Cats scratch for physical, emotional, and social reasons. Scent pads in cat’s paws
leave smell-cues of ownership. The marks also serve as feline scent note to warn away other cats from prime feline real estate. They also claw to comfort themselves during times of fear or stress. Single cats may never or rarely scratch, and then become obsess with scratching when more cats are introduced into your home. Clawing also feels good. It provides great aerobic exercise to stretch the shoulder and foreleg muscles, and keeps nails healthy.
The key to successful scratch training is giving the cat an irresistible target,
while making forbidden objects undesirable. Location is Important. Clawing marks territory so scratch objects must be located correctly for the cat to use them. Your cat wants to show everyone their scratching master piece, so make sure not to hide your cat scratching post and in fact try to place it in a high traffic or near areas with windows and food stations.
Give Cats Multiple Scratching Opportunities the same 1+1 rule applies with scratching posts as for litter boxes--at least one object for every cat, plus one. So for one cat, provide at least two scratch opportunities, and for two cats offer three. More always is better.
Scratching the Surface
the scratch surface—wood, sisal, carpet—and its shape—vertical or horizontal—are
also important. Observe your cat to figure out what he likes. Some cats prefer
an upward-reaching stretch, while others like to spread out on their tummies to
scratch. While cat scratching is normal, it doesn't mean you can't protect your
furniture. Understanding what cats want, and why they scratch, helps you satisfy
this natural kitty urge while allowing the cat to keep his claws and his place
in your home and heart.
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