Exercise Your Cat With a Scratching Post

For a cat, a scratching post is an essential item to have in the house for exercise and to maintain healthy claws. There are a large number of scratching post materials and types in the market today, and having more than one option for your cat can add variety and prevent your cat from ripping apart furniture, stereo speakers, carpets or any other household items.

Types of Scratching Posts

Scratching posts can be made of several types of materials, textures, sizes and shapes including:

  • wood
  • carpet
  • cardboard
  • sisal rope
  • scratching pads
  • cat trees

Scratching pads are a great choice for cats that prefer horizontal scratching that they can't get from a post (but they can get from your carpet). Which type of scratching post or pad you buy depends on your cat's personal preferences. Horizontal and vertical scratching surfaces in different areas of the house offer variety and may prevent your cat from taking out scratching stress on your own belongings. Cat scratching trees are also a great option because they often combine horizontal and vertical scratching surfaces and offer a variety of textures and materials in one tree. More options means more activity and exercise for your cat.

Exercise and Behavioral Benefits

Advantages of using a scratching post:

  • Allows cats to take out aggression they might direct towards owners
  • Prevents declawing, an procedure that can lead to painful physical and behavioral problems in the short and long term
  • Encourages cats to stretch and work the muscles in their arms, legs and back
  • Offers stress relief and a way to mark their territory

When cats get a good scratch in, they use muscles in their body that help them to run, jump and move around freely, preventing obesity and contributing to a long and healthy life.

Getting Your Cat To Use The Post

Once you've bought at least one scratching post, tree or pad, the only way they will help is if the cat actually uses them. If your cat is still going for the leather couch, try rubbing catnip on the posts or hanging toys to encourage your cat to use the new surfaces. Discouraging bad habits can also lead your cat to the post. Try one of these preventative measures:

  • Bitter apple or other spray on the area they like to scratch, but shouldn't
  • Spray water or shake can of coins when problem scratching begins, making sure the cat doesn't see where the sound/water is coming from
  • Add double-sided tape to scratching surface
  • Scratch your own nails along the post, showing your cat the right place to scratch his claws to keep them healthy and his body strong