This is one of the most common questions we get asked here at Pet Essentials, Carrigaline. Firstly it is very important to highlight that this behaviour is natural and important to your cat. You should not be punishing or scolding your cat for displaying this behaviour.

There are two main reasons that cats scratch items of furniture, or if they are outdoors, trees, posts, etc. The first is to satisfy their territorial instinct. Cats are very territorial animals and mark their domains physically through scratching. They also have scent glands on their paws allowing for their scent to be also left during the scratching process. Secondly scratching is a form of exercise for your cat. You will often see your cat fully extending its body and stretching while scratching.

You cannot stop your cat from scratching so the idea is to offer an alternative for your cat to scratch which is where Scratching Posts come in.

  • The Scratching Post needs to be tall enough to allow your cat to fully extend its body when scratching.
  • The Scratching Post should be very secure, an unsteady post will not be used by your cat.
  • The Scratching post must be positioned in a prominent area preferably near where previous scratching behaviour has been exhibited.

You cannot force your cat to use its new scratching post but there are ways to encourage it to engage with the post.

  • Feed and play with your cat near the post
  • Rub Catnip onto the base of the post
  • Attach toys or play chase string with your cat around the post thereby associating it with pleasure

You can also apply “Get Off Spray” to your furniture to discourage your cat from returning to its old habits. Get Off Spray contains harmless but effective deterrent scents that will discourage even the most persistent of cats.