If your cat has started creating scratch marks on your furniture or couch, then it is probably the best time to introduce it to a scratching post. It is also very important in stopping your cat from scratching your furniture.
This is because as the natural instinct of your cat begins to kick in, it would begin to scratch anything it can lay its claws on. This includes even your furniture. In this article, we shall be taking a look at how to select the best scratching post for your cat as well as how to put catnip on the scratching post.
Identify the best position for the cat scratching post and then begin training
The position of the scratching post matters. Selecting the right area is important if the scratching post is to be effective. Scratching behaviors of the cat also affect the placement of the post. In contrast to human preferences, placing a scratching post in corners and other hidden locations isn’t always the best option for cats. There are certain reasons for this.
Why do we notice cat scratching behavior in the home?
- Territory marking is one of the main reasons for scratching behavior in cats. Putting their scents and making scratch marks on different objects serve as both auditory and visual representations to other cats. This is one of the most important factors to consider when placing the scratching post. It would make sense that a cat will not go to a corner to mark its territory. This is why having a scratching post in an area that is easily noticeable around the home is more attractive to your cat.
- Scratching is also a way of stretching the body muscles in a cat. The feet, toes, and shoulders are areas where they focus on. Morning is their favorite time to perform this action. This is why the best spot for the scratching post is close to where your cat prefers to sleep.
- It also indicates a spot they love. This is especially noticeable on the carpet in the home. If you observe a spot where your cat loves scratching, this is a good area to set up the scratching post. This can be a good way to get your cat to understand that you prefer her scratching the post.
- Cats also enjoy scratching the sides of the furniture or arms of a couch. To stop them from doing this, you can use a blanket. Simply tuck it tightly into the couch. The blanket should be heavy so the cat will not be able to get underneath. Once this is done, set up the post in front of the furniture or couch. This will attract the cat once it finds out it cannot get to the furniture or couch. You can then slowly begin moving the post once the cat gets used to it.
Placing scratching posts effectively
- Having multiple scratching posts is a favorable move. You should place them in different areas of the home to make them more effective. This will keep furniture in various locations safe.
- You can determine the best position by examining the scratch marks on the furniture. Is it on the carpet or under the bed? Is it high or low? These are a few questions to ask.
There are various types of placements, vertical, angled, or horizontal. Cats love scratching on different surfaces so place the post or pad accordingly.
Raising your Cat’s Interest in the Scratching Post
It is quite normal to have a cat show very little interest in a scratching post. All you need is to take an extra step in showing them the excellent surface you have put in place. Below are some methods which are quite effective in helping your cat discover the scratching post and making use of the post.
Nepetalactone is a chemical compound that attracts cats. This compound is present in the mint-like herb, Catnip. In cats, the chemical can induce a form of high. There are different forms through which you can obtain catnip including dried, spray, plant, pellet, or dried.
Some people also grow their own catnip for use. It is essential you control the quantity of catnip you give your cat and also observe for changes in behavior. You can make use of homemade toys or purchase refillable toys for this purpose. This herb is an excellent option for training cats.
Buying the best catnip for your cat
Purchase organic catnip
Catnip which is grown using Organic means is usually an excellent option. These are more effective, fresher, chemical-free, and pest free. It is also available in various forms such as spray, pellet, dried, oil, flake, and fresh.
Buy loose catnip
The potency of catnip depends on the quantity of nepetalactone that is present in it. When you go out to purchase loose catnip, go for one with more blossoms and leaves than the stem. This is more effective thanks to higher chemical content.
Purchase a catnip spray
A catnip spray is a great choice for users looking for nepetalactone in lower concentrations. By spraying the content on certain toys or furniture, you can reduce interest in others. For example, spraying on your cat’s bed will prevent it from sleeping on the couch. The best form of spray is one with no preservatives or chemicals. These are those with all-natural ingredients.
Grow fresh catnip
For cat owners with a garden, you can grow your own supply of catnip. It is also possible to purchase a catnip plant. This gives you the option of indoor or outdoor grooming. Moisture and sunlight in the right amounts are the essential requirements.
You can then cut some leaves for your cat when necessary. It can eat, chew, rub against, or paw at these leaves.
You also have the option of drying the fresh catnip. When dried, you can store for future use.
Ration catnip for your cat
Excessive use of catnip will cause it to lose its effectiveness on the cat. The “high’ which the catnip induces in your cat usually lasts 5-15 minutes but can completely wear off. This is why you should limit the use to once a week. Your cat will take about two hours before it starts acting normal. Catnip will not affect the cat during this time.
Rationing is not always the solution. In kittens, they have to get to 12 weeks old for catnip to become effective. Catnip also has no effect on an estimated 30% of cats.
How to place catnip on the scratching post
Catnip is not effective on all cats. Kittens also do not have any interest in this herb. On the other hand, there are lots of other cats that love the chemical from catnip.
For anyone with a cat that likes this herb, you can go on and sprinkle some on the top and base of the scratching post. You will notice the cat kneading her paws after licking the catnip. The cat will then notice this surface as an excellent scratching surface. Below are some other ways of placing catnip on your cat’s scratching post. They include:
Use a spray
Scratches on their furniture fascinate no one. Cat claws can do this quite easily. To avoid this, it is important to attract them to other surfaces. A lot of cats have this bad habit. The use of a catnip spray is a great alternative. The spray attracts the cat to the scratching post anytime it feels it needs to stretch its muscles. The scratching post suddenly becomes more attractive than any couch around the home.
Hang the catnip
There are different ways to place catnip. One very simple way is to hang the catnip on the top of the post. You can also put it in a toy and put it atop the scratching post. There are refillable toys that are applicable to such situations.
You can also give your cat the catnip through other means.
- It is safe for cats to ingest or chew dried catnip
- You can put catnip in toys for the cat
- Choose an area where you will sprinkle catnip for the cat to lick
Storing the catnip
For anyone who purchases loose catnip, storage is very important. You should store it in a sealed container and place it in a high cupboard. This is to prevent the cat from taking excessive quantities of catnip.
Other methods of getting the cat to use the scratching post
- Place the scratching post on the side: this is an important step when introducing a cat to a scratching post. You can also sprinkle catnip on the post while applying this method. You should also play around with the post. Wand toys also make it more effective. As soon as the cat gets used to scratching the post, you can then stand it. The cat will want to climb to the top to keep scratching.
- Treats: offering treats for any positive behavior is quite helpful. You should take it step-by-step. Give the cat some treats if it investigates or sniffs the post. When it gets used to this, move on to the next step. Only give it treats when it puts its paw on the post. The next treat will come for scratching the post. The cat will also try climbing the post if there is a treat on top. Since the treats will serve as a positive experience, the cat will keep repeating the action on the post. It will keep scratching to get more of the treats.
- Play: there are lots of other methods to use in making your cat use the scratching post. One of these is by playing around with the scratching post. A cat toy with a wand design can be very helpful in this situation. It can be very useful in getting the cat to stretch higher. The cat will like to place its paw on the scratching post while trying to get the toy. Placing a toy that the cat loves on top of the scratching post will also get it to climb. The cat may find it interesting to scratch the post as she climbs.
- If you have more than one cat, you will need more than one scratching post. You should also arrange the scratching posts together while throwing toys close to them. This will get the cats playing around and attract them to the scratching post.
If you try forcing your cat by grabbing and placing its paws on the post, you won’t get any positive results. Cats love doing things on their terms. This is why they will likely avoid the scratching post if you grab their paws and place it on the post. This method can be quite effective if you use it on a kitten. It is more effective if there is no adult cat around.
Avoid Negative Training Methods
There are certain training methods that are known for the negative effects they produce. These include the use of mousetraps, using water to squirt the cat, yelling, coins in cans to make noise, and others. These techniques can cause negative reactions and also lead to injuries.
Using any of these techniques is ineffective with cats and they also avoid anything you are trying to achieve. Some of the negative behaviors which these methods can induce include defecating on carpets and personal items.
They can also refuse to eat and go into hiding. To avoid such unacceptable behaviors, use positive reinforcements like offering treats for any acceptable acts by the cat. The same is also applicable to the use of the scratching post.
A scratching post is a very crucial tool to have if you live with cats. This seemingly unimportant tool is certain to save you from a lot of trouble down the road.