Saturday 16 June 2012

The Big Cat Scratching Post

The more I think about it, the more I realise that a cat scratching post needs to be large and well sited. There are a lot on them on the market which are not large enough. They don't work because a cat won't use it or is reluctant to use it. This has ramifications.

Kitten climbing a 'tree' - a large scratching post.

One consequence that comes to mind is that people who have thought about declawing their cat but resisted and bought a cat scratching post instead might then decide to have their cat declawed thinking that it is impossible to get their cat to scratch in the right place.

I hope people who have decided against declawing try again and purchase a large scratching post and put it where cats might mark territory as if they were wild cats. These places are normally in prominent locations within the cat's home range. An example might be near the back door if the cat is allowed to go out. When my cat goes outside he scratches trees. These are solid objects that don't move. Of course cats also scratch horizontally but in this post I am referring to the classic scratching post.

My opinion is that:
  • a large scratching post that replicates to a certain extent a tree (see picture), placed
  • in a prominent location that would be the cat's boundary of his or her home range or on a "trail" and
  • to start the process of encouraging to scratch a scratching post while the cat is a kitten...
will result in success. Or at least there will be a good chance of success if these three guidelines are put into place. Patience, gentle encouragement and the judicious use of catnip will also help.

I am grateful for Dorothy for showing me the picture. I don't know who took the picture. If you see this and want a credit please leave a comment.


  1. Michael,
    You don't actively advocate declawing in this post but certainly don't discourage it or relay the consequences of declawing and explain that this is a form of mutilation and falls under "cruelty to animals".

    There are a number good alternatives to declawing:

    1) Scratching posts/pads DO work!
    The information you give in this post is good to a point. But cats need a variety of angles of scratching pads: vertical as well as horizontal and positions in between. A friend of mine has attached carpeting along the inside of a doorway for his large cats. I constructed a tent shaped scratching post out of 3 pieces of wood and 2 hinges and a latch-hook (so that I can fold it up and transport it) with the carpeting on the two outside surfaces of the inverted V and along the base inside the V. There are a myriad of types of the horizontal scratching pads or you can make your own. My 3 cats use all three types.
    You can encourage cats to start using one by rubbing catnip into the surface.
    There are also a variety of materials: sisal, carpeting (many kinds), corrugated cardboard. Your cat might like one kind but not another just as they can be fussy about the litter you use in their cat box.

    2) Another alternative to declawing is "Soft Paws" and "Kitty Caps" available at vets offices and pet supply stores. These are small caps that are put on the shortened claws. I have never used them but I have heard from people how have done so very successfully.

    3) If you really want a declawed cat, go to your local animal refuge league or animal rescue and tell them that you would like to adopt a cat that has already been declawed. Where I volunteer, we will not adopt out a clawed cat to anyone who even THINKS they will declaw their cat. We get declawed cats at our ARL (frequently because their behavior has become aggressive or antisocial after declawing) and match them up with people who want/or plan to have their cat declawed. We will not adopt out a clawed cat to anyone who even THINKS they will declaw their cat and to all other adopters we offer to take back a cat who they think may need to be declawed after they take him/her home.

    I have just discover your blog and will be reading more of it. I wonder what state you live in and if you have changed how you feel about declawing in the last year. Please check out the articles at: where there are many very good articles on the subject. I do hope that you take the time to read them and become better informed about the effects of declawing.

    1. Thank you for your comment and I apologise for the very long delay in replying. Although I did not mention declawing, I detest the practice. I have written over 150 articles on the subject and everyone expresses my hatred for it. If you go to the main website and search for information on declawing you will see what I mean. Thank you once again for commenting.


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