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What's Your Cat's Scratching Style?

What's Your Cat's Scratching Style?

Felines are cute. We imagine them as soft, snuggly, sweet friends who curl against us and purr to sleep. And because of these, they are unsurprisingly the subject of many viral photos on the Internet. However, this does not stop them from digging their little claws into your carpet, furniture, or the authentic jeans you have on right now.

To protect against destructive cat scraping, it is essential to understand why a cat scratches furniture, their scratching styles, and how to reroute them to more appropriate things, like cat scratchers.

Why Scratch in the First Place?

an orange cat scratching on the sofa

Why do these cute fluffies have sharp spikes at the ends of their tiny little bean-shaped toes? While indoor kittens may not need to fight with predators in their quest for food, their impulse to keep their claws sharp to protect themselves never left.

Scratching also has a range of other purposes:

Paw health: It helps keep their paws healthy and robust.

Nail wellness: It removes the dead outer layer of the nails and keeps them sharp.

Scent marking: It's also a way for cats to communicate. Cats' paws have scent glands on them, so when they scratch, they tell another cat, "this is my area." This is especially true if they are outdoor cats.

Self-soothing: It is a way for cats to reduce tension, de-stress and keep themselves happy and satisfied. Cat scratching when they are happy is usually lovingly referred to as "kneading."

Boredom killer: If an indoor cat has nothing to keep it occupied, it may develop habits that include scratching and shredding things in your house.

The Best Scratching Posts Based on Your Cat's Scratching Style

a tabby cat standing on its hind legs and scratching on a scratching post

There is a lot in the market, and not all of them are scraping posts, but you can pick the best one depending on your cat's scratching style. It could feel like all cat scratching posts are the same. You may be overwhelmed by the sheer amount of posts and don't know how even to begin choosing one.

Knowing Your Cat's Scratching Style

So you now know why your feline needs to scratch, so the next thing to determine is their scratching style. But why is that important?

Knowing your cat's scratching style will certainly help you choose the best cat scratch articles for your cat. Knowing this will help save your carpets and furniture from destruction!

Horizontal Scratchers

If you notice your cat scraping only carpets, floorings, rugs, or the arms of couches, your cat might prefer a level surface. Level scratchers and horizontal scratch pads such as cardboard cat scratchers, flat scratchers, and floor scratchers would attract them.

Vertical Scratchers

Some cats like to scratch upwards. These cats mostly scratch the legs of the sofa, tables, or doors. For vertical scratchers, upright scratchers are the best to enable them to scratch while standing on their hind legs and forelegs stretched out.

Angle Scratchers

Some still like to scratch at an angle. A scratching pad (or sofa scratcher) that can rest at an angle is best for these cats. Some horizontal scratchers can be oriented to stand at an angle. Some scratchers are created at an angle just for these types of cats. 

All-around Cat Scratchers

If your cat damages any place in any position, or if you have numerous cats who appear to have different styles, you need to provide scratchers that allow scratching in either setting.

Three-dimensional scratchers or bed-type scratchers with both vertical and horizontal sides are optimal. Most of these also work as sleeping areas. 

Types Of Scratching Surfaces

types of scratching articles

Cats like to scratch carpets, furniture (wood), or a soft throw pillow. Consider what surface your cat favors and try to simulate that appearance, if you can, in the scratcher you will purchase.

Corrugated cardboard scratchers are affordable, can be quickly replaced, and are available in vertical and horizontal forms. Not all cats like to scratch their nails on cardboard boxes, though. And if your cat does like scratching on cardboards, consider that you need to clean up the shredded cardboard little bits more often than you would like to.

Sisal rope lasts long and has a rough texture that many cats like. Often, the sisal rope wrapped around a cylindrical object will come apart. Eventually, they will also look "worn out." Remember that your cat might like it more as the sisal rope gets more beaten; your cat might like it more because it's well-marked with their scent.

Some felines, specifically ones used to being outdoors, may favor wood. For these felines, the door trim, hardwood floors, or a piece of furniture might seem appealing unless you get them used to scratching something similar in texture.

Carpet can be both and bad. Many felines like the texture of rugs, but the downside may be that your cat can not discriminate between the carpet it is okay for them to scratch on (the cat post or cat tree) and the carpet that is not (the actual carpeting in your home). That's why some veterinarians don't advise carpet-covered cat scratching posts in trees unless your home does not have carpets.

Where to Place the Scratching Article?

where is the best area to put scratching posts

Since an essential factor for cat scratching is marking, they probably want to keep their scent in an area they share with humans, other cats, or perhaps other pets in the house. High-traffic areas are the way to go! Do not put the scratching post in a secluded spot in the home that nobody uses.

Cats also like to scratch wherever and whenever the urge comes, so you might consider putting a few different cat scratchers around the house. Cats also love to stretch and scratch after a nap, so consider putting their favorite kind of scratcher near their bed.

Choosing a Top-quality Scratching Article

a hairy cat scratching a tree bark outside

There is a wide variety of scratching articles to choose from because felines have various scratching styles, and cats prefer different materials. A lot of scratching posts look solid and sturdy but aren't. They may tip over when a feline tries to scratch them, or they may look attractive but are not covered in the type of material your cat loves. Whatever style you choose, select one with at least a broad base, if not a wooden base, to ensure that it does not wobble or turn over while your cat uses it.

Get Your Cat to Scratch!

get your cat to scratch

You can try different scraping articles and pads until you find the ones your cat like best. Use catnip to attract your feline to try new items.

If your cat continues to scratch on the no-no areas, take them to their scratcher and gently mimic the scratching motion by carefully putting their paws in the right places. Reinforce good behavior with praises and cat treats so good associations develop between your cat and good scratching behaviors.

Keep your cat's nails cut. You can trim your cat's nails at home or have specialists. It's also imperative to play with your cat and provide toys to keep them out of boredom.

Last Words

You do not need to teach your cats how to scratch—it's a natural instinct! What you need to teach them are the places where they can scratch. Whether you're starting with a kitten or have an older cat that you want to re-train, knowing their scratching style and providing the right avenues to scratch are most helpful. Remember that trimmed nails do not damage as much. If you clip your cat's nails more regularly, it may lower or eliminate damage at home.

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