The Benefits of Having Multiple Cat Scratching Surfaces

Scratching is an essential part of being a cat.

Scratching is an essential part of being a cat. Cats need to scratch to:

Cats love to scratch, and they love to scratch a variety of surfaces in a variety of positions. This one simple activity provides numerous physical and psychological benefits to cats.

Many times, people think their cat won't use a scratching post. The truth is, virtually all cats will use scratching posts, but it takes some knowledge of how to choose one that cats will love, and having multiples ensures that there's always one around that fits the needs of the moment.

To help your cat get the maximum benefit from scratching, offer several different scratching surfaces and structures. Try to mimic nature. In nature, cats scratch a variety of surfaces and angles such as tree trunks, tree roots, and tree branches (on the tree or fallen).

Vertical Structures for Cat Scratching

Vertical cat scratching structures mimic tree trunks, and they allow cats to:

Charlie is exercising his claws on a vertical scratcher.

A tall, stable vertical scratching post or condo covered in rough material mimics a tree trunk. You can find tall, sturdy posts at purrfectpost.com.

Horizontal Structures for Cat Scratching

Horizontal cat scratching structures, such as tree branches and roots, allow a cat to:

Flat and Angle Structures for Cat Scratching

Flat and angle scratchers made out of corrugated cardboard provide excellent horizontal scratching surfaces. Cats will sometimes use angle scratchers upside down to get a different workout, as well.

Multiple Textures Provide Different Cat Scratching Experiences and Benefits

Along with scratchers in varying positions, it's good to use different surface textures, as well.

Rough surfaces such as dense bark and wood can be mimicked with a sisal weave fabric. Sisal fabric (not sisal rope) mimics the rough surface of a tree trunk and is the preferred scratching material for cats. Sisal fabric appeals to multiple cat senses and allows them to:

You can learn more here: "Sisal Fabric: The Best Material for Cat Scratching Posts."

Soft surfaces such as corrugated cardboard mimic softer bark and roots found outside.

This different texture appeals to cats' need for variety and allows them to:

Thinking About a Cat Tree or Condo?

Your kitty would say yes to a tree or condo. The right one imitates nature by:

Picture a cat in the wild resting in a tree that he has marked as his territory. The tree provides a purview of his domain and a safe place to snooze.

Did You Know?

Cats have scent glands in their paw pads. When they scratch a surface, they deposit a scent, discernable only to cats, to help mark their territory. So when cats scratch to mark territory, they do so with both physical and olfactory marks.

A cat condo placed by a window parallels this tree-sitting experience. Be sure it's stable—this is very important for safety—has a great sleeping space, and if you want it to serve as a scratching surface, it should preferably be covered with sisal fabric. Carpeted condos are fine for perching and resting, but most cats don't like to scratch carpet. Some people add bird feeders outside the window to increase their kitty's entertainment.

One Post Does Not a Scratching Environment Make

Many articles on cat care talk about "a scratching post" for cats. It may be better to think in terms of a scratching environment that allows your cat to engage in a full range of scratching styles and choose among various scratching options to suit different moods and needs.

Here are some keys to creating a good scratching environment:

As we learned above, your cat thinks it's great to have scratching posts with different structures and textures. Consider a sisal fabric post in one room and a horizontal cardboard scratcher in another. If space permits, a large perch or condo in a favorite room will be greatly appreciated by your cat.

Multiple Cats Need Multiple Posts

Having multiple cats can create some unique challenges. Distributing many scratching posts, pads, and trees around your home can help manage some of these issues by:

A multiple cat household would benefit from having multiple scratching posts.

A Scratching Cat Is a Happy Cat

Cats derive multiple health and emotional benefits from a few simple scratching posts. At a minimum, provide a tall sisal fabric post and a corrugated cardboard scratcher. This will not only help save your furniture, but it will also make your cat very happy.

The more you can inspire your cat to scratch in designated places, the happier everyone will be. Your kitty will be thrilled to have his own scratching forest filled with indoor versions of tree trunks, roots, and branches. He will also be less inclined to scratch on your furniture, since every scratching need will be easily satisfied with enticing, nearby, made-for-cats scratching furniture.

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