Choosing a scratcher

How to choose a scratcher?

Is your cat destroying your couch? Instead of declawing, think about getting a cat scratcher. Here are a few tips from Passionimo’s veterinarians to choose it and make sure your cat uses it.

Your cat will become the scratcher pro

Cats love to use their claws, both to wear them down and to get a good stretch. Cats also use their paws to send out messages, thanks to glands located between their paw pads and the marks they leave with their claws.

and the marks they leave with their claws. Knowing all of that, you can understand better why your cat will scratch out your favourite couch! With the couch sitting smack in the middle of the living room, the most used room in the house, it’s the perfect place for cats to leave messages.

The best way to solve this problem is to get a cat scratcher. Here are a few tips to turn your cat into an ace of this useful tool.

How to choose a cat scratcher?

Scratchers come in all shapes and sizes, so you will definitely find one that will suit your decor.

They can be made out of several materials: rope, fabric, leather, wicker, cardboard, wood… The best thing to do is to let your cat decide. In a world of infinite tastes, one scratcher does not fit all. Rope, carpet and cardboard are a good start as the seem to be the material that felines prefer.

Generally, the scratcher must be:

  • High enough vertically to allow your cat to stretch; though some cats prefer short and horizontal scratchers.
  • Stable, because there’s a good chance that cats won’t use a wobbly scratcher, or worse, one that falls on them when they use it.

Can’t find a scratcher that suits your decor and your cat’s taste? If you’re a little handy, why not build your own? Browse Pinterest for inspiration!

How to get your cat used to the scratcher?

Here are some useful tips:

Location, location, location! Place the scratcher in your cat’s usual living environment. Typically, that’s the living room or the family room.

A scratcher placed in the basement will be of no use at all. Between going downstairs, past the noisy washer, to use a scratcher located in a dark corner or making use of your couch, your cat will always choose the couch at hand (or rather, at paw). Think about it: wouldn’t you do the same?

Also, avoid placing it next to the litter box: who wants to get their nails done next to a toilet? It is better to locate it near his favorite spot, where your cat nap. When he wakes up, he is likely to feel like stretching and he will be inclined to use the scratcher to stick his nails in and pull to stretch!

If your cat is fond of catnip, sprinkle some on the scratcher. Also, there’s a new product called Feliscratch (distributed by Feliway) that contains pheromone and that is now available in veterinary clinics to help entice cats. Talk to your veterinary team to learn more.

Give your cat his favourite treats whenever he puts a paw on the scratcher. Positive reinforcement encourages repeat behaviour!

What to do if your cat continues to see your couch as the ultimate scratcher?

Deter your pet by using a temporary cover such as aluminum, double-sided adhesive strips, or clear plastic. In the meantime, keep on encouraging your cat to use an appropriate scratcher.

Locate the scratcher near the spot where the cat like to scratch to make him forget about the couch. Indeed, most scratchers come with a base large enough to be slipped under the leg of a couch. This way, you kill two birds with one stone: you protect your furniture and you stabilize the scratcher, making it more attractive to use.

On top of the scratcher, what can we do to limit nail damages?

Groom your kitty’s nails! A nail clipper that looks like scissors specifically made clip cat’s nails usually works the best. Make an appointment with your veterinary team and ask them to teach you how to clip the nails. When you master the technique and you do it yourself, get some treats and be generous! Also don’t rush into things. Go at it one nail at the time even if this means to take several breaks. Wanting to go too fast or wearing off your cat’s patience could cause stress and make the procedure harder for years to come.

Nail caps, that are little plastique covers are convenient and glued on the cat’s nails (a little bit like artificial nails), can also help prevent damages caused by scratching until Kitty becomes a scratcher pro. Contact your veterinary team to learn more about the product.

Have more questions?

Please do not hesitate to contact the Passionimo veterinary clinic near you.

Soumettre votre candidature

avec un établissement vétérinaire