Every cat needs a good quality scratching post or kitty condo. Today’s models are attractive and decorative as well as functional.

Cats have to scratch! It’s a natural and necessary behavior that keeps their claws in good shape and exercises and stretches important muscles and tendons.

It’s also a marking behavior; glands in the cat’s paw pads leave behind a scent that essentially says: “I was here” to other cats. If a cat isn’t allowed to scratch as much as she needs to, her muscles will get soft and lose their feline suppleness. The same applies to cats that have been declawed; this inhumane practice not only causes the animal a lot of pain, but also deprives her of one of her main ways of keeping fit.

The bottom line is, you won’t be able to stop your cat from scratching, nor should you want to. But if you don’t want your upholstered furniture to suffer, you need to provide her with a durable, quality scratching post, tree or condo. The key word is “quality” – for the cat to use the post and leave your sofa alone, it needs to meet her requirements. Here’s what to look for:

  • Make sure scratching posts are sturdily built from solid materials and don’t wobble or tip over easily. Look for something with a good base that will stand up to being leapt on and kicked as well as scratched.
  • Choose a scratching post that’s taller or longer than the full length of your cat. Cats like to stretch while they’re scratching.
  • If your cat has been targeting your furniture, situate the post nearby so she’ll gravitate to it instead of your favorite armchair. Other excellent locations are near a sunny window or by her favorite sleeping spot; cats often love to have a good scratch after waking.
  • Consider buying more than one scratching post, especially if you have several cats. Choose a variety of different surfaces and angles to keep your felines interested.
  • If your cat gets bored easily, consider a cat tree or condo. These tall, multi-leveled products feature platforms and perches, hiding spots, tunnels, hammocks or other features that will provide your cat with loads of entertainment and places to snooze or hang out. Again, make sure the condo is sturdy and not easily knocked over.

Many of today’s scratching posts and trees, like the ones shown here, are stylish and eye-catching as well as functional. So if you want to something that looks good and/or matches your décor, you’re in luck!

If your cat seems reluctant to use a new scratching post, trying rubbing it with dried catnip.

Shopping for Scratching Posts?

Cat Palace USA, www.catpalaceusa.com
Fandango Cat Furniture, www.fandangocatfurniture.com
Fantasy Forest, www.ahiddenhollow.com
Felinerina, www.felinerina.com
Great Lakes Cat Furniture, www.greatlakescatfurniture.com
Kitty Hooch, www.kittyhooch.com
Molly and Friends Cat Furniture, www.mollyandfriends.com
Mountain Cat Trees, www.mountaincattrees.com
Scratch Lounge, www.scratchlounge.com