Cat Scratching Post Comparison
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Cat Scratching Post Buying Guide
What is a Cat Scratching Post?
A cat scratching post’s name is a good description of what it is. It is a post that cats use to sharpen their nails, stretch and get their urge to claw things relieved. All cats will sharpen their nails, using anything that strikes their fancy, so by providing something specifically for this purpose can save your expensive furniture, door frames, carpets and curtains. They come in all shapes and sizes and some even have toys or a platform on the top of the post for the cat to sit or lie on.
The Benefits of a Cat Scratching Post
There are several reasons a cat scratches. By understanding that your cats NEED to scratch, you will be able to provide something for them to use that they will enjoy and keep coming back to repeatedly rather than ruining your belongings. These reasons include:
- Marking territory
- Working out and stretching their muscles
- Relieving stress or anxiety
- Getting rid of the outer layer of their nails
- Trimming their nails
- It’s enjoyable to them
Having more than just one cat scratching post is a good idea especially if your cat hangs out in different rooms regularly. Put the cat scratching posts in the rooms they hang out in and they will not have a reason to use anything else.
What Style of Post is Best?
There are three basic kinds of cat scratching materials that are used to make posts: sisal rope, carpet and corrugated, heavy duty cardboard. Each material has its benefits and drawbacks. We’ll go over each material below so you can see the differences and decide which one would be the best for your cat.
Sisal Rope – This type of material can be in rope or weave form and is typically more expensive than carpet cat scratching posts. If a sisal rope scratching post is inexpensive, that may be an indication that it is not real sisal rope. The thicker the sisal rope, the better quality the cat scratching post is and the longer it will last.
The color of sisal rope can be anywhere from a light beige to a cream color. It can also be dyed but in general it is not recommended to buy the dyed sisal rope unless you know 100% what kind of dye was used. Some dyes can be toxic and although most cats don’t eat or chew on the sisal rope, it’s not a chance you would want to take with your pet.
Sisal rope will not shed but after awhile you may notice some strands are getting pulled out and will hang from the post. You can trim the strands if your cat scratching post starts to look “shaggy”.
One of the biggest pluses about sisal rope cat scratching posts is that they are durable and last a lot longer than carpet covered posts or cardboard. Most cats prefer sisal rope because of the scratchy feel of it and the sound it makes when they scratch it. Every cat will have their preferences, but overall, the percentage of cats that prefer sisal rope posts is much higher than the other materials.
Carpet – The cheapest type of cat scratcher is the carpet covered cat scratching post. There are many more color choices available for carpet covered scratching posts which makes them more easily integrated into the home’s décor. You want to look for thick, dense carpet which will last longer.
Carpet is not as popular as sisal rope for many reasons. It can look messier than rope, because it will pick up hair from your cat as he or she rubs against it. In addition, the carpet covered posts will begin to lose their fibers over time so there may be some mess on the floor around the post after the cat has used it. Some of the Berber or loop carpet can cause long strings to be pulled out of the carpet. If this happens, you can use scissors to trim the long pieces.
Carpet cat scratching posts are not as long lasting as sisal rope posts, but some pet owners just prefer the look and feel of them. Although you may have to replace them sooner than you would the rope variety, if carpet is your preference, there are many styles on the market that have carpet as the covering.
Some cats also just prefer the feel of carpeting over the feel of the sisal rope. Even on the sisal rope cat scratching posts, the bases are usually covered in carpet, so that may be a way to get the best of both worlds for your cat.
Corrugated Cardboard – This is the least expensive and shortest life span cat scratching posts on the market. Some cats just prefer scratching cardboard. There are several different styles of corrugated cardboard cat scratching posts to choose from. Even though the cat may make somewhat of a mess when clawing the cardboard, if they like the feel of it, they will really enjoy posts with this material on them.
You may have to replace corrugated cardboard scratching posts much more often than other varieties but for cat owners that have pets that prefer it, it is worth the investment to save the more expensive furniture they will inevitably use if nothing else is available.
Cleaning Your Cats’ Scratching Post
If you want to keep your cat’s scratching post as clean as possible that is actually fairly simple. Regardless of whether you have sisal rope or carpeting, you can use the same method. Get a stiff brush and brush the cat scratching post, getting rid of dirt and fur that have built up on it. Once it is free of both of those. Lightly spray with a disinfectant spray and let dry thoroughly. That’s all there is to it.
Getting Your Cat to Use the Cat Scratching Post
The best scratching post in the world is useless if your cats won’t use it. There are ways to get your cat used to the post and “train” them to use it rather than other parts of the home, such as your expensive furniture or doorframes.
To ensure the best chance of your cat taking to its new post, make sure that it is the right size for them to stretch upwards or if they like horizontal scratching that it is in the right position so they can scratch the way they like to.
You can rub catnip on the rope or carpet to entice cats to it. This will help with their acceptance of the post and will make them want to hang around and use it. Never, ever punish your cat for using something else to scratch on. You want to use positive reinforcement and not fear or yelling, which never work with a cat anyway.
Another method you can use is to take a soft cloth and wipe the areas around his face to get his scent and then rub that same cloth on the cat post. He will be able to smell his own familiar and soothing scent on the post which will automatically make it less frightening to him. Every time you see your cat using the cat scratching post, praise them with a pat or a small treat.
If they are taught gently and with patience they WILL learn to use it, especially if you have purchased one that takes his natural tendencies into consideration.
Other Features Cat Scratching Posts can Have
Cat scratching posts come in so many different sizes, styles and shapes that it can be a little overwhelming to figure out which one your cat is going to like. Since the cats can’t speak for themselves, your best bet is to observe your cat’s behavior and routines for a few days such as what they like to do when they play, where they are currently scratching, how they scratch (horizontal or vertical) and other things about them.
You’ll be able to take this information and use it when you are comparing features to decide which type will fit your cat’s personality the best.
Cat scratching posts are an excellent way to feed the need your cats have to scratch and save your belongings as well. With the information you have learned in this buyer’s guide and the top rated cat scratching post reviews you have everything you need to make a choice that will work for your cats and your preferences as well.
With all of the choices that you have available when it comes to shape, size, material and even color, there’s no reason you can’t find exactly what your cat or cats will love and that will fit your home well also. If you have kittens, starting them off with a great cat scratching post will ensure that you don’t have to worry about your furniture or doorframes.
- Molly and Friends – http://mollyandfriends.com/products/small/
- PetFusion – http://www.pet-fusion.com/petfusion-3-sided-vertical-scratcher
- Trixie Pepino – http://www.trixie.de/usa_canada/index.html