Why do cats scratch?
Scratching trees or scratching furniture is much more than claw care. Our cats also mark their territory with particularly deep and high scratch marks. The visible scratches are framed by scents that are released via the paw pads. They signal to other velvet paws: "This is all mine!". That's why not only house tigers, but also cats with free-range in their home need a scratching post. If you do not find a suitable one, you will live out your scratching and marking needs elsewhere - for example on the couch, a cupboard or on a wallpapered wall.
Sharpening the claws also strengthens the claw muscles of the animals and thus serves physical health. In addition, the claw sharpening ensures the mental balance of the animals. The ritual has a stress relieving effect.
When cats don't accept the scratching post
It happens that cats reject the offered copy. This can have several causes:
- The cat tree is too small
A cat tree is also a kind of watchtower for the cat. She climbs it to look at her territory from above. If the cat tree does not offer this possibility, it may be of no interest to the cat.
- The scratching area is too small.
Cats want to sharpen their claws at a certain height and set the area markings as high as possible. If the scratching surface is too deep or too small, it does not fulfill its purpose in the eyes of the cat - it will look for alternatives. Scuffed scratched surfaces can also have this effect.
- Wrong location
As I said, the scratching post also provides an overview of the area. The cat can only get it from a strategically favorable location. A scratching post that stands in the middle of the living room usually meets this requirement. One who is accommodated in the corridor or in an adjoining room is not in the middle of the action and therefore also of little interest to the cat.
- Too many cats, too few scratching posts
The claw sharpening is used for marking. If a cat has "occupied" a cat tree, it may not tolerate the fact that it is used by other animals. That is why the rule always applies in multi-cat households: One cat tree per cat.
- What should I do with this thing?
It can also happen that the cat does not initially understand the meaning of a scratching post, especially if the apartment is set up so that it offers many attractive alternatives from the animal's perspective. After all, a cat doesn't understand that you don't particularly appreciate it when the cabinet is “marked”. However, you can train your cat to use the scratching post. If she puts her claws on another piece of furniture, then lift her up and take her to the cat tree. If she does not want to be convinced in this way, it is usually sufficient to spray the cat tree with a little catnip. This smell is usually a temptation for cats that they cannot resist.