Kitty laying next to a scratching post

Does my cat need a scratching post?

Although your cat clawing at your favourite sofa is far from pleasant, scratching is a natural, healthy cat instinct. Cats scratch for a number of reasons, like claiming their space and taking care of their nails.

If your cat is scratching things, the best way to stop them from damaging your furniture is to encourage them to use a scratching post.

Why does my cat scratch things?

There are many reasons your cat may scratch at things:

  • Cats can scratch to mark their territory using the scent glands in their paws. Clawing can happen especially if there’s another cat around, as it can make your feline friend feel more insecure or even scared by their presence. 
  • Cats can scratch to gain attention and then learn that scratching certain things like your prized furniture gets them the attention they want. That’s why it's important to not pay it any attention when they're clawing at things you don’t want it to.
  • Another scratching reason is upkeep, where your cat scratches to keep their claws in tip-top shape.
  • When cats feel vulnerable, they will also try to rub their own scent on prominent places in a room to feel more secure.
  • They can also scratch out of boredom or curiosity.

More on how to stop a cat from scratching and clawing where they shouldn't.

How to encourage your cat to use their scratching post?

  • Give your cat a sturdy scratching post that doesn’t wobble and allows them to scratch while fully stretched. There are many different types of scratching posts available, the most popular being made of thick twine or carpet.
  • Encourage your cat to use vertical and horizontal scratch posts until you find out which one your cat likes the most.
  • Put the scratching post in their favourite scratching area.
  • Make sure every cat in your house has their own scratching post.
  • Cats usually scratch and stretch after waking up, so try putting a scratching post next to their bed.

Sometimes your cat will prefer scratching other things. Entice them to investigate their post by sprinkling some catnip on it. You can also encourage them to it by playing with your cat with a fishing wand toy.

— Page last updated 22/09/2022