two cats sitting on scratching post

Why you need a scratching post for your cat

Last updated:

If you’re reading this, chances are you share your home with a feline companion. And like many cat parents, you might be scratching your head (pun intended) wondering what the big deal about a scratching post is. Why do you need one? You’ve landed on the perfect article to unravel this feline mystery in a simple and concise manner.

Your cat needs to scratch – if you have no scratching post or an alternative, she will find something else

First and foremost, scratching is a natural and instinctive behavior for cats. You might think cats need to scratch to keep their claws sharp for hunting. And you’re right, by scratching, they remove the dead outer sheath from their claws, revealing the sharper and fresher nail beneath. But there are more reasons to it than only this one.

A cat scratching is territory marking

Cats are territorial animals, and scratching is one of the ways they communicate with other cats. When a cat scratches a surface, it leaves both a visual mark and a scent mark. The scent is left behind from glands in their paws, signaling to other cats that this is their territory. In their book “Catify to Satisfy” Jackson Galaxy and Kate Benjamin compare a cat’s act of scratching a central spot to nudging a picture frame on the wall into just the right position.

Your cat just wants to commingle “marks,” making these places superior signposts since they reflect the ultimate bond of family through co-ownership.

Jackson Galaxy & Kate Benjamin

It’s all about creating that feeling of home!1

Cat communicating and emotional expression

Cats are deeply sensory creatures, relying on a myriad of signals to communicate. As just said, they not only sharpen their claws but also distribute unique pheromones. This act serves not only as a form of territorial marking but communication. Moreover, some experts and cat enthusiasts suggest that when a cat indulges in this behavior, it might be an indication of their contentment and happiness.

A scratching post or pole is good for stretching and exercise

Scratching is not just about claws. It provides a great form of exercise. When cats stretch and pull against a scratching post, they engage the muscles of their forelimbs, back, and shoulders. It’s a great way to keep your cat active, especially if they’re indoors most of the time.

Young cat sharpens claws on scratching post

Stress relief

Just as humans might fidget or bite their nails when anxious, cats can scratch as a way to cope with stress or excitement. A scratching post can be a great outlet for them, providing a place where they can release pent-up energy.

Now that you have a deeper understanding of your cat’s needs, here a a few benefits of a scratching post, scratching pole or other scratching alternatives:

Protecting your furniture and belongings

A cat will scratch – it’s in their nature. Without an appropriate outlet, your furniture, curtains, carpets, and other household items can fall victim to their sharp claws. By providing a designated scratching post, you can redirect your cat’s scratching behavior away from these items, saving you potential repair or replacement costs.

Safety for your furbaby

While it’s true cats need to remove the outer sheath from their claws, without a proper tool like a scratching post, they might resort to less safe methods. Overgrown claws can get caught in carpets or fabrics, which can lead to injuries.

Scratching furniture will enhanced relationship between you and your cat

Misunderstandings over destroyed items can strain your relationship with your cat. By understanding her need to scratch and providing a suitable outlet, you’re fostering a more harmonious living environment.

How to choose the right scratching post

The next crucial phase is the selection process. A poor choice can lead to disappointment – for both you and your feline friend. If your chosen scratching post doesn’t meet your cat’s standards, she may ignore it altogether, sending you back to square one. To avoid such setbacks, consider the following tips before making a decision.

Consider your cat’s favorite scratching spots

If you’ve noticed your cat scratching near areas you frequent, it might be a cue to place a cat tree there. Additionally, observe whether she enjoys gazing out the window or prefers an overview of the room. Ideally, find a spot that offers both vantage points.

Keep your cat’s size in mind

The size and sturdiness of the scratching post are paramount. A wobbly or undersized post might deter her from using it. Especially for larger breeds, like Maine Coons, a robust and tall post is essential to ensure she feels secure during her scratch sessions. Posts under 3 feet are generally intended for younger cats. If you’re not fostering kittens regularly, consider investing in a taller tree.

Cat hangs out on scratching post platform

Does your cat want to hide?

Does your cat enjoy a game of hide-and-seek or love snuggling in concealed spots? If so, a post with built-in caves could be ideal. If she prefers open spaces, choose a design with multiple platforms and hammocks.

Assess material preferences

Cats can be picky about the materials they scratch. Some might favor softer woods, while others gravitate towards sisal. Your cat might even have a penchant for carpeting or cardboard. It’s essential to incorporate her preferred textures into your choice.

Handling your cat’s preference for floor-level scratching

If your cat prefers floor-level scratching consider alternative scratching solutions such as pads, mats, panels, or specialized carpets. While many felines are drawn to scratching posts, each cat has her own individual preferences. Yours might just favor something different.

cat scratching on the carpet

Your home is for both, your cat and for you

Remember, this piece of furniture will be part of your living space. So, while your cat’s comfort is important, consider aesthetics as well. From bohemian designs resembling real trees to sleek, minimalist styles, there’s a range of options to match your home’s decor. By investing in a scratching post, you’re not only providing for your cat’s instinctual needs but also ensuring a more harmonious and damage-free household. It’s a win-win for both you and your feline friend.

Welcome to The Cat Edition, brought to you by Pet Edition.

Tired of outdated and uninspiring cat communities, we crafted The Cat Edition to be a stylish, interactive, and informative take on cat communities with entertaining content, expert advice, and practical tips.

Join our community of passionate cat lovers as we celebrate the unique charm of our whiskered friends and strive to improve their lives.