scratching that is undesirable to you (i.e. in front of a couch leg). If your cat scratches somewhere other than the scratching post or pad; gently pick her up, take her to the scratcher, and then reward her.
- If your cat is scratching on furniture or carpet, do not punish her. Instead, pay attention to your cat’s position and the texture of the material when she scratches to help identify better choices of scratching posts for your cat.
- Place the scratching post next to the furniture your cat is scratching.
Remember that your cat learns best through positive reinforcement. As you are redirecting your cat to use her new scratching post or pad, make sure you give your cat a reward immediately (within 3 seconds) to reinforce the positive behavior. It is important to remember that you need to find a reward that your cat likes. Examples include: treats, catnip, interactive play, and petting or grooming.