Scratching is a normal, instinctive cat behaviour. Cats have a need to scratch, and they do it to express emotions, like excitement or stress, to mark objects with their scent (they have scent glands in their paws), to remove the dead part of their nails and, often, just to get a good stretch.

Your cat needs to keep their claws in good condition, so if they have limited access to the outdoors, they will have to scratch in your home.

If your cat is scratching indoors to maintain their claws, you definitely need at least two scratching posts. To get them used to the post, place it next to the area where they’ve been scratching. Once your cat is using the scratching post or mat, you can gradually move them to a more suitable location. If your cat isn’t using the scratching post, you can try rubbing catnip on the post to entice them – or put a few pieces of cat food on the post.

Choose a scratching post with a heavy, stable base so it doesn’t wobble or topple during use. It should be tall enough for your cat to scratch at full stretch.

Special consideration should be given to the surface texture of the scratching post. Commercial posts are often covered with tightly woven material for durability, but many cats prefer a loosely woven material where the claws can hook and tear the material during scratching. Remember that scratching is also a marking behaviour and cats want to leave a visual mark. Good post covers include cardboard, carpet, wood, and sisal.

If your cat scratches only new objects or furniture he may simply be marking unmarked territory, and this will usually pass when he develops a sense of ownership of the new objects. Resident cats will also re-mark territory if someone new (human, dog, or cat) moves into the house.

Taking good care of your cat means caring for her paws and claws, in addition to understanding cat behaviour. Sometimes, you might need to trim your cat’s nails, especially if they seem to be getting stuck in things when they scratch.

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