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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

How to make cat scratching posts.

Scratching is an innate behavior, it is difficult to stop or even curb. It is like trying to stop a cat from grooming, or burying its waste. However, cats can be taught to scratch on more appropriate objects like scratching posts and tree stumps. Some owners get creative and build their own scratching posts and kitty activity centers. You can cover pieces of wood with carpet, fabric, sisal, or other materials, then nail them together to create a "cat tree" with climbing perches. This will help keep your cat entertained and satisfy her need to scratch. Any scratching post you buy or build should be sturdy enough so that it does not topple over when your cat uses it, and should be at least as tall as your cat standing on her hind legs with her front legs outstretched. The proper placement of the scratching post is an important part of redirecting your cat's scratching behavior. Place the post next to an area your cat likes to scratch. It can then be moved gradually to a location of your choice as your cat develops acceptable scratching habits. If your cat scratches in several locations, provide a post near each of these. Take your cat to the new scratching post, and reward her with treats, strokes, and praise for using it. Some posts come with toys attached. You can also place food treats or catnip on top of or around the post as an added enticement. Once you get your cat to use a scratching post, do not discard it when it looks ragged and worn—that means the post is well used and serving its intended purpose. In addition to altering the accessibility, appearance, or scent of household items, you can further minimize scratching damage by regularly trimming your cat's nails. Also available are plastic claw caps, or sheaths, that can be glued over your cat's claws. These should only be applied to cats that allow you to handle and manipulate their paws. While wearing these sheaths, your cat is able to go through the motions of scratching, but because the claws are hidden, no damage is done. The sheaths need to be replaced every six to 12 weeks. Declawing, or permanent removal of the claws, should be considered only as a last resort when the above strategies have been unsuccessful, and in cases where a cat's scratching would otherwise necessitate its removal from your home. Declawing will not curb your cat's desire to scratch, but will prevent scratching damage. Declawed cats should never be allowed outside, as they are less able to climb trees or defend themselves.