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Selecting a Scratching Post for Your Cat

By: J. Anne Helgren

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Placing the Post

Location, location, location, just like in real estate, is vital to successful scratching post placement. Place the post near a sunny window or draft-free corner where your cat likes to spend time, or in front of a frequently scratched piece of furniture. If you put the post in an out-of-the-way place, the cat may shun it for the couch closer to her favorite human. If your cat still ignores the post, try moving it to another place. She may not like the location if, for example, another cat has staked a claim in the area. By moving the post, or getting several, you give her options.

Make the problem areas less attractive by putting double-sided tape on the scratched areas and aluminum foil on the floor below the scratched area. Some cats dislike the feeling and sound of foil and most cats hate things that stick to their fur. Double-sided sticky tape used in carpet installation works well; check with your local hardware store. Make sure the tape won't harm your cat or furniture. You can also try taping inflated balloons to the problem areas. When your cat pops one with her claws, she will avoid scratching there again. However, only try this when you're home, so you can pick up the balloon pieces before your cat tries to eat them.

Also available are training devices that keep pets off forbidden areas by making annoying sounds. They are available at pet supply stores, catalogs and websites. Buy one guaranteed safe for cats.

If your cat still ignores the post and continues scratching in inappropriate places, try rubbing the post with catnip or her favorite treat to make it more appealing. Scent the post with your own odor by draping it with well worn, unwashed t-shirts. Your scent will make the post seem familiar. Put her on the post and show her what to do by gently moving her paws on the post. When she uses the post correctly, praise her and give her a treat. She'll get the idea.

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