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Cat Scratching Post - Do You Need One?

Mar 6, 2008
Unless you don't care at all about your soft furnishings and carpets, then the answer to the question "do you need a cat scratching post?", for most cat owners, has to be a resounding yes.

Even if your cat goes outdoors a lot, where he will use trees or fence posts to sharpen his claws, it's still a good idea to provide an indoor scratching post.

Cats will scratch, whether you like it or not, so providing something other than your furniture to scratch on is a must. Cats actually need to scratch to remove the outer sheath on their claws as the claws grow, in order to expose the new claws. Some experts say that cats also scratch to exercise their muscles, to stretch, to mark their territory and just because they like it. I suspect that they like the attention they get when they try to scratch your sofa too.

You could make a scratching post from a log or similar but there are so many available on the market which are quite inexpensive, that you're sure to find something suitable. Of course, you could always buy a tree in a pot, if you have the room for it and if you can anchor it to the floor or wall so that it doesn't fall over when the cat stretches against it.

There are quite plain cat scratching posts which are covered in carpet or sisal rope, some with a dangling pompom for the cat to play with. These come in a variety of heights, so that for a very large cat you have the option of a taller post and indeed there are horizontal ones which will save you worrying about whether the cat will outgrow his post. Then things get more complicated with dual posts and dangling pompoms, wide scratching boards, scratchable steps or stools so that the cat can look out of the window as well. After that, we progress to entire play units which can incorporate a scratching post with tunnels, shelves, toys and more. Some of these incorporate three different surfaces for scratching, including part of a real tree as well as carpet, cardboard or sisal rope.

Whichever type you choose, make sure that the base is heavy and wide enough that the cat won't pull it over when scratching. The height should be greater than the height of the cat when upright, if you are opting for the vertical variety so that he can really stretch his whole body properly. If your cat is the playful type, then why not invest a little more in a complete playstation and scratching post. This will give your cat a great outlet for his energy if he doesn't go outside or even on rainy days, when he really doesn't want to.

Buying a cat scratching post is rewarding for both your cat and yourself. Your cat will appreciate the facility and your furnishings may just last a little longer.
About the Author
Liz Canham is the proud owner (or maybe servant) of three cats and is webmistress of The Cat Lover.
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