Scratching is a normal cat behavior, and animal welfare organizations and most veterinarians highly discourage declawing cats. In fact, declawing is illegal in many countries. So, it’s important for cat owners to find an effective home setup that allows cats to scratch without damaging curtains, furniture, and other household items.
Placing scratching posts around the house can help cats scratch safely and deter them from scratching furniture. You can find a variety of scratching posts and toys that are suitable for different life stages. Our recommendations can help you find a scratching post that your cat likes and prevent scratching inappropriate surfaces.
The Best Cat Scratching Posts for Every Stage of Life
1. Kittens: Scratching Pad
Kittens will start to develop scratching behavior when they’re around 8 weeks old. It’s often easiest to train kittens to scratch scratching posts and prevent them from developing a habit of scratching furniture because they’ve yet to develop a preference for scratching certain surfaces.
For the most part, a scratching pad is the best option for kittens. This is because traditional scratching posts may be too wide for kittens and feel awkward for them when they try to scratch. A scratching pad usually has a sticky adhesive side that you can stick to doors and furniture. It’s ideal for kittens because you can control the height placement, which enables your kitten to get a good grip on them.
2. Adult Cats: Sisal Scratching Post
Adult cats will usually benefit from having a few upright scratching posts placed around the house. The benefit of having an upright scratching post is that it allows your cat to get a good stretch in. They’ll love reaching up and sinking their claws into the scratching post while they stretch their muscles.
Many cat trees have built-in scratching posts, which further encourage cats to climb and get some exercise. Most cats like sitting at a high vantage point where they can observe their surroundings and rest in a safe spot. So, it’s worth investing in a cat tree with scratching posts for your adult cat.
3. Senior Cats: Horizontal Scratching Board
One common age-related health issue for cats is reduced mobility. Older cats may have difficulty positioning themselves on their hind legs to scratch an upright scratching post. Your cat may also develop arthritis as they age and have more difficulty moving and climbing around.
Cats will still want to scratch, regardless of their age. So, it’s important to make adjustments and find a scratching post that makes scratching easy for senior cats. Many cats will appreciate having the option of a horizontal scratching board when they age. These types of scratching boards can help older cats scratch without straining their backs, and they can still get a good stretch in.
Other Factors to Consider for Cat Scratching Posts
Another important factor to consider when looking for a scratching post is texture. Cats have preferences for the types of textures they want to scratch. Many cats like gripping and scratching sisal. However, some cats may prefer softer materials like carpet or fabric. Corrugated cardboard is also a popular scratching material for many cats.
So, if your cat doesn’t seem to take to scratching a traditional sisal scratching post, you may want to consider exploring scratching posts made with other materials. Switching up the texture can make all the difference in getting your cat to scratch a scratching post instead of your furniture.
In general, kittens will benefit from scratching pads, and most adult cats will like scratching posts. You’ll also want to consider adding the option of horizontal scratching boards when your cat ages into seniorhood. If your cat doesn’t take to using their scratching post, try switching to a scratching post made with a different material.
Finding the right scratching board for your cat is often an effective method for preventing cats from scratching furniture. Investing some time into finding the right scratching post for your cat can end up saving your furniture without discouraging your cat from expressing normal cat behavior.
Featured Image Credit: Daga_Roszkowska, Pixabay