Tips to pick the best scratcher for your cat
Is your cat destroying your couch? Instead of declawing, think about getting a cat scratcher. Here are a few tips from the veterinarians at Passionimo to choose a scratcher your cat will use.
How to turn your cat into a 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.
That’s how cats mark their territory or send out the signal that this is a place they visit often. 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 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.
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 to use 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?
- If your cat is fond of catnip, sprinkle some on the scratcher. In the same vein, there’s a new product called Feliscratch (distributed by Feliway) now available in veterinary clinics to help entice cats. You only need to apply a few drops on the scratcher. Talk to your Passionimo veterinary team to learn more.
- Give your cat his favourite treat 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.
Place a scratcher or any other surface where your cat is allowed to scratch next to 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.
"Cats can be cooperative when something feels good, which, to a cat, is the way everything is supposed to feel." - Roger Caras, American wildlife photographer, writer, wildlife preservationist, and television personality.
Do you have more questions?
Don’t hesitate to reach out to the Passionimo veterinary clinic nearest to you.