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How to Choose a Scratching Post for Cats

Renuka Savant Feb 29, 2020
Choosing the right scratching post for your pet cat is a crucial decision to take, especially if you don't want your furniture and drapery to be mutilated by your bored cat.

The purpose of scratching is ...

... to allow cats to leave their scent and visual markings, stretch their bodies, and sharpen their claws.
To cats, scratching is second nature, something which most cat keepers fail to realize. People unduly associate this feline quality with deliberate destruction, and end up punishing the poor pet instead, or worse, get the cat declawed. Not only is declawing inhumane and unimaginably painful, it will leave you with a pet cat who will remain listless throughout her lifetime, having lost a vital part of her body to your sense of comfort.

Understanding the Importance of Scratching

Scratching is enormously relaxing for cats. It gives them the opportunity to stretch their body, easing out any tense muscles. More importantly, scratching tears away the old claw sheath, and allows cats to sharpen the new claw formed underneath.
Cats usually chew off the old claw sheaths from their hind legs, but for their front paws, it is easy for them to hook their nails on to a scratching surface and rip off the old layer of cuticle.
So, as you can clearly see, buying a scratching post is an indispensable duty when you have a pet cat. Unless, of course, you're okay with your precious piece of furniture being converted into one.

Common Varieties of Scratching Posts

Tree barks or wooden stumps or fence posts double up as excellent scratching posts for outdoor cats. Also, some people choose to bring wooden logs for their indoor cats, which serve as scratching posts.
Then there are commercial variants of scratching posts that come in different shapes, sizes, and are multipurpose. The material used in these could be carpet fabric, sisal rope, or corrugated cardboard.
While sisal rope, wood, and cardboard seem ideal surfaces for scratching posts, carpet fabrics do come with an element of risk. While the cat is sure to enjoy scratching on this surface,
remember that she may also be tempted to run her claws through your precious Persian rug, imagining it to be an extension of her scratching post. Do ensure that you give this point a good thought before you make a purchase.

Choosing the Best Scratching Post for Your Cat

The most common type of scratching posts are the ones that are tall. Such posts let the cat stand on her hind legs and stretch herself as she scratches the top of the post. A basic design like the one seen in this picture is a no-fuss scratching post.
The post itself is made up of sisal rope, while the base and the perch on top have been carpeted. This type is quite economical and widely available as well.
The types of scratching posts seen here are a tad fancier. They are made up of a sisal rope post that has several attachments to it.
These may include basic attachments like hanging toys filled with catnip for cats to play with. They may also have one or more chambers attached to them where the cat/s can hide. These may even be elaborate tree houses with several levels including perches, tunnels, caves, and slides for some pure feline fun.
A flat scratching post like the one pictured here is more suitable for kittens. This is because the claws of kittens tend to be tender than those of an adult cat, and they do not exert as much pressure while scratching.
Such flat scratching posts are also suitable for adult cats, as long as they are big enough to let the cat stand over it as she scratches.
And finally, we've got the undisputed winner among all scratching posts - the packaging box of the scratching post. Those who are familiar with feline behavior, understand their pet cat's omnipresent fascination with cardboard boxes.
Cats love to hide in them, scratch them, and basically have immeasurable fun with them. Cardboard boxes are very economical and readily available, so for those of you who are on a budget, this can serve the purpose.
A scratching post is an indispensable piece of cat furniture that certainly qualifies as a must-have. For cats, it is as much a necessity, as it is a source of relaxation. So what are you waiting for? Go right ahead and make your cat scratch-happy!