A Kitten Scratching Post is VERY important – Here’s why
Scratching is a very important part of your cat’s life . Cats like to scratch things and it is an instinctive behavior that helps a cat to:
- Spread their scent
- Mark their territory
- Trim their nails
Training your kitten early in their life about where they can scratch and where they cannot is going to save a lot of headaches for you in the long run. A well trained kitten turns into a well trained cat. That means that your furniture will stay scratch free and your cat will be really settled as they are well aware of the “rules” in place in your home.
Here are some hints and tips for helping your kitten to use their own scratching post.
1.Establish which furniture is yours and which furniture is theirs
This step is easier said than done and may require a little persistence on your behalf initially. If you start training when your cats are kittens you will be setting up good scratching habits for life. Be aware that you will need some energy though. The process will be part persistence and part kitten psychology initially! You need to praise your kitten when they use the scratching post you have purchased for them. When they instead choose to scratch your carpet or furniture you will need to use a loud, firm voice “No” and move them to their scratcher to teach them that this is where they should scratch.
2. Have a persistent, gentle but firm approach
Consistency in your training is really important. This can take some effort. Everyone in your home needs to apply the same level of persistence to re-enforce the learning for your kitten. As referenced above, a loud “NO” at the site of the crime (ie the leg of your furniture for example) and a re-direction to their scratching post EVERY time is essential so that your kitten learns quickly what they can and cannot scratch in your home.
3. Be prepared to experiment with any cat scratchers you introduce
Just because you like a scratcher, your kitten may not. Scratchers come in lots of shapes and sizes. And as you know, cats can be fickle in their cat furniture choices. We have a wide variety of suggestions when it comes to cat scratchers. Click here if you would like to see the range of options.
When buying a cat scratcher for a kitten you need to make sure that the scratching surface is not too high. They will definitely want to stretch as part of their scratching activities. The scratching post should be high enough to allow them to stand on their back legs and reach above their head with their paws. Of course you don’t know exactly how large your kitten will become so you may need to be open to the idea of getting another cat scratcher once they are full grown. There are MANY cat scratchers on the market that will work for your cat whilst they are kittens and at their fully grown size. Click here if you want to see a range of cat scratchers on the market.
4. Placement of the cat scratcher is important
Kittens and cats often like to scratch as soon as they wake up from a nap. It can be very helpful to place the scratching post near to where they nap. Another strategy to try is to place the scratching post near to any furniture they may have shown some interest in scratching. Some people like to choose a scratcher color that blends in with the furniture in their homes.
5. Offer praise and rewards
Kittens should NOT be given cat nip until around 6 months of age. Instead, whilst they are young you may want to consider dangling a toy for your cat to grab from their scratcher. Use the reward when he or she uses the scratcher. This will encourage them to use it more. You could also consider introducing some treats as rewards. Use a friendly tone of voice to praise your kitten when they use their scratcher. An affectionate run on his or head will also go and long way in praising your kitten.
6. Correct behaviors with your voice
Use a loud voice to dissuade your kitten from scratching your furniture. A low tone and a loud voice means that they will sit up, pay attention and quickly learn that they shouldn’t be scratching whatever it is that they are scratching. Pick up your kitten and move him or her to their scratcher. Offer praise and rewards as mentioned in the above tip when they use their own scratcher.
Want to know more about cat scratchers?
To see a range of styles of cat scratchers click here. It is super important that the cat scratcher you purchase is sturdy. A wobbly cat scratcher will inspire no confidence in your kitten and they are unlikely to use it if it is not stable. There are many cat scratchers that will suit both your kitten now and as he or she grows.
Make sure that your kitten can reach the scratching surface easily enough to use it whilst they are small. Cat scratcher manufacturers and retailers often make reference to their overall height in their product descriptions. Carpeted cat scratchers are good options for kittens as they can be scratched from any height. If you see cat scratchers with scratching surfaces that start a little higher up the post make sure you are confident your kitten can reach that starting height.
If you wish to read more about training your kitten to use a cat scratcher here are some resources that might be helpful: